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Why Do People Go Mad? A Documentary

“I believe that we will look back on this programme as the moment when the biomedical public narrative finally started to change.”

That’s what Lucy Johnstone said in her review of the BBC Documentary, “Why did I go mad.”  You can access that review at and you can access the documentary itself at

Don’t be put off by some of the babbling about dopamine early on in.  As Lucy comments,

…much of the content of the first half of the programme was spliced with updates about this badly-behaved neurotransmitter, which for mysterious reasons sometimes misfires, over-produces, and generally causes its hosts to feel as if they are living in a sinister Banksy-style funfair (cue images of leering clowns, gargoyles etc..) We were told that ‘anti-psychotic’ drugs can keep dopamine over-production under control, although the sight of David counting out the numerous pills that, as a senior psychiatrist frankly admitted to him, are likely to contribute to health problems and an early death, suggested that these benefits are bought at a very high price.

The documentary moves on to much better stuff, pointing out lots of possible reasons people go mad due to things that happen to them, and also some of the innovative ways people are learning to go about getting better and managing things even while their minds continue to be different than average.

Rai Waddingham is one of the people featured in the documentary – and because she is up front about the difficulties she has had, she has found some people who watched the documentary now want to pity her.

She rebuts the idea that she needs pity in what I think is a great article, “Don’t Pity Me: Psychosis Gave Me Mad Skills”   The idea that something positive can come out of distressing states is one thing that can help counter the sense that one is “less than” others because of having gone through such experiences.

Anyway, check this stuff out, and let me know what you think!

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