Tag Archives: bipolar disorder

Speaking engagements

Here are some of my recent and upcoming speaking engagements:

20th October 2018 – Royal Marine Hotel, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin. Irish Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP) Annual Conference. Conference theme: “Into the Future”.

28th to 30th June 2018 – Bogota, Columbia. William Glasser International Conference. Talk title: To be confirmed. Click here for conference information.

27th and 28th October 2017Bled, Slovenia. European Institute for Reality Therapy Conference, “The Days of Leon Lojk”. Talk titles:- Day 1: “Towards Real Truth and Progress in Global Mental Health”, Day 2: “Working Therapeutically with Clients with a Psychiatric Diagnosis”. Click here for conference information.

07th October 2017 – Kilkenny, IrelandAnnual Education Day for general practitioners.

28th September 2017 – Limerick, Ireland. Psychotherapist Training Day, Henry Street Social Services Centre, Limerick.

19th July 2017 – radio interview. The Peter Breggin Hour. My third appearance on American psychiatrist Peter Breggin’s radio show. Click here to listen to our conversation.

14th October 2016 – Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Mental Health and Wellbeing Summit. Talk title:- “Towards a New Era in Mental Health”.

06th October 2016 – Cork Institute of Technology. Department of Social Care. Talk title:-  “Towards a New Era in Mental Health”.

08th April 2016 – Limerick Institute of Technology.  Keynote speaker, 3rd Annual Undergraduate Conference and Social Science Fair. Link to LIT News report.

 

 

 

What is bipolar disorder?

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dr-terry-lynch

 

What is bipolar disorder?

Every month, over 30,000 google searches are entered for answers to the question, “What is bipolar disorder?”.

As a physician, psychotherapist, best-selling mental health author, mental health educator and provider of a recovery-oriented mental health service in which I have spent many hours every week for over 16 years working with people diagnosed with bipolar disorder – and prior to that, for 10 years as a GP, or family physician – I am in a position to provide some answers to this important question.

My many years of study, reflection and most of all, years of listening very carefully to hundreds of people diagnosed with bipolar disorder has opened my eyes to truths and realities about bipolar disorder that are regularly missed by the prevailing approach to bipolar disorder.

I have created a major course on bipolar disorder that – among many other things – answers this important question.

The course is entitled Bipolar disorder: Cracking the code – all you need to know about bipolar disorder, in one course.

If you have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder – or if someone important to you has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder – and you want to learn a great deal more about bipolar disorder, to help yourself or someone important to you, click here  .

If you would like more information about this course, and you are a mental health professional, and you want to greatly increase your understanding so you can work more effectively with people diagnosed with bipolar disorder, click here .

The prevailing view

When I use the term “prevailing view”, I mean the commonly held view or understanding of bipolar disorder.

This view originates from society’s appointed mental health experts – psychiatrists. This view then filters through to mental health organisations, the media, doctors’ offices.

This understanding has become the commonly accepted and unquestioned understanding of bipolar disorder, of what bipolar disorder is.

What is bipolar disorder? The prevailing view

The prevailing view is that bipolar disorder is fundamentally a brain problem – a brain chemical imbalance; a brain disorder; a brain disease; a medical illness just like diabetes; a medical illness for which there is no cure, no chance of full recovery, for which therefore life lifelong maintenance drug treatment is the best option.

Such assertions commonly emanate from authoritative sources such as the US National Institute of Mental Health, the American Psychiatric Association, and many others.

Most people understandably assume that if sources such as these assert that bipolar disorder is known to be a brain disorder, a medical illness just like diabetes, these statements must be true.

Putting the prevailing view to the Truth Test

Perhaps because the prevailing view of bipolar originates from within the medical profession, one of the most trusted groups on this planet, most people  assume that there is no need to test this prevailing view.

