Psychoactive Ciné: The Perfect Host

Ran across this interesting movie without hearing anything about it. Well, it's pure mayhem . . . How can you go wrong with a schizophrenic serial killer imaginary dance party with an amazing soundtrack? If you are wondering what happens at the dinner parties at my house, this about sums it up. Check out this movie if you want to be hilariously disturbed . . .

The Mad Boy


Chapter II: The Artist's Guide to Understanding the DSM-V

This is the new video from APA President John Oldham, discussing the latest revisions to the upcoming DSM-5.

I mad a post, I mean I made . . . no, mad . . . a few days ago about the revisions to the DSM. I know what you're thinking, well I don't actually know but I'm used to talking to myself. . . we aren't doctors and this isn't something an artist is concerned with - wrong!

We are Artists and the benefits of Mental Healthcare go far beyond us feeling better. . . I'll explain later, here is a quick overview of the video:
  • Over 500 experts are working to release the DSM-V in Spring 2013.
  • This version progresses many out-dated disorders & ties in what we've learned over the last 20 years (when the last DSM was published)
  • There is something called the 'Scientific Review Committee' - basically a way to make sure any revisions are legit.
  • The general definition of Personality Disorders is broken down into two categories:
    • Significant impairment of of the self or identity.
    • Significant impairment of interpersonal functioning (i.e. empathy or intimacy)
  • Personality Disorders will fall under 6 main categories: antisocial, avoidant, borderline, narcissistic, obsessive-compulsive & schizotypal.
  • 'Personality Disorder Traits Specified' describes specific traits of each category & is aimed and helping those who are only half-nuts.
  • What reason is there for another DSM, is it necessary?
" . . . It has been over 20 years since the last version was published. In those twenty years we've made explosive progress in understanding and treatment. [Dr. Oldham] believes we are more than ready & if anything overdue to define how we treat Mental Illness . . . "
So - this update is VERY important to us Mad Artists. Why? Because Mental Illness stifles creative innovation.

Yes I know, Art History is riddled with stories depicting the Troubled Artist - don't be fooled by this simplistic notion. Art moves us because it is the literal manifestation of emotion. . . This is WHY, even centuries later, the desperate music of Schubert or tragic eccentricity of Dali can bring you to your knees. . . Mental Illness disconnects an Artist from emotions. Emotion is your friend!

It's ok to be sad, to be angry, to be frantic. . . It's OK to be happy. . . But don't mistake Mental Disorders for emotions, they're not. They will do nothing less than nullify your creativity if left unchecked.

Be ridiculous.
Be hilarious.
Be enraged.
Be mad!

But more than anything - be you,

The Mad Boy

There's Madness Brewing in Tokyo. . .

Fashion, n. A despot whom the wise ridicule and obey.

~Ambrose Bierce

If there is one thing I love more than myself, it's the ingenious anarchy of Tokyo Fashion Week - it's somewhat of a substance. These designers have substance abuse problems, and they abuse it skillfully. . . The disordered folks over at TokyoFashion.com have full coverage of the happening shows, let's take a walk on the wild side . . .

This is the first of a long line of posts dedicated to Fashion. . . .

The Mad Boy

January Schofield

January, or as her family calls her 'Jani', is a 6 year-old little girl who likes animals and wants to be a veterinarian. But there is something extraordinary about Jani; She is friends with two other girls, cats, rats, dogs and birds - and only she can see them.

"I'm Jani, and I have a cat named Emily-54 and I'm Saturn-the-rats babysitter", she introduces herself.

Jani has schizophrenia - suffering from delusions, hallucinations and rage so severe her father refers to it, "as though someone is fighting for their life." Sharon Roan, a writer for the Los Angeles Times, spoke with members of Jani's family, her medical team and the several Doctors specializing in Child-onset Mental Illness. There is an incredible short film chronicling the story of Jani, her family and her devastating illness -

. . . Child-onset schizophrenia is 20 to 30 times more severe than adult-onset schizophrenia," says Dr. Nitin Gogtay, a neurologist at the National Institute of Mental Health who helps direct the children's study, the largest such study in the world on the illness. Ninety-five percent of the time they are awake these kids are actively hallucinating," Gogtay says. "I don't think I've seen anything more devastating in all of medicine. . .
Here is the part of the story that had the biggest impact on this Mad Boy -
. . . Although she can't sit still long enough to read a book, she is a voracious learner. She's also bright -- her IQ is 146. Over the years, Jani's parents have entertained her by feeding her information well beyond her years: specifics of evolution, the Roman Empire, the periodic table of elements. 
"What is atomic symbol of tungsten?" her mother asks.
"W" . . .
This article is a MUST READ. . . The amazing story of this little girl will resonate with every Artist and how we approach our own lives & art - the world is lucky to have someone like January Schofield.

