What Do Santa Claus and the Chemical Imbalance Have in Common?

Tim Carey, PhD
160
3685

It might seem like a silly question, but as we head into the holiday season it’s worth noting that the parallels are striking and instructive. By “chemical imbalance” I’m referring to those explanations that suggest that mental health problems are caused by an imbalance of neurotransmitters (or chemicals) in the brain. The two most commonly identified culprits are serotonin and dopamine. Apparently, so the story goes, depression is caused by an imbalance of the neurotransmitter serotonin and schizophrenia is caused by an imbalance of dopamine.

An important detail to clarify at the outset is that a chemical is only identified as a neurotransmitter because of the way it functions in the brain. There is nothing special or unique about its chemical properties that make it particularly neurotransmitterish. A number of peptides, for example, function as either hormones or neurotransmitters depending on where they are located (Purves et al., 2001). And with serotonin, approximately 90% of the bodies’ serotonin lies outside the brain in the gastrointestinal tract (Ruddell, Mann, & Ramm, 2008).

While the similarities between Saint Nick and chemical imbalances are interesting and informative there is at least one fundamental difference between them. Prior to exploring some of their commonalities, emphasising this important difference might provide an important context for what is to come. Whereas, in the Western world at least, Santa Claus is generally associated with kindness, warmth, and good tidings, the chemical imbalance narrative is mostly accompanied by misery and mayhem. Despite this troubling difference, the similarities are noteworthy.

Perhaps the greatest similarity is that both Santa Claus and the chemical imbalance are mythical. Santa Claus, as we know him today, has never existed, and many authors (e.g., Gotzsche, 2015; Healy, 2012; Moncrieff, 2009; and Whitaker, 2010) agree that there is not one shred of evidence for the notion that an imbalance of chemicals in the brain causes mental health problems. Ironically, any imbalance in chemicals associated with mental health problems seems to occur after people have begun ingesting psychotropic medication not before (Gotzsche, 2015; Whitaker, 2010).

Santa Claus by Takeda Naoki
Santa Claus by Takeda Naoki

Both chemical imbalances and Santa Claus have been extraordinary marketing strategies. In fact, the chemical imbalance propaganda may eventually be recognised as one of the greatest marketing manoeuvres of all time. The tactic of promoting mental health problems as consequences of out of balance brain chemicals has literally turned pharmaceutical companies into some of the most successful organisations on the planet with profits that soar into the stratosphere of billion dollar figures. The fallacy that mental health problems “are just like diabetes” so that medication will need to be taken “for the rest of your life” has beguiled health professionals and patients alike despite the emptiness of its claims. While the Santa Claus story hasn’t been as astronomically successful, it has certainly turned a Christian Festival into a very lucrative commercial enterprise.

The function of the Santa Claus and chemical imbalance stories are also practically identical. It could be argued that the main reason for the Santa Claus tale is so that parents have a way to “encourage” their children to behave sweetly.

He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice. 

He’s gonna find out who’s naughty or nice.

As Christmas draws closer, children are cautioned about the nonarrival of Santa should they transgress in ways that parents find objectionable. Similarly, mental health prescribers use the fantasy of the chemical imbalance to “encourage” their patients to be compliant with their medication. Despite its fictional nature, it is still not uncommon for patients to be told that the reason they are experiencing mental health problems is because they have a chemical imbalance. This is where the “just like diabetes” silliness enters the script and, of course, the delivery of the nonsensical life sentence remedy follows soon after. Moreover, it may also be the case that one type of medication won’t be enough to restore the balance so multiple prescriptions are also a regular occurrence once people embark on the journey of the chemical cure. Not surprisingly, both the “life sentence” and the multi-pronged approach are both very useful in boosting pharmaceutical profits even further.

Santa Claus and the chemical imbalance are both creations from a Western cultural perspective and they both disregard explanations from other cultures. Despite his multifaceted origins, Santa Claus is now most closely linked to the Western Christian festival of Christmas. The chemical imbalance idea is firmly rooted in the Western bio-medical perspective. Despite their mono-cultural origins they have infiltrated other cultures and societies and usurped the indigenous explanations that exist there. “Mental health literacy” is a particularly insidious form of indoctrination in which people from other cultures are taught to think like Westerners with regard to the manifestation and treatment of mental health problems.

The invisibility of Santa Claus and the chemical imbalance is another shared feature. It is devilishly difficult to identify whether they are present or not. And, of course, the benefit for the chemical imbalance enthusiasts is that “One can never be sure whether something that does not exist has gone away.” (Runkel, 2003, p. 368) so we need to keep taking those l’il ol’ pills just to be sure.

We assess whether or not Santa has visited by the bulging Christmas stockings and the crumbs on the plate where a cookie used to be. To determine the presence of neurotransmitters we mostly rely on measuring metabolites in the blood, however, these substances do not have a straightforward relationship with the chemicals in the brain. There has certainly been progress in recent years in the development of different techniques for measuring neurotransmitters directly (Perry, Li, Kennedy, 2009) although these methods still have limitations. Perhaps the main limitations, however, are conceptual rather than pragmatic. Even if we were able to accurately determine what someone’s dopamine levels were at any point in time, we still would have no idea of what the dopamine levels should be. And, given what we know about the bidirectional influences between the brain and behaviour, it would be a mistake to assume that any particular dopamine level was responsible for a particular mood state. It would be just as defensible to conclude that it was the mood state that changed the dopamine levels. That is assuming of course that we were able to tell that the dopamine levels had, in fact, changed from a previous level.

It is also the case that within the relationships in which the stories of Santa Claus and the chemical imbalance flourish there are distinct power differentials. Santa Claus is most often used in relationships between parents and children. In this context, Santa is the parents’ little helper as they use the omnipotence and moral exactitude of Santa to reign in irascible children. The chemical imbalance is most often used in relationships between a doctor and a patient. In this context the doctor adopts the role of the wise sage and explains tirelessly and compassionately to the patient about their apparent neural deficiency. In this context the seemingly scientific “just like diabetes” sermon is delivered for the purpose of promoting compliance from sceptical, questioning, or otherwise wayward patients.

I intended this article to be a short satire using the similarities between Santa Claus and the chemical imbalance as a way of increasing awareness of the folly of adhering to this particular causal explanation of psychological distress. As I have proceeded, however, it is the differences that now appear more noteworthy to me. I described a contextual difference at the outset and, in closing, it seems appropriate to return to the differences as a way of emphasising the seriousness of the situation with which we are dealing.

Generally, most people, even little people, recognise that Santa is just a game. Children perhaps wholeheartedly believe in the story for a while but flaws in the narrative soon become apparent. The Santa Claus charade is of benefit to them, however, so they are likely to play along way past the time they could have legitimately exposed the deception so that they continue to enjoy a bountiful Festive Season.

Unfortunately, not nearly enough people recognise that the chemical imbalance is also a charade. The “mental illness is just like any other medical illness” has reached axiomatic proportions (Malla, Joober, & Garcia, 2015) despite the shakiness of its foundations. The uncritical acceptance of this idea by many people has had deleterious consequences which may well be the most important difference of all between the chemical imbalance and the Santa Claus fables.

Whether you do or do not believe in Santa Claus doesn’t really matter. People tend to figure out the way they most like to celebrate the festivals and occasions that are important to them and, often, these differences can be an interesting topic of discussion.

