I came up with a tie for my “Enough is Enough” series, so I will address two articles.
The first is “Researchers identify key biological markers for psychotic disorders,” by James Halaway, December 8, 2015 in Medical Xpress. The essence of the article is contained in the first paragraph, “A team of researchers led by faculty at the University of Georgia has identified a number of biological markers that make it possible to classify mental disorders with greater precision.” The article ends with a quote from the researcher, “You can’t, for example, use an animal model for schizophrenia. How do you find a schizophrenic mouse? But if we can identify a biological mechanism that contributes to disease, then we may reinvigorate drug development, and that’s what we’re trying to provide.”
This purpose of this research is to further the false idea that psychosis is a biological brain disease that is the same as other medical diseases. The goal is to find an analogue of schizophrenia in a blood test or an X-ray in order to diagnose it. This furthers Dr. Thomas Insel’s and the APA’s belief system (read: delusion) that we are on the brink of such a discovery. The authors report that their biotypes of mental disorders proved to be superior to DSM standards. As Dr. Insel said, hopefully, in his blog ‘Transforming Diagnosis’: “Mental disorders are biological disorders involving brain circuits that implicate specific domains of cognition, emotion, or behavior… Mapping the cognitive, circuit, and genetic aspects of mental disorders will yield new and better targets for treatment.” (read: drugs).
But psychiatric symptoms are manifest in the brain just like all behaviors are manifest in the brain. If I clench my fist it shows in the brain. If I unclench my fist it appears differently in the brain. My brain does not determine the state of my fist. I do. Finding brain changes that ‘correlate’ with symptoms is obvious and meaningless. The fallacy is the idea that brain change is a disease process that ‘causes’ symptoms. This is not true. When there is relief from the symptoms due to psychotherapy, the brain seems to magically transform itself again. The no-brainer is: brain change is not causal – it follows the symptomatic expression, just like my fist. Finding biological mechanisms may demonstrate brain changes, but does not cause them. [See – “Correlation and Causation.”]
The whole enterprise is a house of cards built on the ‘belief’ in a group of medical brain diseases, for which we haven’t found the specific proof yet. ‘We are on the verge,’ psychiatry says, so the belief is close enough. And if you repeat a belief often enough, it is taken as true. This is what has happened. There is no real science behind it, and at some point in the process a mistaken belief transforms into a lie. This faulty science proceeds as if we have confirmation of a hypothesis that never was remotely proven. It’s called “confirmation bias.” It’s enough to make the brain hurt.
Perhaps the point when a faulty belief becomes a lie is when it extends into other domains, as when psychiatry asserts that these (fictitious) diseases are all genetic. Genes create the brain so, they say, psychiatric ‘diseases’ are all genetic. We are on the verge of – if not living in – this brave new world. Unfortunately the real driver, as the researcher noted, is “we may reinvigorate drug development, and that’s what we’re trying to provide.” Soon we will create a specific ‘Soma’ that will cure all our ills.
By the way, the notion that criteria such as biomarkers are better than the DSM is like saying that shock treatment is better than lobotomies: The ills that psychiatry addresses are not now nor ever will be disease processes. They are human problems that do not lend themselves to a drug “cure.” They need to be dealt with in a human way, on human scale. [See – The Secret World of Schizophrenia – the tragedy of a promise unfulfilled”]
What is so disturbing about this destructive belief system leads right to the second article, “Still in a crib, Yet being Given Antipsychotics,” by Alan Schwarz in the New York Times, December 10, 2015. In fairness to the writer, he seems rather appalled himself. 20,000 prescriptions for Risperidone and Seroquel were written in 2014 for children under 2 years old; 83,000 prescriptions for Prozac have been given to children under 2; 10,000 children age 2 or 3 have been given Adderall; the numbers for benzodiazepines are not given, but they are large.
We are talking about drugging babies here, based on the delusion that developing kids have genetic medical diseases. Since schizophrenia, depression, ADHD, and anxiety are (alleged to be) genetic diseases, isn’t it a good thing – so they say – to catch them early and get ahead of the game?
But in two-year-olds the brain is in a process of rapid cell growth, myelination, hooking up of synapses, and mapping our physical development and formative emotional experiences in the limbic system. This is an incredible time of growth, development, and brain maturation. We have no idea what effects these drugs are having on these maturing brains. To infuse damaging psychoactive chemicals into these developing brains is nothing short of malpractice.
But the house of cards keeps growing. We have been brainwashed by money and power and bad science that most people do not understand. When will this stop?
Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.