The Mad Boy


National ADHD Awareness Week!@^!*&#%!

LET'S CELEBRATE ! Well, maybe not celebrate but perhaps a celebratory set of jumping jacks? ADHD affects so many people just like you and me. Some professionals think it's over-diagnosed while others think more people need help with it . . . I'm a fellow mADD boy, so I find this awareness week very important!

For more info for you or those around you, check out the APA Blog or Psychiatric New - good info that can help you understand yourself a little more AND maybe help those in your life understand you a little more! Would love to hear from the mADD Artists of the world . . . .

The Mad Boy

Here's to the Crazy Ones!

Let's Stroll Through Fantasy Land

For the other Alice fans . . . are you ready for some Mad Reveries?

The Mad Boy


MGMT - Flash Delirium


The Mad Boy

25 first-date questions for Mad Folks. . .

"I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people."
Vincent Van Gogh

Van Gogh is just like you and me, Mad; talented, but Mad nevertheless! It was our friend Vincent, among other things, that inspired this list of 20 Mad first-date questions.

As is the nature of all my knowledge - everything on this list is absolutely true and guaranteed never not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise.

With that it mind, I would love to hear how your date goes!

1. Is your serotonin sufficient?

2. Have you ever thought to yourself alone?

3. Which word describes you best: Bipolar, Depressed or Agoraphobic?

4. Do you consider yourself monogamous or schizophrenic?

5. What is the last movie that didn't make you cry?

6. How do you feel about public displays of behavioral disorders?

7. If you were trapped in a burning building, do you think I would be late for my doctor appointment?

8. How many times an hour do you open and close the front door?

9. Would you say you follow your heart or the 12 steps?

10. What's your favorite domestic animal? Give me three reasons why I care?

11. If you were on a deserted island, how would you get your prescriptions refilled?

12. What's your home address?

13. I'm glad we have so much in common! Who's your therapist?

14. What's your most embarrassing normal moment? No, go on, you can tell me, I feel we've become close.

15. Does your psychiatrist accept medicare?

16. What was your diagnosis in high school?

17. Inpatient or Outpatient?

18. What's you favorite food to binge eat?

19. What jobs have you had in prison?

20. Do you like interacting with large groups of patients?

21. Would you happen to have any xanax?

22. Where am I?

23. Is your cognition normal?

24. Shit, I left my mind at home - can we turn around?

25. Are you a republican?

The Mad Boy


The Artist's Guide to Understanding the DSM-V

. . . the future is bright and we are embarked on perhaps the most exciting of mankind's intellectual explorations. The brain is by far the most complicated thing in the known universe and our field is central in accumulating an understanding of the ineluctably complex processes by which it creates mind, consciousness, and behavior. Psychiatric practice requires you to be a combination of doctor, scientist, shaman, philosopher, and healer. It is a good life and a high calling. . . 

Those are the remarkable words of Allen Frances, M.D., professor emeritus at Duke University School of Medicine . . . Dr. Frances was the chair of Psychiatry at Duke and the DSM-IV Task Force, which makes his article Why Psychiatry Is Wonderful - Even If DSM-V Isn't far more special!

DSM stands for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - published by the APA, it's essentially the Bible of Mental Healthcare. 

I want whoever is reading this to create their own opinion on the subject, so I will leave you with these quotes artfully written by Dr. Frances -
". . . It is essential for clinicians to know the DSM language lest they be completely idiosyncratic and unable to communicate meaningfully. It is equally essential that clinicians not worship DSM as some kind of bible or see it as the end, rather than just the beginning of the clinical conversation. The DSM is an essential, but a very small, part of the rich enterprise of clinical psychiatry. . . "
Cleverly ending his article with thought-provoking last words . . .