Whether you do or do not believe in the chemical imbalance, however, does matter. And it matters both ways. If people do accept a chemical imbalance explanation for their difficulties they may well be reassured initially but they may also then disregard psychological and social treatments (Malla et al., 2015) which could have beneficial effects for them. If they choose pharmacology as their only remedy they risk experiencing some of the damaging consequences of long term psychotropic medication use (Whitaker, 2010). If people don’t accept a chemical imbalance explanation, they may experience fractious relationships with their treating mental health professionals, they may be described as lacking insight, and they may become caught up in a cycle of “nonadherence” (Malla et al., 2015).

While it would be hard to imagine any stigma on a serious or wide-spread scale being associated with believing in Santa Claus, there is good evidence that medical explanations of mental illness such as the chemical imbalance idea are associated with stigma that is both serious and widespread. Malla et al. (2015) report that several well-conducted studies have concluded that when campaigns promote biological explanations for mental health problems this does not reduce stigma. Instead, people are less accepting of those with mental health problems and feel less positively towards them. This can include believing that people with mental health problems such as depression and schizophrenia are dangerous and unpredictable and the endorsement of an increased desire for social distance from these people (Read, Haslam, Sayce, & Davies, 2006; Speerforck, S., Schomerus, G., Pruess, S., & Angermeyer, M. C., 2014).

Believing in, and propagating, the chemical imbalance untruth does matter. It matters for a whole lot of reasons. While the comparison between Santa Claus and the chemical imbalance narrative is instructive, it should not distract from the damage that is done by continuing to promote the manifestation of psychological distress as attributable to out of balance brain chemicals.

People are controlling, autonomous agents. They experience difficulties when their ability to control the things that are important to them is blocked or disrupted (Carey, Mansell, & Tai, 2015). Promoting explanations that are consistent with the way people are designed will lead to more effective treatments and less stigma and other adversity for those who are psychologically distressed.

While Santa only visits once a year, the chemical imbalance hoax is always here. We can look on Santa’s benevolent arrival with whimsical indifference but that is not the case with the chemical imbalance. Like the impostor it is, it needs to be exposed and evicted. When that happens we might look forward to greatly enhanced mental health services for the people who seek what these services have to offer.

* * * * *

References:

Carey, T. A., Mansell, W., & Tai, S. (2015). Principles-based counselling and psychotherapy: A Method of Levels approach. East Sussex: Routledge.

Gotzsche, P. (2015). Deadly psychiatry and organized denial. Copenhagen: People’s Press.

Healy, D. (2012). Pharmageddon. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Malla, A., Joober, R., & Garcia, A. (2015). “Mental illness is like any other medical illness”: A critical examination of the statement and its impact on patient care and society. Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience, 40(3), 147-50.

Moncrieff, J. (2009). The myth of the chemical cure: A critique of psychiatric drug treatment. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Purves, D., Augustine, G. J., Fitzpatrick, D., Katz, L. C., LaMantia, A. S., McNamara, J. O., & Williams, S. M. (2001). Neuroscience (2nd ed.). Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK10957/

Read, J., Haslam, N., Sayce, L,. & Davies, E. (2006). Prejudice and schizophrenia: A review of the ‘mental illness is an illness like any other’ approach. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 114(5), 303-18.

Ruddell, R. G., Mann, D. A., & Ramm, G. A. (2008). The function of serotonin within the liver. Journal of Hepatology, 48, 666-75.

Runkel, P. (2003). People as living things: The psychology of perceptual control. Hayward, CA: Living Control Systems Publishing.

Speerforck, S., Schomerus, G., Pruess, S., & Angermeyer, M. C. (2014). Different biogenetic causal explanations and attitudes towards persons with major depression, schizophrenia and alcohol dependence: Is the concept of a chemical imbalance beneficial? Journal of Affective Disorders, 168, 224-8.

Whitaker, R. (2010). Anatomy of an epidemic: Magic bullets, psychiatric drugs, and the astonishing rise of mental illness in America. New York: Broadway Paperbacks.

Support MIA

Enjoyed what you just read? Consider a donation to help us continue to produce content, provide up-to-date research news, offer continuing education courses, and continue building a community for exploring alternatives to the current paradigm of mental health. All donations are tax deductible.

$
Select Payment Method
Loading...
Personal Info

Credit Card Info
This is a secure SSL encrypted payment.

Donation Total: $20.00

160 COMMENTS

  1. “…there is good evidence that medical explanations of mental illness such as the chemical imbalance idea are associated with stigma that is both serious and widespread. Malla et al. (2015) report that several well-conducted studies have concluded that when campaigns promote biological explanations for mental health problems this does not reduce stigma.”

    I believe this. I’d say that the chemical imbalance explanation *promotes* stigma–in fact, it is stigmatizing, in and of itself–precisely because it is false, and the stigma becomes “you are chronically ill.” Not only is this a complete falsehood that ruins peoples’ lives, but this also makes current practices fraudulent and extremely dangerous, because they are so largely based on this false premise. The fact that it is an out and out lie is what makes it stigmatizing. It has also been a fantastic marketing tool, because it drums up quite a bit of business and it keeps clients hooked on drugs and the system for life.

    Moreover, professional “advocacy” agencies use ‘stigma reduction’ campaigns to encourage people to walk into the system and get “treatment,” and therefore, embody the stigma. What an over-the-top scam this whole thing is!

    Another difference in Santa Clause and chemical imbalance theory is that usually it’s just the kids who believe in Santa Clause, whereas adults believe the chemical imbalance myth. They will argue and fight about it, relationships are compromised and destroyed from this particular ” is it myth or real?” debate. It is extremely divisive and it triggers rage and hostility in people. While some kids might feel disillusioned when they discover that SC is a myth, the emotional triggers associated with the “chemical imbalance, real or not?” debate are much more profound and potentially sabotaging.

    “If people don’t accept a chemical imbalance explanation, they may experience fractious relationships with their treating mental health professionals, they may be described as lacking insight, and they may become caught up in a cycle of “nonadherence”

    Indeed, and that is called OPPRESSION–“either believe the lie I am telling you about you or there is something even more wrong with you, and I can make things very uncomfortable for you!” And it’s so common, and reprehensible, I believe. How can anyone offering this ultimatum possibly consider themselves a “healer”? That would be an excellent example of delusion and lack of self-insight. I wish there were some way this would be illegal, because it is adult bullying and abuse of power, pure and simple.

    Makes me wonder with what other myths are people walking around, believing them wholly and convinced as the way it is, whereas that is not at all the case–in fact, it’s usually the exact opposite, in reality. All sorts of things, I imagine…

  2. If you look at it as a supply and demand problem, there is a huge demand for the relief from distress, and a limited supply of remedies. So it is appealing to use a substitute like medications. It is like putting sawdust in bread when you don’t have enough flour. The question is why we don’t have enough flour?

  3. Tim

    You are a very good writer, and while using the Santa Claus analogy you have created a very damning exposure of the “chemical imbalance theory” and of those that propagate this Biological Psychiatry myth.

    I would love to label this an “excellent” blog and find ways to spread it far wide, but I CANNOT (and will not) do this for the following reasons: you continue to use the terms “medication,” “mental health”, and mental illness.” Please, please, please, justify for me why you should not rewrite this blog replacing “medication” with “psychiatric drugs” and why you should not place “mental health” and “mental illness” in quotations?

