“When Will Mental Illness Finally Yield to Science?”


Newsweek writer Alexander Nazaryan overviews the recent “kick in the rear” provided to brain science by hundreds of millions of dollars in donations, and asks various experts and himself when we might expect such research to provide anything helpful. Nobel prize-winning physician Eric Kandel tells Newsweek that he’s a “delusional optimist,” while admitting that we’ve made “only modest improvements” in responding to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

“We know, for example, that dumping cold water on an ailing patient won’t cure insanity, but despite the proliferation of psychiatric drugs in the second half of the 20th century, we are not sure what will,” writes Nazaryan. “That’s in large part because the brain, with its 86 billion neurons, remains deeply resistant to our understanding, despite recent advances in neuroimaging.” As for gene studies, Nazaryan observes that, “between the vastness of the human genome and the inscrutability of the brain, it could be many years before we fully grasp how aberrant genes produce specific illnesses, longer yet before we are able translate these insights into treatment.”

When Will Mental Illness Finally Yield to Science? (Newsweek, August 11, 2014)


  1. I believe that the vast majority of mental illness is trauma based. I am an incest survivor and know many sexual abuse survivors. Some of them have been diagnosed as bipolar when what they really suffer from is severe PTSD. Then they are drugged out of their wits and never get to the true source of the problem, so they never get any real relief from their illness. While I do agree that we need a better understanding of the physical and chemical characteristics of the brain, I don’t think that that is where the answers to most mental illness resides. The drug proliferation without much improvement is an indication that we are looking in the wrong place for answers.

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    • I agree, most “mental illnesses” are trauma induced. According to my medical records, I had the ADRs and withdrawal effects of a bad drug cocktail, given to me by a PCP who was paranoid of a malpractice suit due to her husband’s medical incompetence, misdiagnosed (according to the DSM) as “bipolar.” And according to my medical records, I was misdiagnosed, based upon a list of lies and gossip from the people who sexually and spiritually abused my children.

      My subsequent pastors were kind enough to read my chronologically typed up medical records with my medical research along side, and confessed I’d dealt with the “dirty little secret of the two original educated professions.” Apparently, historically and today, a major function of the psychiatric industry is covering up sexual abuse of women and children for the religions or wealthy, and easily recognized iatrogenesis for the incompetent doctors.

      And you’re also right, defaming and tranquilizing people so they can’t mentally come to grips with the appalling injustices done onto them, harms the victimized person further. But what’s convenient for the psychiatrists is that they can create “bipolar” and “schizophrenia” symptoms with their drugs.

      However, I’m not certain why they believe keeping the child molesters on the streets raping more and more children is beneficial to society as a whole. My ex-therapist ended up with the highest suicide rate in the nation in her local high school by the time my abused child was in high school. I’m quite certain putting the child molesters in jail would have been better for the entire community, although it would not have been as profitable for the “mental health” professionals.

      I hope some day the “mental health” practitioners will stop covering up sexual abuse by defaming people with “lacking in validity” “mental illnesses” and poisoning patients with toxic drug cocktails.

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    • On the other hand it would be kind of hilarious to spend hundreds of years and hundreds of millions on mapping every single cell and neuron in every single brain in real time and discovering there was absolutely nothing wrong with them.

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