As a member of the medical profession for over 30 years now, specialising in mental health for the past 16 years, I have come to know how important it is to test all pronouncements on mental health, including – and sometimes, especially – the pronouncements that emanate from within the medical profession, from psychiatry and to a lesser but significant degree, from GPs (general practitioners, family physicians).

I say “especially” here because the medical profession largely dictate and direct mental health globally, so it is especially important that the public can trust in what they are told by doctors in relation to mental health.

And in order for us to know that we can trust what doctors tell us about mental health, we need to test what they say.  In so many areas of life, populations in many countries have learned to their great cost how dangerous it can be to completely trust the words of people and groups in positions of power and authority, without putting their words and their practices to the test.

People and groups in authority – including those with global authority over mental health – should similarly be regularly expected to have their pronouncements and their ways of working and operating put to the test.

This is vitally necessary, in the public interest, to ensure that the public are being told truths rather than untruths and misinformation. Let’s see what happens when the prevailing view of bipolar disorder is tested against a core value and principle – THE TRUTH.

1. Bipolar disorder is a known brain chemical imbalance illness

It is widely believed that brain chemical imbalances are known to occur in bipolar disorder. Many highly respected medical sources and mental health organisations refer to this on their websites and information leaflets. The vast majority of the several hundred people diagnosed with bipolar disorder that I have met over the years have been told by their doctors – psychiatrists and GPs – that they have a brain chemical imbalance, which is causing their bipolar disorder.

The Truth:

No brain chemical imbalance has ever been identified in even one person diagnosed with bipolar disorder, ever, anywhere in the world. No brain chemical imbalance tests are ever carried out here. Even people with a 30-year history of bipolar disorder have never had their supposed “brain chemical imbalance” confirmed by any test or investigation.

(If you would like to download a copy of this article for future reference, click here )

2. Bipolar disorder is a known brain disease, brain disorder

Many authoritative medical sources unequivocally assert that bipolar disorder is known to be a brain disease, a brain disorder. Examples include the American Psychiatric Association, the US-based National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH, possibly the most influential mental health organisation in the world) and the International Bipolar Foundation.

The Truth:

Bipolar disorder has never been established to be a brain disease, a brain disorder. Bipolar disorder does not even come close to meeting the medical criteria for a brain disease.

I checked three official comprehensive lists of brain and neurological disorders. Each of these lists contained many brain disorders that I have never encountered in over 30 years as a physician – that’s how comprehensive these lists are. Bipolar disorder was not listed as a brain disorder in any of these three lists.

One of these lists is on the website of the US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, a sister organisation of the National Institute of Mental Health, in which it is explicitly and unequivocally claimed that bipolar disorder is a brain disorder.

ALL known brain and neurological diseases and disorders are treated by society’s appointed expert brain doctors – neurologists and neurosurgeons, NOT by psychiatrists.

Psychiatrists sometimes claim that neurologists treat organic brain disorders (brain disorders known to have biological brain abnormalities) while psychiatrists treat functional brain disorders.

In truth, this is both an inaccurate distinction and incorrect.

For example, no problem or abnormality in brain function has been reliably scientifically identified as being present in bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder cannot therefore be truthfully described as a disorder of brain function – although it is often described as such.

In a small minority of medical problems there can be identified problems with organ function without an identified corresponding biological abnormality (e.g. irritable bowel syndrome). These conditions are treated by the same group of specialists that great known organic biological conditions within that organ or system.

For example, the specialists in irritable bowel syndrome are the same group of specialists that treat bowel cancer and ulcerative colitis – gastroenterologists (bowel specialists).

In truth, it is neurologists and not psychiatrists who treat brain disorders where there is abnormality in brain function is clearly present without there being an identified corresponding biological abnormality – epilepsy being one such example.

3. Bipolar disorder is a medical illness just like diabetes

This assertion is regularly made – in medical information about bipolar disorder, in information provided by mental health organisations, and in doctors’ offices around the world. People are regularly told that, just as diabetes is a chemical imbalance illness (the imbalance being a deficiency of insulin, leading to abnormally raised blood glucose levels), bipolar disorder is a brain chemical imbalance illness.