    Tim, You made the following statement:
    “Believing in, and propagating, the chemical imbalance untruth does matter. It matters for a whole lot of reasons. While the comparison between Santa Claus and the chemical imbalance narrative is instructive, it should not distract from the damage that is done by continuing to promote the manifestation of psychological distress as attributable to out of balance brain chemicals.”

    Every single argument you make in the above statement could also apply to the continued use of “medication,” and the use of “mental health” and “mental illness” without quotations. The overall harm done by these above terms is essentially NO LESS than the harm done by excepting and propagating the “chemical imbalance” theory for which you have correctly dissected.

    Medications treat cellular disease processes; mind altering psychiatric “drugs” alter human brain chemistry. Sometimes short term alterations may be helpful to some people (while overall harmful in the long term), but in no way does it change the scientific fact that they are essentially “drugs” not “medications.” And the terms “mental health” and “mental illness” are in their essence “Medical Model” terms that imply that out of the norm (or not so out of the norm) thoughts, emotions, and their resulting behaviors can somehow be declared “ill” and/or the more extreme term, “diseased.” Both the continued use of these terms, and especially the concepts they represent, harm millions of people and reinforce (on a daily basis) the existence of a very oppressive “mental health” System.

    The maturity of our current scientific and political understanding on the use of the terms “medication” vs “psychiatric drug” (and “mental illness” and “mental health”) is such that there is absolutely no longer (if there ever was) any rational reason to make harmful CONCESSIONS in our writings by accepting the continued use of these unscientific and politically backward terms. WE DENIGRATE, AND RENDER LESS PROFOUND, OUR ANALYSES BY CONTINUING TO MAKE THESE CONCESSIONS IN OUR USE OF TERMINOLOGY. THIS DAMAGE BEING DONE WILL NOT STOP HAPPENING UNTIL WE MAKE IT STOP HAPPENING!

    We are all better than this, and we all need to raise our standards of scientific and political critique to make greater strides in the movement against psychiatric abuse and to hasten the advance our historically necessary cause.

    Respectfully, Richard

      • Uprising

        I have made it very clearly known to MIA leadership what my disagreements are with the use of “mental health” in the new MIA tagline. I hope others do so as well.

        Based on a very limited response, I am led to believe that this new tagline may still be a work in progress and not yet firmly set in stone. I truly hope this is the case.

        As to Tim Carey’s use of Medical Model terminology. I would hope that he formulates his own views based on the very best that science currently provides us, and not based on what others find it necessary to concede to doing. If he is truly open minded and uses his critical thinking skills as ruthlessly as he did while exposing the “chemical imbalance theory,” then he should come to see the importance of challenging the use of the term “medications” for psychiatric drugs and using “mental health” and “mental illness” without quotations.

        Thanks for your positive feedback.

        Richard

        • Hi Richard,

          Unfortunately, what science has to offer isn’t that great! Psychiatry is not a empirical science, however much psychiatry and big pharma dress it up to be. Robert Whitaker’s books certainly highlight the points in regard to ghost-written research studies, data being left out of research findings, etc… Having been a mental health nurse for more than I care to remember in several countries around the globe, my qualitative understanding of human distress doesn’t necessarily require the level of control that many mental health system users around the world offer, does it? Yes, challenging the terms that you describe is important, yet it doesn’t happen overnight and takes a movement, not an individual.

          Regards, Nick.

        • Hi Richard,
          How can I contact whomever chose/implemented these site format changes? The comment flow is totally confusing, and the tagline off-putting, and I find myself not accessing the site nearly as often as I used to, and I’d like to provide that feedback. Guidance please?

          • Hi LavenderSage. Feedback about the site can be directed to our operations manager Chris Page. You can get in touch with him via our contact page: https://www.madinamerica.com/contact-us/

            As for the tagline, we’ve received a lot of feedback about this and will be changing it within the next few days. We’re open to community input if anyone has suggestions about what might be more fitting.

        • There appear to be a couple of very angry old men on here.

          A little ageism in the mix, that’s always fun.

          Nick, if you have specific objections to a particular line of reasoning you should articulate them. Right now this author is simply blowing off challenges to his world view, so maybe you can help him dig out of this.

          • Individuals who express an opinion other than yours or mine, are entitled to do so, even if we don’t agree. The author has a right to “blow off challenges to his world view”, just as you do. Its the way in which you articulate those views that appears to express your anger. Whether that is accurate or not, as well as my assertion that Richard and yourself are angry old men, is merely a suggestion of my take on your responses. I enjoyed reading Tim’s article, and I am sure that he is proud of his work, as you probably are of your work, or Richard is of his work. Getting into conflict because Tim chose to use quotations is rather petty and doesn’t persuade me to agree with you. I am more persuaded by Tim’s argument.

            “Regards”, Nick.

          • Nickfitz

            I proudly plead guilty to both charges. I have no control over my age nor do you. And maybe if you post more here at MIA other readers will eventually be able to determine whose ideas (including yours) are actual “young,” that is, innovative and creative enough to contribute towards transforming the world into a less oppressive place to live.

            And yes, I am angry because I live in a world filled with trauma and multiple kinds of oppression, and I cannot, and will not ignore it.

            Are you NOT angry? If you are NOT angry then you are not alive with both your eyes and heart wide open.

            There is nothing wrong with anger (in fact we need more anger not less in this world) it is what we do with it, or how we express or channel the anger that is so important in making positive change.

            Now having said that, I will ask you the same question that I asked Tim (which he repeatedly refused to answer), what words or phrases did I write in ANY of my comments that were disrespectful or represented out of control anger or any other negative label (such as Tim used) that you might wish to give them, OR deserved your very flip and sarcastic remark about anger and age???

            Richard

          • Reply to Nick (and yes this format is frustrating as LavenderSage said):

            Yes, he has the “right” to remain completely silent except when people are telling him how great he is. But that’s not what discourse is supposed to be about.

            The argument is not simply about his not using quotations; this is just an expression of his obvious acceptance of the medical model. But he refuses to respond to any of the very basic criticisms Richard makes about this except in an arrogant and dismissive way. He has no standing intellectually or morally to do this, as Richard has demonstrated his integrity repeatedly and Carey has not.

            It is no more Carey’s “right” to call people “mentally ill” than it is your or my right to call someone a [insert racial slur here]. And calling mind-numbing drugs “medications” when there is no disease is not only inaccurate but oppressive. It’s chilling to know this guy “treats” people.

            I actually liked the thrust of the article btw, and was about to send it around when I noticed the attitude he was taking towards Richard’s very basic and obvious criticisms. When he began responding even more dismissively and insultingly, the issue changed from enjoying some entertaining (though certainly not unique) observations on the chemical imbalance hoax to defending the anti-psychiatry movement against some loaded and self-serving put-downs by a “mental health” worker. Yeah, that makes me angry. Got a problem with that?

            Also I just realized you are not a psychiatrized person yourself, so I don’t expect you to grasp this, but you could try.

  4. Tim,

    A great article that has been well written and shows how much of the chemical imbalance narrative is actually a joke. I’ve just been reading an article by Robles and colleagues (2016) that argues against the inclusion of transgender into the next ICD-11 as a classified mental disorder. It amazes me that the World Health Organization that promotes social inclusion and destigmatization, actually promotes an individuals expression of “being” as a mental disorder. Sufficed to say, the APA already have a ready-made classification in the DSM-V, so no surprises there! Again, a great post that I enjoyed immensely so close to christmas. A real christmas tale!!