" . . . I fear DSM-5 because it threatens to further medicalize normality and spread psychiatry too thin. Psychiatry is wonderful when done well and within its appropriate limits. . . "

You can learn more about the changes in the DSM-V from their website, here are few of the highlights my artisan friends:

  • Re-categorizing learning disorders, including changing the term "mental retardation" to "intellectual disability"
  • Getting rid of "Substance abuse/dependence" and creating "addiction and related disorders"
  • "Behavioral Addictions" including Gambling, but not Internet or Sex
  • New tool to assess suicide risk
  • A new category called "risk syndromes" for mild forms of psychosis & cognitive impairment
  • Children disorder "temper dysregulation with dysphoria" aka constant negative mood with bursts of rage
  • Altering the "eating disorder" category and creating a "binge eating disorder" separate from bulimia
  • "Dimensional assessments" for the severity of symptoms that appear in multiple disorders
Never stop learning Mad Hatters -

The Mad Boy


Most everyone's mad here . . .

Two things first! Then I will explain the title, if I must . . .

Thing One -

The Mad Boy has a wondrous new Promo video, I'd love to share it with someone other than myself . . .

Thing Two -

I am happy to introduce Mad Reveries - which is just a fancy name for Interviews. This Mad Boy will share my conversations with other Mad Artists, and showcase their Wonderful Creations just for you - No subject is taboo! Except for maybe Taboo. . . . I will also share my chats with different Mental Health Professionals (Of course none of my own - that would surely scare you silly!)

There are people, lot's of people, just like us my friend, and it's time for you to meet them, you see?

If you are an Artist or Mental Profession or alive, and would like to be featured in the Mad Reveries, feel more than free to contact - TheMadBoyBlog@gmail.com . . . I'd love to devour your brain and present it to the masses!

About the title - You will often find references from the book Alice in Wonderland, there is probably a reason this story made so much sense to the Mad Child I once was . . .
Cheshire Cat: If I were looking for a white rabbit, I'd ask the Mad Hatter.  
Alice: The Mad Hatter? Oh, no no no...  
Cheshire Cat: Or, you could ask the March Hare, in that direction.  
Alice: Oh, thank you. I think I'll see him...  
Cheshire Cat: Of course, he's mad, too.  
Alice: But I don't want to go among mad people.  
Cheshire Cat: Oh, you can't help that. Most everyone's mad here.  
[laughs maniacally; starts to disappear 
Cheshire Cat: You may have noticed that I'm not all there myself. . .

The Mad Boy


The Efficacy Crusades

"Lifesavers or Active Placebos?"
The Efficacy of Antidepressants has long been the subject of debate - Are Antidepressants effective for treating Mental Disorders or are they merely Placebos with side effects? Our friends over at Psychiatric Times published an article about a recent heated exchange. . . . A very public one, and one I see no end in sight for. For my own amusement I call it "The Efficacy Crusades" - has a kitschy ring to it don't you think???

It's an in-depth piece so here's an amuse-bouche to titillate the palate (yet another food reference for the foodies). . . .
" . . . Marcia Angell, MD, Senior Lecturer on Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School and former Editor-in-Chief of The New England Journal of Medicine . . . contend[s] that clinical trials have failed to find antidepressants effective at all in mild to moderate depression; that many psychiatric drugs have devastating adverse effects, especially in children and when used long-term . . . Antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs, Angell charged, “are greatly overused, mainly because of the pharmaceutical industry’s influence on the psychiatric profession.” She also criticized the quality of clinical research in psychiatry as “especially poor” and the DSM as lacking validity, ever widening the scope of mental disorders and justifying “the use of psychoactive drugs.". . .”
Harsh, Dr. Angell . . . I thought I was tough nut! But it sounds to me like all your words are bit, well I'll just leave this to the Professionals -
Peter Kramer, MD, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown University and author of "Listening to Prozac" and "Against Depression"  . . . offered a spirited defense of antidepressants in his op-ed rebuttal to Angell and others. “It is dangerous for the press to hammer away at the theme that antidepressants are placebos. They’re not. To give the impression that they are is to cause needless suffering." . . . 
The article continues to respond to each of the accusations, backing it all up with some pretty incredible research. Though, I think the most important point is summed up by Dr. Kramer. As for the over-prescribing caused by pharmaceutical's supposed death-grip on Psychiatry -
". . . in the August 1, 2011, issue of "Health Affairs", researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that much of the growth in antidepressant use can be attributed to prescribing by non-psychiatrist providers without any ac-companying psychiatric diagnosis. . . While there are data suggesting that both underuse and overuse of psychiatric medications occur. . .Thomas Insel, MD, director of the NIMH, said a more critical issue is that “only about half of those with major depression receive care."
To provoke even more thought from fellow Artists who are affected by Mental Disorders, I will turn to our friend Kay Jamison, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and perhaps the most famous author on manic-depressive illness. . . Jamison isn't fond of  the simplistic notion of a "Mad Genius." She has a good point too - most emotionally unstable people are not extraordinarily creative, and most extraordinarily creative people are not emotionally unstable. . . Though she does explore the question: how might mania or depression contribute to creative accomplishment?