According to the prevailing view, taking medication for bipolar disorder is just the same as taking insulin for diabetes.

The truth:

From a scientific perspective, diabetes and bipolar disorder are poles apart. For example:

A diagnosis of diabetes is never made without having established (though laboratory investigations) that the person’s blood glucose levels are abnormally high. A diagnosis of bipolar disorder is always made without any brain chemical imbalance tests being carried out, never mind found to be abnormally high or low.

Treatment for diabetes is never initiated without having first established the presence of the chemical imbalance that is central to diabetes – raised blood glucose (except perhaps in some very rare life-and-death situations where the doctor very strongly suspects diabetes and there is not enough time to get a blood glucose test result). Treatment for bipolar disorder is always initiated without any knowledge or laboratory evidence of any brain chemical imbalance or problem.

4. There is no cure for bipolar disorder, no chance of full recovery.

This is what people diagnosed with bipolar disorder are generally told. Stephen Fry, actor and President of MIND, a major British mental health charity, has publicly stated that bipolar disorder is “incurable”, a claim endorsed by his psychiatrist, who unequivocally stated in public to Stephen Fry that “you will have this (condition) for the rest of your life”.

The truth:

In 2008, prior to Stephen Fry being appointed as president of MIND and eight years before he told that world that bipolar disorder was “incurable”, this same organisation awarded British doctor Liz Miller as MIND Champion of  the Year as a recognition of her full recovery from a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

In a subsequent 2008 Guardian interview, Dr. Liz Miller described the psychiatrists who treated her “have not been that helpful”.

Full recovery from a diagnosis of bipolar disorder is possible. I personally know over two dozen people who have made excellent recoveries from a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, many of whom had several hospital admissions for bipolar disorder.

The recovery process is often challenging and difficult. I am not suggesting that everyone can recover, or that everyone should try to. But recovery is not impossible, as many supposedly authoritative sources would have you believe.

Does all of this mean that bipolar disorder does not exist, is not real?

No, it doesn’t mean that. The experiences and behaviours that come to be diagnosed as bipolar disorder are very real. “Highs” (manic episodes) and “lows” (depressive episodes) do occur.

But bipolar disorder does not exist as an established medical illness, brain disorder or brain disease. If bipolar disorder really was a brain disorder, it would be treated by neurologists and would appear on official lists of brain disorders.

Does this mean that people taking medication for bipolar disorder can or should stop taking their medication?

No, it doesn’t mean that either. Medication has an important place, an important role in bipolar disorder. Stopping bipolar disorder medication can have big consequences, such as relapse, hospitalisation, withdrawal effects.

If bipolar disorder is not a brain disorder, a medical illness, then, what is it?

In order to arrive at a deep understanding of bipolar disorder, we must expand our horizons beyond the narrow and distorted prevailing view of bipolar disorder.

I say “narrow” because the prevailing view wrongly approaches bipolar disorder as a biological disorder, largely ignoring the emotional, psychological and social aspects, aspects that are in fact crucially important in terms of properly understanding bipolar disorder.

I say “distorted” because the artificially narrow focus on biology is seriously distorted – the distortions being the many unequivocally-made assertions about bipolar disorder being a known brain chemical imbalance; a brain disorder; a medical illness just like diabetes, for example.

The key to understanding bipolar disorder: –

Understanding the experiences and behaviours that come to be diagnosed as bipolar disorder

By setting out to understand the experiences and behaviours that come to be diagnosed as bipolar disorder, we can understand what bipolar disorder is and why it occurs.

This is what I have been doing for the past 20 years.

Here’s just one example:

According to the prevailing view of bipolar disorder, manic episodes make no sense, other than being understood as a characteristic of bipolar disorder.

Therefore the only treatment that applies is medication.