    Regards, Nick.

  5. They are both justified as “Noble Lies”? The difference being that only one results in brain damage and cycles of addiction and withdrawal symptoms that get labelled as illness and disease, which results in cycles of addiction and withdrawal symptoms that ….. oh you get the picture.

    Satan’s Goat is certainly in Town, and pretending to be a Doctor lol.

  6. In July of 2015. it was discovered that I got type 2 diabetes, By the end of the July month. I was given a prescription for the Metformin, I stated with the ADA diet and followed it completely for several weeks but was unable to get my blood sugar below 140, Without results whatever I did, I really panicked and called my doctor. His response?? Deal with it yourself, I started to feel that something wasn’t right and do my own research, Then I found Lisa’s great blog (google ” HOW I FREED MYSELF FROM THE DIABETES ” ) .. I read it from cover to cover and I started with the diet and by the next morning. my blood sugar was 100, Since then. I get a fasting reading between the mid 70s and 80s, My doctor was very surprised at the results that. the next week. he took me off the Metformin drug, I lost 35 pounds in my two month and lost more than 8 inches off my own waist as well as I can exercise twice per day and still having a lot of energy.The truth is that we can get off the drugs and help myself by trying natural methods..

    • Elaine, congratulations on your success but unfortunately, the site you have suggested is nothing but an infomercial.

      As an alternative, I would suggest people google ketogenic or high fat, low carb diet in which there is plenty of free information. Many people have had great success using this diet to get the same results as you did.

      I would also suggest that people go to https://lowcarbrn.wordpress.com/ to educate yourself on the issues of metabolic problems and why this type of diet works very well for alot of people.

      Do agree that ADA diet is a disaster. They remind me of psychiatry because of their continuing to push high carb diets that are destroying diabetics’ health. Their attitude is it can be covered my medications which makes it all the more disgusting.

  7. I’m thinking now that “chemical imbalance” is a cover-up to avoid the real imbalance which causes distress–social imbalance. Society blames certain individuals and most individuals blame society. Problem is, we’re all connected. The biggest myth in life is that we are separate from each other.

    I think the majority of the people on the planet recognize by now that we are, indeed, unified by one all-that-is energy field/consciousness. There is quite a bit of study and research about this with fascinating results, it has gone way beyond “philosophical” and “new agey.” And it’s a Godsend of wisdom, because it is a radical shift in perspective from how the mainstream operates, in duality, which is what creates othering and marginalization, like the scarlet letter, leading to grave social injustice, oppression, and a lot of suffering, without a doubt.

    So do individuals create society or does society create its members? What is the dominant factor in our development as human beings? How can harmony and clarity come from all this social chaos? Harmony is easier on the ears, and on the body and mind in general, than are discord and cacophony. That’s what is stressful. And when it is chronic, it is dangerous to our health and well-being.

    • Thanks, “Alex”! I like what you wrote, so let me add: (This comes from my readings in Mahayana Buddhism – that Dalai Lama guy!) Dualism exists, and we CAN reconcile it peacefully. Strong healthy people create strong healthy societies. Strong healthy societies create strong healthy persons. It works BOTH ways, it is NOT “one way or the other” – it is BOTH/AND. Sometimes, we influence society, and sometimes, it influences us. We need to find, and CREATE, and PERPETUATE, peace in BOTH ourselves, AND society. I always enjoy your comments here. Thnx again! ~B./

  8. Even on wikipedia BIOLOGICAL PSYCHIATRY is pseudo science,
    dealing with serotonin imbalance hypothesis-is proposed explain
    for phenomenon named depression.There is also this dopamine
    and glutamat hypothesis-proposed explain for really infamous
    phenomenon named Schizophrenia.

    Biological psychiatry and chemical imbalance are fraud and myth.
    Science treat my crazy kind,like their lives are phenomenon.This
    isn’t only psychiatry+ big pharma madeup.You are all to focused
    on both of them,but other parts of medecine and science are very
    connected in this dirty fraud.Existence mentality or mental illness is
    completly against biology and evolution.Also psychology was once
    based on brains-mind connection.Now is on brains-mentality lie.
    Simple is to make conclusion,that psychology do this in support
    of Mental Health system and in support and for existence of fictional
    mental illness.Some can also say,that psychology architect Mental
    Health system.At least many psychologists act as pharmacy gurues.

    Sorry for my bad english and to Author good post,but we all really need
    wider display of phenomenon named mental illness.

  9. It’s a shame that in the process of process of debunking the chemical imbalance myth this author feels the need to respond to very basic criticisms of his use of medical model labels in such a defensive and hostile/passive-aggressive manner. In the process he basically disses the anti-psychiatry movement and its analyses of the medical model, especially when Richard Lewis politely points out Mr. Carey’s oppressive use of labeling terminology. To this he basically responds that he’ll use whatever terms he chooses, no matter how offensive or inaccurate. This attitude diminishes the value of this article, as it is clear that the writer is interested only in promoting his own ideas, regardless of their validity.

    • ….even acknowledging a supposed “anti-psychiatry movement” give the pseudoscience of psychiatry more credibility than it deserves….it’s a form of “false flag” argument….
      So-called “mental illnesses” have no OBJECTIBVE reality, only subjective….
      They are exactly as “real” as presents from Santa Claus are “real”….
      Check my comment history here….
      I’ve been posting that for many, many months now….

  10. Tim

    Oh, so now you want to bale out on this discussion without addressing ANY of my criticisms of the way you mischaracterized my responses to your using highly charged words (like “authoritarian,” “dogmatic”, and “single-minded”) to describe both my ideas and the way I conduct political discourse at MIA, and even implying that this might be how I would treat a client of mine.

    And then you have to throw in the zinger at the end that you have better use for your time then to engage in dialogue with the likes of someone like me.

    I will repeat a previous question I raised in a prior comment: “I believe that I have conducted this discussion in a very respectful and non-authoritarian way. Please tell me one word or phrase I used in any of my comments that deserves to be characterized negatively in the way you have…”

    If you can explain to me where I somehow became disrespectful or “authoritarian” I will seriously listen, for I do NOT want to EVER become like that. And in the spirit of “criticism/self-criticism,” I would hope you would be also be open to taking another look at your defensive responses in several of your comments where you directed negative labels towards me without foundation.

    I spent a great deal of effort engaging in very respectful and principled dialogue with you explaining in great detail why I could not rate your blog as “excellent” and where I thought there were significant enough inconsistencies in some of your arguments that prevented me from wanting to spread widely your overall analysis.

    I liked many aspects of your blog and told you so, and even resorted to a kind of begging by saying “please, please, please” justify why you shouldn’t make some changes in the content related to three key points so as to improve its overall political impact. I sincerely wanted this blog to become better and a more useful tool in the struggle against Biological Psychiatry.

    Tim, I take my reputation at MIA, reflected both in the content of my more than a dozen blogs, and also regarding the way I conduct dialogue within the comment section, very seriously. If you choose to disengage at this time, after making comments that I believe denigrate my reputation with no willingness to substantiate the use of your negative labels, I will have lost all respect at this time for your participation here. Please reconsider this, for this doe not and should not end like this.

    Respectfully, Richard

  11. Tim

    Ok, you have finally exhausted me since you choose not to directly respond to any of the questions I have asked you to defend, especially those in which you used negative labels to describe me and my methods of political discourse.