Before this Mad Chef returns to the kitchen, I must acknowledge the Sous-chef equally responsible for this tasting - a fellow Mad Boy indeed . . .

The Mad Boy


Psychoactive Ciné: It's Kind of a Funny Story

"It's Kind of a Funny Story" is a novel-turned-movie written by Ned Vizzini, whose own experience in a psychiatric hospital inspired him to write this satirical, yet all-too real narrative. Struggling to cope with social pressures, depression, and suicidal thoughts - the story artfully unfolds a boy's week-long stay in a New York Psychiatric Ward. . . A unique and thought-provoking film resonating in the mind of this Mad Boy. . . .

Madly Brilliant: The obsessive Yayoi Kusama


If you haven't already, meet Yayoi Kusama. One of the most innovative and influential Artists in Contemporary Art, not to mention one of the highest-earning - OH, She also was a long time patient of Tokyo Psychiatric hospital, suffering from both hallucinations and obsessive thoughts. . .

See it?

The Mad Boy

Watch this . . .it's sensational.


Creative Legacies: Communism & Mad Ingenuity

"Salute", Yue Minjun 

Li Dazhao
Today is the birthday of Li Dazhao, one of the founders of the Chinese Communist Party. There's a special place in my heart for China - not because I'm Communist, I'm not that Mad - it's for their Art. One of the Ba rong, ba chi state::

Be disciplined and law-abiding; not chaotic and lawless

Through deep satire, China's subculture of Mad Art is just that - chaotic & lawless . . . hence their place in my heart.

Steve Jobs, 2.24.55 - 10.5.11 
Sadly, We have lost one of our own, Steven Jobs - truly a Mad Genius. Admiring the influential legacy forged by his creativity & imagination, I reflect on what creative legacy I wish to forge . . . Although, I don't try to KNOW what lies ahead.

In the diary of a 16 year-old Robert Schumann, the fellow Mad Boy puts it best -

What I really am I myself do not know clearly. I am certain of having some imagination, and nobody has denied me this. I am not a profound thinker: I can never logically proceed along a line of thought which I may have started well. Whether I am a poet - one has to be a poet, never can become one - posterity will have to judge.

The Mad Boy

Fame: Side effects may include Panic Attacks

Actress Amanda Seyfried recently said in an interview that she regularly see's a therapist to help with her Panic Attacks. 

Makes me wonder what other effects a high-profile has on an Artist affected by Mental Health issues . . .

The Mad Boy

Hate? Nope just Depressed

Depressed people don't hate you, just themselves . . .what a relief!!

The Molecular Psychiatry Journal published a study finding that depression seems to uncouple the brain's "Hate Circuit" . . . of course, I have to no clue what any of that means. But researcher Jianfeng Feng does -
"One possibility is that the uncoupling of this hate circuit could be associated with impaired ability to control and learn from social or other situations which provoke feelings of hate towards self or others, this in turn could lead to an inability to deal appropriately with feelings of hate and an increased likelihood of both uncontrolled self-loathing and withdrawal from social interactions."
The Mad Boy 


Requiem for a (antidepressant) Dream . . .

It's easy for us artists to get lost in our dreams. . .actually, most everything is a dream to us. A recent article published in the WSJ Health Journal explores the effects that Antidepressants, among other medications, have on our dreams -
". . . Sleep experts say medications particularly apt to bring troubling dreams are those that affect neurotransmitters, the brain's chemical messengers that influence sleep cycles, among other things. That includes most antidepressants, as well as antihistamines and anticholinergic drugs used to treat a broad range of conditions, from overactive bladder to bronchial spasms. Sleeping pills can also disrupt sleep cycles and cause nightmares. . ."
I don't really mind these vivid dreams. However disturbing they may be, dreams are the neurotransmitters that influence superlative art.

Dream on, Dreamers.

The Mad Boy

Madly Brilliant: Odd Nerdrum

Odd Nerdrum is a Swedish Artist whose work is full of No Modernism. That's all I'm going to say, the Art speaks for itself, don't you think?

"Buried Alive"

"Three Name-givers"
"The Singers"
"Guardián Nocturno"

There are infinitely more works - and they are exhilarating . . .

The Mad Boy