The truth:

There are a number of triggering factors for manic episodes. Understanding these trigger factors, and the process from being relatively level and settled, to being in a manic state provides a wealth of information with which to understand manic states and why they occur.

For example; suddenly-occurring major life events are one of the commonest triggers for manic episodes – the sudden death of someone very important in one’s life, for example. I have seen this on many occasions in my work with people diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Rather than assume the total “wrongness” of the features of bipolar disorder, I have learned that coming at bipolar from the opposite perspective is key to understanding bipolar disorder.

I start by looking for the “rightness” in the person’s reaction – why it makes sense as an understandable reaction for them.

By taking this perspective, for example, I have learned ( because I have witnessed it on many occasions) the manic episodes serve some purposes. Understanding this opens many other channels of potential work, in addition to medication.

I have learned that, for some people, entering a manic episode becomes a way of avoiding having to really feel, deal with and address very difficult and challenging situations, such as the death of someone very important.

The manic episode then causes a whole series of other problems, but it is initially deemed needed or necessary, as (a) a way of avoiding full-on contact with what for that person has become an extremely difficult reality, and (b) as an indirect way of expressing the overwhelm and distress the person is experiencing at that time.

Bipolar disorder is eminently understandable

If you have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder – or if someone important to you has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder – and you want to learn a great deal more about bipolar disorder, to help yourself or someone important to you, click here  for information about my course, Bipolar disorder: Cracking the code – all you need to know about bipolar disorder, in one course.

If you would like more information about this course, and you are a mental health professional, and you want to greatly increase your understanding so you can work more effectively with people diagnosed with bipolar disorder, click here .

If this information was helpful to you, please share with people who might benefit from having this information.

If you would like to download a copy of this article for future reference, click here .

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dr-terry-lynch

 

www.doctorterrylynch.com

Mental health professional, physician, psychotherapist, educator, best-selling mental health author, provider of recovery-oriented mental health service.

Member of the Irish government-appointed Expert Group on Mental Health Policy (which formulated A Vision for Change (2006), Ireland’s official mental health policy document).

Member of the Irish government-appointed Implementation Group for A Vision for Change (2006-9), the Second Monitoring Group for A Vision for Change (2009-12), and the Irish Health Service Executive (HSE) Expert Advisory Group on Mental Health (2006-8).

Testimonials pdf for blogs

Dr. Terry Lynch speaking at the The Health Zone, Limerick, September 2016.

The Health Zone is a positive health initiative originating from University College, Cork, Ireland. In September 2016, The Health Zone held its first meeting in Limerick, at which I was an invited speaker.

“Towards emotional and psychological maturity” was the theme of the evening. I build my talk around that theme, and around a related and important issue, the need for a new era in mental health.

It’s official: Psychiatric diagnoses are NOT known brain disorders

According to the prevailing global view of mental health, psychiatric diagnoses – depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), eating disorders, personality disorders etc – are fundamentally brain disorders.

In  a ten-minute video, I address this belief. The truth may surprise you.

Access the video by signing up to my newsletter updates (you can unsubscribe at any time)through the form below.

 

Confused public perception of medical mental health doctors, including psychiatrists

The public have a skewed perception of the medical doctors who are generally seen as expert in mental health – psychiatrists and GPs, or family physicians. While there are some exceptions, in general, the perception that most people have of medical doctors as THE foremost experts in mental health is, regrettably, incorrect.

This is one of the many mental health topics I discuss in my blog, books and courses. If you would like to receive my posts, subscribe to my newsletter through the form at the end of this blog (you can unsubscribe at any time), and immediately receive a short video in which I discuss this surprising reality.

Best wishes,

Terry.

Drug companies abandon psychiatry

Did you know that many major drug companies have either ceased their involvement in psychiatric research altogether or considerably reduced their involvement?

This is not a development that reflects well on psychiatry, which is why it has received so little publicity.

But it is a profoundly significant development, for a number of reasons. Not many years ago, psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry were cosy bedfellows, “partners”.