    I must point out (once again) that in the context of this entire discussion the use of quotations for key terminology is not a minor or trivial matter as you have recently implied in your last few comments. These involve hugely important and highly contested issues that will surely be discussed and debated for years to come.

    And as for my comment about your “zinger” regarding having better things to do than dialogue with me, this was in response to your joint response to Oldhead and myself where you stated the following:
    “Hi Richard and Oldhead,
    I’ll have to bow out of this one. If there are things that are useful in this discussion you then that’s terrific. It’s gone way past being productive or useful for me.”

    Tim, I clearly get the message that you believe you could learn nothing of importance by dialoguing with me. I guess I wasted my time with you, but I do hope others were listening.

    And you should be more careful about attributing a quote to me, involving the use of the phrase “totally clueless,” which, in fact, was made by Oldhead.

    And if you would carefully read all the comments here, you would know that I was not hesitant to criticize Oldhead twice for using this arrogant phrase, which I believe was NOT helpful in promoting positive dialogue in this discussion.

    And finally, your very last little diddy of a comment to me was quite passively arrogant. You said:”I really do hope you get the revolution you’re after.”

    Do you not see the arrogance dripping from this comment? As if the whole concept of “Revolution” is a personal matter aimed at pleasing someone’s individual agenda. And in this case (based on your prior comments about me), my supposed narrow and “dogmatic” approach to political change for which you declared without foundation or substance to back up the personal sleight.

    “Dare to struggle, Dare to Win” Richard

  12. Tim,
    WHAT!…No Santa….I’m shocked. A very cleverly written piece, I must say; you can only hope that a little Fiction Dust will fall over the Facts of the matter. You claim that a chemical imbalance in the brain is a myth. Here is an ‘inconvenient truth’ that you must address. Researchers have found that Children with ADHD, can be treated successfully with stimulant medication, which allows them to function at ‘near normal behavior’ levels. Here is how it works:

    Stimulants are Dopamine re-uptake inhibitors. Kids with ADHD have ‘lower than normal’ levels of dopamine in their brain. The re-uptake inhibitors work by interrupting the normal flow of dopamine in the neuronal synapse. Normally, unused dopamine flows back to the pre-synapse to be used again. The inhibitors block the pathway back to the pre-synapse and trap the dopamine in the neuronal cleft. The Child now has sufficient dopamine available throughout the effective period of the stimulant medication.
    Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) work basically the same way.

    Clinical Depression and Schizophrenia are conditions where the brain has ‘too much’ dopamine available. The treatment for these conditions is anti-psychotics. They work By blocking the dopamine receptor cells in the brain.

    So you see Tim, it is because of chemical imbalance in the brain that Big Pharma is making billions of $$$$$$. Fortunately there are many non-chemical ways to control Dopamine and serotonin levels. I do not advocate chemical intervention due to adverse
    Side effects. I have read about ADHD cases, so far out of control, that chemical Intervention was necessary just to regain control of the child. The goal, however, should Be a non-chemical treatment plan. Harvard Prof. John Ratey has written an excellent Book “SPARK”, that describes how to increase dopamine and serotonin levels through
    Exercise.

    Chet

  13. Since many regular medications are nothing more than symptoms suppressors, I personally am not going to be too critical of a writer for using the term, “psych medications” if this person agrees with a good portion of our issues. It seemed to me that Tim qualified on this basis but perhaps I am missing something.

    • AA

      You said:”… I personally am not going to be too critical of a writer for using the term, “psych medications” if this person agrees with a good portion of our issues. It seemed to me that Tim qualified on this basis but perhaps I am missing something.”

      I think the major point here is not whether or not the author “agrees with a good portion of our issues” but rather how does his writings influence the broader public? That is, how are we educating the masses about the critical difference between what has been advertised (with billion dollar PR campaigns over 4 decades) as “medications” but are, in fact, mind altering psychiatric drugs that overall cause great harm to people?

      Is it not vitally important to counter the Biological Psychiatry (Medical Model) narrative that these psych drugs “correct,” “fix,” and/or act as “magic bullets” targeting the brain’s “chemical imbalances?” What better way to do this than to completely dispel the myth that these drugs are, in fact, some type of “medication.” “Medications” that are promoted as allegedly curing brain “diseases?disorders.”

      In this situation language and terminology are critically important to advancing our movement by further educating the masses about the dangers of the Medical Model. Tim C’s critique of “chemical imbalances” was very good but he weakened his overall analysis by conceding to Biological Psychiatry the use of THEIR terminology (for which they spent billions to promote) in regards to “medication” vs. psych drugs and the use of “mental health” and “mental illness” without the necessary challenging use of quotations.

      Unfortunately, my attempts to make the above points have been met with derision and defensiveness from the author. This defensiveness led to him label me as “authoritarian,” “dogmatic,” and “single-minded.”
      Do you believe my analysis above is making valid points to be discussed here at MIA? And do you believe that his use of negative labels was an appropriate response to make in this important dialogue?

      Respectfully, Richard

      • Hi Richard,

        You said, “”I think the major point here is not whether or not the author “agrees with a good portion of our issues” but rather how does his writings influence the broader public? That is, how are we educating the masses about the critical difference between what has been advertised (with billion dollar PR campaigns over 4 decades) as “medications” but are, in fact, mind altering psychiatric drugs that overall cause great harm to people?””

        Why does this have to be an either or situation? In my opinion, whether you say psychiatric drugs or psychiatric medications, the issue is they cause great harm. That is what the focus on the message needs to be.

        And again, what about my point that most drugs are really symptom suppressors that can cause great harm to people. Are we going to insist that all medical specialties make the necessary distinction?

        You are right, Tim was defensive with you at some points. So thank you for pointing that out.

        Yup, your analysis of various points definitely needs to be discussed.

        • AA

          Thanks for the response;

          You said: “In my opinion, whether you say psychiatric drugs or psychiatric medications, the issue is they cause great harm. That is what the focus on the message needs to be.”

          The important aspect of this discussion is to look at the fact that medications are viewed in general as “healing agents” that cure diseases and/or treat cellular abnormalities. In this sense they are almost always viewed as very positive and necessary substances to put in your body.

          Big Pharma and Psychiatry colluded at the highest levels (for 4 decades), spending billions of dollars to convince hundreds of millions of people that their newly developed psychotropic drugs were in fact “medications” that heal
          psychiatric “diseases/disorders.”

          Unfortunately, the Psychiatric/Pharmaceutical/Industrial/Complex has been highly successful in their PR campaigns and have won over the broad masses to believe that psych drugs are , indeed, “medications.” That is, people now believe they are both safe and very “HELPFUL/HEALING” substances to put in their bodies. All this promotes the belief that these mind altering substances “cure” people’s “broken brains” and therefore can resolve all their psychological distress.

          Why should we continue to CONCEDE to Big Pharma/Psychiatry’s need to pass off these mind altering substances as “medications” and all that this word connotes to the general public? Why should we acquiesce to promoting a key aspect of the Biological Psychiatry narrative?

          Every time we use the word drugs instead of “medications” (and explain exactly why when necessary and when asked) we are undermining their efforts to promote their view of psych drugs as “magic bullets” healing damaged brains. Please reconsider and ponder the importance of how they use language and why we need to emphasize this as an important issue in our movement.

          AA, as to your point that psych drugs are in fact, “symptom suppressors.” I think we need to be careful here. When someone becomes depressed after their mother dies or becomes highly anxious after a sexual assault, should these human reactions be labeled as “symptoms.” This is a medical term that implies that the depression or anxiety are some type of “internally caused” problem in the person experiencing them. The oppressive Medical Model makes sure to convince people that these are as a form of “ill health” and/or a brain “abnormality.”

          We know that in these circumstances the person’s depression and anxiety are actually normal human reactions to abnormal conditions of life. We must oppose all attempts to pathologize these normal human responses and promote psych drugs as the solution by passing them off as “medications.”

          If anything, the use of the word “symptom” might more accurately apply to our using the analogy that we live in a “sick” and “diseased” society that produces enormous stressors and forms of trauma on a daily basis. In this context we are making it clear that people’s extreme psychological distress (that gets incorrectly labeled as “mental illness”) flows from people’s conflict with their environment, not from brain “abnormalities.” Unless we plan on developing further this type of analogy I think we should probably avoid the use of the commonly accepted medical term, “symptom.”

          AA, more food for thought, but in this case making sure we eat the “best” food makes an important difference to our overall nutrition. (if I can use a food analogy in this highly important scientific and political dialogue).

          Richard

      • Hi AA. The point is not just his defensiveness but his assaultive-ness (though they may be interrelated). It’s a shame because his valuable comments about the chemical imbalance myth are also under assault here by psychiatric drugging shills, and we should be addressing that as well.

        What Richard was pointing out side from the purely semantic considerations is the disempowering effect of falsely telling someone that they are taking a “medication,” which contributes to a self-image of being somehow diseased.

        Not sure about your other point — do you mean that physical conditions are sometimes treated with medications that don’t cure the actual problem? This is true but physical conditions are physical, not figures of speech.

        • Hi Oldhead,

          I will have to go back and reread the thread which I may not be able to do for a few days.

          Frankly, whether the term psych drug or psych med is used, it is still disempowering if someone is given the message they are diseased.

          By the way, I went back to the Surviving Antidepressants website to see if a particular term (drug vs. medication) is favored and they seem to be used interchangeably. I mean, when you are suffering horribly from withdrawals symptoms, I think it really doesn’t matter but that is my opinion.

          Yeah, my point is that physical conditions many times are treated with medications that don’t cure the problem.

        • AA:

          Frankly, whether the term psych drug or psych med is used, it is still disempowering if someone is given the message they are diseased.

          Absolutely, just like the term “mental illness.”

          I mean, when you are suffering horribly from withdrawals symptoms, I think it really doesn’t matter but that is my opinion.

          Exactly, but at that point it’s a little late — a situation that might have been prevented had those so suffering not been told they were taking “medications.”

          This is something the people at Surviving Antidepressants might want to consider, as calling these chemicals “medications” tends to encourage people to “stick with them,” don’t you think?

  14. Hello Tim,

    I seemed to have failed in getting my point over to you. I’ll try again. A person can have a dopamine level that is higher than normal (schizophrenia) or they can have dopamine levels that are lower than normal (ADHD). Dopamine is an organic chemical. Do you see a chemical imbalance in either of these statements? If you do, well…..

    I don’t believe that ADHD or any of its co-morbid problems are diseases or disorders. We judge children and label them by the behaviors they present. Take away the behavior, and you have a perfectly normal child. Some behaviors can be very helpful. Take for instanced, a cough, sneeze or Flatulence; they are not very nice, but necessary and can be therapeutic.

    I have stopped pulling down Railroad crossing gates and expecting a train to go by; it has helped my thinking process considerably. But every now and then……

    Tim, if you believe as I do that….We humans do and say thing because we
    Derive some benefit from that activity, either consciously or unconsciously, then we perhaps we may find some common ground.. If you don’t believe this, then I guess there will be no milk and cookies for you.

    Chet

  15. I was told at age 21 that I had a chemical imbalance because I was so anxious and depressed most of the time. So I began taking Lithium and went back to work.

    Over the years, I began to develop panic attacks, so I was put on benzos, in addition to the Lithium. I proceeded with work, then school, then work and then school again.

    After 20 years of this, my body started to break down, which is when I got off all the psych drugs, all 9 of them by this time. That was right after grad school, where I was training as MFT. The mess and chaos that followed is well told on this website, and elsewhere, it has become a common story. That’s when I discovered the extreme social ills of the mental health system, and how toxic, dangerous, and sabotaging to humanity this all was.

    I healed naturally, confronted every inner demon I could tag at the time, did some hardy neural shifting, and have had no more of these debilitating symptoms. Turns out it was bad family dynamics, in the first place, in which I could only play if I were drugged.

    Once I got off the drugs, healed, and gained perspective, my family became distant, they could not understand me. They seemed kind of angry at me, but would not disclose.

    I made a film talking about how I perceived what had happened and sent it to my family members. Discussions ensued and a lot of air was cleared.

    They still have a hard time understanding me, because I am now my own person, and I don’t carry their values or beliefs, but of course I love them, and we carry on long-distance relationships just fine. One sibling is actually taking my example of healing and personal growth, she got it. Finally, they were able to celebrate my turnaround, but at first it really threatened and confused them, because I had so much gone against their grain in order to find my healing.

    And mostly, they were somewhat disoriented because I spoke my truth about family abuse. This was hard for them, understandably, but it was vital in order for me or anyone to heal. At least, I was giving them the opportunity to look at themselves, as I had been doing with myself for all those years. I was fortunate, in that the family healing took. I had to break the family system several times, which was extremely challenging on many levels.

    So we’re all clear on this now, and everyone is in present time. I’ve gotten on with my life and am well-settled in it now, moving forward daily and creating quite a bit. I’m also feeling healthier and more grounded than ever.

    I haven’t taken psych drugs in 14 years. If my chemicals had been out of whack, it was because my environment was chaotic. That is natural, and I believe that’s how it works. But I wasn’t born with it, I inherited it from my environment, without a doubt.

    The drugs exacerbated internal imbalance, and caused more symptoms to appear, for which more drugs were needed. That led to a disabling crash. It was slow and insidious, took 20 years to catch up with me. Coming off of them allowed me to heal and put myself and my life back together.

    Couldn’t be more black & white, and that is exactly what happened.

  16. Hi Tim,

    Normal dopamine and serotonin level charts are readily available. They are based on age and gender. I thought the Advert. below was informational.

    Ad. in a Psyc. Mag.

    Determine Natural Serotonin Levels with a Serotonin Test
    Testing for low serotonin levels is available and helpful in determining an appropriate treatment. Neurotransmitter tests can now provide precise information on deficiencies or overloads in key neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. A serotonin test can measure serotonin levels to determine if a serotonin imbalance is present.

    Chet

  17. Chet
    An ‘informational ad’???….if these tests are available, and the parameters are known for what is considered *normal* for these neurotransmitters, then surely we can figure out what dosages are needed for a cure for an individual’s ‘chemical imbalance’. But that never happens. Look at disability rates for ‘mental illness’ in this country.
    Just like the myth that neuroscientists can test for a person’s genetic makeup (or *horrors*–test inutero) for schizophrenia, bipolar, ADHD etc., right?

    Follow the money.