Not any more.

I wrote about this development, why it has happened, and its major significance, in my 2015 book Depression Delusion: The Myth of the Brain Chemical Imbalance, foreword by Robert Whitaker.

To receive a free extract about this major development, subscribe to my newsletter updates through the form at the end of this blog. You can unsubscribe any time you like.

Best wishes,

Terry.

Dr. Terry Lynch.

Physician; psychotherapist; best-selling mental health author; provider of recovery-oriented mental health service; member of Expert Group on Mental Health Policy (2003-6) that formulated A Vision for Change, Ireland’s official mental health policy document.

 

Coming soon: Online Mental Health Academy. First course: “Depression training for people who work in mental health”

After much thought, I have decided to create a series of courses in mental health.

In essence, my partner psychotherapist Marianne Murphy and I are creating a mental health school, a Mental Health Academy. Marianne and I will work together to create and deliver these courses.

This Academy will be designed for online participation. Our courses will be available online. We will also be running courses at various venues.

These courses will cover a wide range of topics. In these courses we will set out a comprehensive understanding of psychiatric diagnoses like depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, OCD, eating disorders and personality disorders. We will also address anxiety, suicide, self-esteem and many other emotional and mental health issues.

These courses will address a glaring gap in understanding of and training in mental health – the gap in understanding of the emotional and psychological aspects of mental health, including the range psychiatric diagnoses.

A clear understanding of the medical approach to these diagnoses will also be a core part of these courses.

These course will reflect what I have learned through 30 years of involvement in mental health.

I have reflected upon I have learned during 30 years as a medical doctor; 15 years as a psychotherapist; 9 years on Irish Government-appointed high-level mental health groups,
including 3 years (2003-6) on the Expert Group on Mental Health Policy which formulated “A Vision for Change”, Ireland’s official mental health policy document; 25 years researching emotional and mental health, including psychiatric diagnoses; 15 years providing a recovery-oriented mental health service; 3 decades of seeking to deepen my understanding of emotional and mental health; 3 books on mental health including 1 best-seller, many more to come; 3 decades of working with people in great distress and learning from every one; twenty years of connection with some of the most inspiring people in mental health globally; and  what I have experienced and learned in my own journey through the twists and turns of my life.

And from this breadth of knowledge and experience, these courses will be created.

Our courses will be specially constructed for different audiences including therapists and other mental health professionals, people who have received a psychiatric diagnosis, and other interested people including family members and others who for their own reasons wish to increase their understanding of emotional and mental health and psychiatric diagnoses.

We are currently working on our first course, working title “Depression training for people who work in mental health”.

This course will help those who work in either a professional or voluntary capacity (including trainees) with people diagnosed with depression to understand depression more deeply and to respond more effectively and with greater confidence.

I expect this course to be available in about 3 months or less. Further courses will be created on an ongoing basis.

Marianne and I are very excited about this new development. I envisage the development and delivery of these courses becoming a core part of my work into the future.

We will update people on the progress of these courses through our newsletter. If you have not already done so, I invite you to subscribe to our newsletter at https://doctorterrylynch.com/

When you subscribe to our newsletter, you will also receive two free chapters of my books:

One chapter from Selfhood: A Key to the Recovery of Emotional Wellbeing, Mental Health and the Prevention of Mental Health Problems, 2011, chapter title: “Boundaries and personal space”.

One chapter from my latest book Depression Delusion Volume One: The Myth of the Brain Chemical Imbalance, 2015, chapter title: “The medical profession and the brain”.

Our intention is to create comprehensive courses in which the needs of participants will be addressed.

If you have ideas regarding what you would like these courses to cover, please feel free to contact me and let me know, at info@doctorterrylynch.com .

While we will endeavour to cover all bases, we would love to hear your ideas, just to ensure we don’t leave out any important material.

Please share this information with anyone you think would like to know about it.

Best wishes,

Terry.