  18. I take serious issue with your suggestion that Santa Claus is as mythical as the theory that mental illnesses are caused by chemical imbalances. Not only is Santa Claus real (i.e. 4th century Bishop of Myra), but the bio-medical model of psychiatry is based on two heresies condemned by two Catholic Ecumenical Councils. As such, Catholic bishops are within their right to ban practices based on these pseudo-scientific theories from any Catholic hospitals.

    Thank you for being the catalyst for the blog post I wrote this night, which makes reference to this one on Mad in America:
    http://sophiaidios.blogspot.ca/2016/10/what-do-santa-claus-and-chemical.html

  19. One of the tragedies in this chemical imbalance myth is that it has become so pervasive in society. I have yet to read all posts so far (119 at my writing this and I look forward to reading these.) However, in reference to my introductory sentence, the pervasiveness is so great I can hardly pick up a magazine at the grocery store, especially those considered “women’s magazines” where sandwiched in the pages of what to wear, and how to feed your children, is some story of how a women or several women were “saved” by some sort of ant-depressant or even anti-anxiety medication. The woman allegedly was diagnosed with depression, bi-polar disorder or some sort of anxiety. And, after taking these medications, their “chemical imbalances: have been corrected and life is well, “jolly.” As a victim of such myths, I just get almost sick to my stomach. I would like to write to the magazine and tell them of my experiences, but, as of his date, I would probably not be believed and my letter would not be published, probably considered as “heresy” However, I am confident that soon my and other victims stories will come forward, just as stories that have remained hidden on other peoples’ issues had remained hidden. I will say one thing, as far as the myth of Santa Claus in contrast to the myth of chemical imbalance. I was never hurt by the myth of Santa Claus, as opposed to the myth of chemical imbalance which made me into a zombie without a self, personality, or soul, took my talents and gifts, and almost killed me. There is hope and joy in the myth of Santa Claus. There is only pain and death in the myth of chemical imbalance. But, now, I can say I have been saved from this myth and as the Late Nancy Reagan told us in the 1980s to say no to drugs. I say no to these drugs and basically all drugs, recovering my true whole self back, and I live quite happily despite it all!

    • Yes, Rebel, there is a Santa Claus… and it’s actually the chemical imbalance myth that is a “heresy.” Not only that, Santa’s been known to punch a heretic in the face. Persons such as yourself would be a bit safer if modern day bishops took such as stance as the famous Bishop of Myra now commonly known as Santa Claus.

  20. I can definitely tell that this is something very important to all of us or otherwise there would not be all these comments with a great deal of “emotions” involved. To the person who stated that “jack daniels” is a drug. I think, if I remember correctly it was classified at one time as a drug; that is “alcohol as we drink it, cook with it, etc.” If it were not a drug, would we not have alcohol addiction, “AA”, and an age limit for legal purchase. In my personal experience, it can only be a “drug” as in the end, I had similar reactions to both the incredible amount of “psychiatric drugs” coerced into my system and “alcohol.” I almost died from both! I do think we can get really tied up in words used, how words are used, and other such terminology. As a psychiatric survivor, three things are important to me. 1) Yes, there is “bad science” but that is the history of all studies dealing with the brain, intelligence, etc of a person. This bad science is shifting into traditional medical science also. 2.) Each person has a unique and important story to tell. It is in listening to these stories that we achieve “good science.” 3.) Perhaps, it is not our terminology that is important, but our desire to eradicate this system that causes so much horrific, terrorist suffering. I believe that science, as we have known it, particularly in the modern age, as applied to humans and humanity can only be bad science and cause suffering. Sadly, all science forgets that each one of us is a unique being. We say, such and such, is useless because it can not be replicated. Only when we do become robots, “replicants” “borg’ or some such non-human humanoid could these experiments be replicated. It is time we give up looking to science to solve our ills and return to ourselves as the beautiful works of art we are. Please leave science to the climate and the rocks until it is time for them to speak up. Thank you.

    • Hi there, you totally didn’t get my “Jack Daniels” reference. Specifically:

      If Jack Daniels is medication to you then fine, at least that would be consistent. But something makes me doubt you’d make that leap.

      The point being that if Carey considers psychiatric mind-numbing chemicals “medications,” he must likewise consider JD the be the same, as they serve the same function.

      All psychiatry is bad science btw. Also:

      Perhaps, it is not our terminology that is important, but our desire to eradicate this system that causes so much horrific, terrorist suffering.

      Desire only gets you so far. Without naming the system for what it is, and deconstructing the lies upon which it is built, a winning strategy based on an accurate analysis of the problem is impossible. When people accept that the poisons they are taking are “medications” they are more likely to be “compliant.”

      • I was actually trying to make the comment that through my own personal experience; “Jack Daniels” and the like, and the “psychiatric drugs” are in many ways alike. They are both horribly addictive, cause a person to act in dangerous and zombie-like ways, both take away your “personhood”, both metabolize through the liver, both are sanctioned by society and are very dangerous to society in that they cause both economic, social, physical, and personal damage. From my personal experience, I had the same physical, mental and emotional “feelings” when I finally stopped them. However, also from personal experience, the withdrawal and detox from the “psychiatric drugs” takes longer to accomplish and seems to have more horrific symptoms that one must encounter. As far as terminology, I do respect what you say. Yes, sometimes, we do use certain words to make something that is actually not good for a person to be good for you. This is a common practice in medicine and is used to the detriment of the person in “psychiatry.” Let’s be blunt, psychiatrists and their (and I borrow a term used a lot in politics these days) “surrogates” are just “drug pushers” sanctioned by society and its institutions. I see the same behavior in them that they use to advertise on television to keep the Kids off the drugs. Just like the “illegal drug pusher” they say, Come, take this. It will be all right…” Perhaps, it would be to the benefit of those of us who are psychiatric survivors to be truly blunt about the terminology and as my parents would say, “not mince any words.” If anything, our terminology, if we could agree upon it, should emphasize the danger not only to individuals, but to society and the country as a whole. Thank you.

          • Yes, You are right. Abilify and the others that seem to almost come out every month or so with such Madison Ave. promises. Cigarette ads came off the television because the Surgeon General of the United States was worried that such ads would promote cigarettes to children. And of course there were the cancer fears for all age groups.
            We have had further “studies” that show second-hand smoke also contributes to cancer; thus, even in many tobacco producing states, as in other states, you can not smoke hardly anywhere outside your home or car. Cigarette smoke causes an allergic reaction in me, so I do not complain. When I see the “drug ” ads on tv, I almost want to throw my sneakers at the tv; but neither the sneakers nor my tv need that kind of abuse. What we need very much is someone with the status of a Surgeon General to speak for us; to advocate for us; to be on our side. Who in the psychiatric/medical profession is so righteous and ethical they can give up greed and money to help save the world? Somewhere, sometime soon, I pray, there well be someone well respected who can be our spokesperson? Thank you.

  21. Hello again Tim,

    I detected, by your last post to me, that you are ready to end our discourse And I agree, for all the same reasons. I wanted you to know that the AdvertisementThat I cited, was purposeful. In your previous post to me, you seemed almost Startled when I mentioned that there are charts that indicate the normal levels of dopamine and serotonin in the brain. Purpose – to show you that these tests for neurotransmitter imbalance, are so common that they often show up in Scientific Magazines. You also expressed concern that serotonin was found in other parts of The body (by the way, so is dopamine in the PNS to control BP) and that some peopleAre bigger than others and would naturally have more dopamine and serotonin.

    Here is how it works: Dopamine is a catecholamine. There is a blood test and a Urine
    Test for dopamine. The Urine test is the most accurate when preparation guidelines Are followed. The test is called : Homovanillic Acid (HVA) 24 Hour, Urine Test.

    The test can be useful in screening children for catecholamine-secreting tumors, monitoring for neuroblastoma treatment and for screening patients for internally caused Catecholamine metabolism (dopamine sufficiency or deficiency).

    As mentioned before, the test is age and gender sensitive and covers ages, less than a Year to adulthood.
    A sample Reference Value would be: ages 5-9 years: less than 15.0 mg/g creatinine

    Serotonin levels are determined by a 5-HT Level Blood Test. I will not go into it.

    Reference: Mayo Medical Laboratories.

    Tim, a question of mine and hopefully yours is; Why have ‘normal levels’ of neurotransmitters been established, if your contention is that: A Chemical Imbalance In The Brain is a Myth, ie never change?

    I conclude that ‘A Chemical Imbalance In the Brain is a Myth’, is a myth.
    We both know that “Two Myths Do Not Make A Truth”.

    Best of luck and Merry Christmas

    Chet

  22. Yes, Self Control is a big problem in the twenty-first century, especially in America, but other places see it, too, especially the Western World. Usually, it is the emotion of anger in relation to Self Control that is the problem. Anger is the emotion that usually can lead to aggression and violence, which are endemic problems in our world. Anger is not the only emotion that can lead to aggression and violence; but, unlike other emotions, anger can beget anger. It is contagious, especially in group situations. There are many causes to anger. I do think these horrible psychiatric drugs can be a real and definite dangerous cause!

    Yet, in the area of Self Control and there are so many people and situations that lead us into anger; even the “best of us.” But, it is to our betterment, that we maintain Self-Control. Believe it or not, one of the very best ways to maintain self control, especially if not “drugged” is to think of Louisa May Alcott’s Book, Little Women, a childhood favorite of mine, hopefully others. I know this is “old fashioned” but very simple. Marmee, the mother character, told Jo, probably based on Miss Alcott, who at times had problems with teenage anger, Just wait, and count to ten before you speak. I think she wanted all her girls to remember that. Now, that I am no longer drugged, I try to remember that. Perhaps, it is something more of us should think about and maybe even teach our children. Wait, before speaking and/or acting and count to ten. Thank you.

      • Yes, anger is a valuable emotion when appropriately channeled. All emotions are valuable. I say that anger is an anger is an emotion that can usually lead to aggression and violence; because it does, at least in present day America. I say “usually can” because there are times anger can be channeled for good. The problem is that in our “society” we do not teach people how to channel their anger for any good. We look at anger as bad. You are not allowed to be angry at someone or something. Since, you are not allowed this emotion, it starts to spin out of control and sometime horrible things do happen. However, since neither party knows how to deal with the anger, one party may assert the angry person needs drugs or counseling or both or gets locked up. In our society, we are so afraid of our anger, we do suppress it with alcohol, drugs, food, tv, etc. Any models of anger, being used for good, are minimized or deleted from our “story.” What happens to anger? It turns into bullying, racism, bigotry, sexism, sexual violence, etc. The list goes on and on. What we need to do is relearn how to appropriately channel the anger and all emotions; because within the fear of anger is the fear of all emotions. And from this fear springs the extremely maladjusted and greedy industry of “psychiatry” and “their treatments” including drugs, electroshock, clubhouses, fake therapy, fake hospitals, psychosocial and vocational rehabilitation, etc. Thank you.

        • You are correct, “rebel” – anger *USUALLY*CAN* lead to violence, or worse….
          One “worse”, is that persons labelled as “mentally ill”, are not allowed to express their legitimate anger without risk of medical incarceration, or forced drugging….
          When a person who is NOT labelled as having a so-called “mental illness”, THEIR anger is quickly validated, then ignored and forgotten….
          Just one more example of how the pseudoscience LIES of the drug racket known as psychiatry have done – and continue to do – FAR MORE HARM than good….
          Psych drugs often cause unprovoked anger in persons, due to their harmful effect on the limbic system….
          I understand exactly what you’re saying here….

  23. I am so happy that my reference to Little Women brought back “fond memories.” I am very impressed that a man would enjoy the first and greatest “chick” and sister book ever! Louisa May Alcott had so much to say about the relationship amongst sisters and women. She also had a lot to say about the potential of women and their unique identities. Almost every woman who has read the book identifies with at least one of the sisters or perhaps Marmee, the Mother. I am glad it not only speaks to women, but to men. Louisa May Alcott, I am sure, would be happy in that thought. Too many times, we divide the world into male and female. Perhaps, it is time we stop dividing the world and start uniting the world with the wonderful knowledge of the immense diversity of our “uniqueness.” I think this is why the book is a classic and stands the test of time. Each of the sisters is unique with her own personality and talents and come together in love for a better world for the whole family and their neighbors. Thank you.

  24. Great article. Slowly but surely, people are waking up to the fact that mental illness is not because of chemical imbalances. There are a number of underlying factors to consider, and simply pegging depression for example as a deficiency of serotonin is nonsensical.

    Thyroid problems are something that need to be looked at as well. A lot of conventional practitioners don’t recognize that underactive thyroid can contribute to a number of psychiatric problems. Fixing my thyroid really helped me overcome my depression, and hopefully more people become aware of this. These steps really helped me with my thyroid: http://www.optimallivingdynamics.com/blog/13-ways-to-support-your-thyroid-for-better-mental-health-brain-increase-improve-boost-hormone-t3-t4-hashimotos-autoimmune-depression-anxiety-hypothyroidism-hyperthyroidism-underactive-low-naturally-supplements-mood-disorders-schizophrenia-psychosis

  25. I honestly think that one of the problems in our culture/society is that we rely on some sort of “outside authority” with the answers or the solution to our problems. It is not that we don’t learn from others, from books, the internet, nature, etc. It is just that we forget to ask ourselves the important question, “Is this true for me?” This is not a selfish, “me-generation” or a question of “narcissism.” This is a question of realizing that we are each of one of us unique beings, even “genetically” separate from our parents or other family members. I, personally, have a faith focus to my life, so I do not rely only on myself, but on my personal interpretation of God. In my Mind, God is the “Boss”, but yet we work together realizing there is no outside “human authority” that can decide for me what is best for me. I do not expect everyone to share my belief system. This would definitely cancel out my belief in the “authority” (for lack of a better word) of each unique being, each one of us. Even as much as our interpretation of God, our beliefs about Him, etc are totally contingent on my uniqueness. No one on Earth can share my unique belief system. This, I believe, is important and releases from the falsehood that “the Doctor always knows best.” He or she is most probably speaking a distinct language from you, that even if it is English, it is as foreign as any other foreign language. I also sincerely believe that when we can really learn to honor ourselves and who we are, then and only then will we truly make a headway into solving the many conflicts of the world from local to international. Thank you for letting me express my opinion.

  26. I love not only the content of this article, but the very clever writing, comparing and contrasting the two myths.

    But I have a problem with this sentence that does not fit any of the other content, in my opinion:

    “Promoting explanations that are consistent with the way people are designed will lead to more effective treatments and less stigma and other adversity for those who are psychologically distressed.”

    What’s meant “by the way people are designed.” This is getting to sound clinical or even biological–the design part.

    Can you please explain?