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Mental Health & Happiness Summit: all day today

Every year for the past few years, the William Glasser Institute hold a Mental Health & Happiness Summit on World Mental Health Day, 10th October. This summit consists of a series of hour-long talks and conversations with people in the mental health sphere. The talks occur consecutively throughout the 24-hour period of World Mental Health Day.

Here is a link to the list of speakers and times, including time zone differences. http://www.mentalhealthandhappiness.com/MHHsummit2015-speakers.html

I’ve had a long association with late US psychiatrist William Glasser and the William Glasser Institute. I have been involved in the Mental health & Happiness Summit in 2014 and again in 2015.  My conversation with Nancy Buck was wide-ranging, covering many aspects of emotional and mental health, psychiatric diagnoses, recovery, and happiness.

I believe the system works by clicking the image of the speaker you might like to hear, at the time of that talk. Clicking the speaker before or after that speaker’s appointed time won’t bring you to their talk, as another speaker will be talking at other times.

It is fitting that William Glasser’s wife Carleen is the first speaker.

 

Podcast: Dr. Terry Lynch, guest on The Peter Breggin Hour, 7th Oct 2015.

For a quarter of a century, I have been a big fan of US psychiatrist Peter Breggin and his tireless work to change global mental health from a system based on falsehoods and flawed science to an approach based on truth, real science, empathy and humanity.

My relationship with Dr. Peter Breggin has grown from first seeing him on Irish television 25 years ago and reading his classic book Toxic Psychiatry to being an ally and comrade in the vitally important struggle to redress the global understanding of and approach to emotional and mental health. I contributed a comment or two and an endorsement to Peter’s important 2012 book Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal: A Guide for Prescribers, Therapists, Patients and Families. Peter wrote a wonderful endorsement of my 2015 book Depression Delusion Volume One: The Myth of the Brain Chemical Imbalance, referring to my book as “an inestimable service to humanity”.

I was pleased to be Peter Breggin’s guest on his weekly radio show, The Peter Breggin Hour, on 7th October 2015. Here is a link to the podcast of our conversation:

http://drpeterbregginshow.podbean.com/e/the-dr-peter-breggin-hour-%E2%80%93-100715/

We discussed many topics including my new book  Depression Delusion Volume One: The Myth of the Brain Chemical Imbalance and why I wrote it; a better way to understand depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), eating disorders; antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs; psychiatry; psychiatric diagnoses; brain chemical imbalances; counselling and psychotherapy; recovery; and many other important themes.

I was previously Peter’s guest in 2012. During our conversation both Peter and I agreed that we would not leave such a long period of time before we chatted again on his show.

 

www.recoveringfrompsychiatry.com – a highly recommended website

I just came across the website http://recoveringfrompsychiatry.com/ , having watched Laura Delano’s Youtube video “Recovering from Psychiatry -Reflections on life, death and suicide”, https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=1&v=zY1nJzmohJg .

I highly recommend both the video and the website. The content of both represents where mental health understanding and responses need to go, if we are really serious about addressing the emotional and mental health crises that face so many so-called “developed” countries.

It is time for Western societies to work towards replacing psychiatry – which has little or no real scientific underpinning, despite what you might have heard, and contains a great deal of flawed science and logic – with an understanding of emotional and mental health that is accurate, compassionate, and unbiased. Medication should play a part, but not the over-riding dominant part it currently plays. Psychiatry’s biases  have made it extremely unlikely that  the solving of these crises will come from that direction, unless it undergoes radical surgery.

Psychiatry simply does not have neither the knowledge nor the objectivity to look naively at emotional and mental health, that is, to see it for what it actually is rather than what they interpret and proclaim it to be. There are too many vested interests involved.

The public need to wake up to these realities. Websites like this one will help awaken the sleeping giant that is public opinion from its slumber, and contribute significantly to a growing public demand for the much needed and long overdue change in the mental health paradigm.