This week on MIA Radio we interview Dr. Jay Joseph. Dr. Joseph is a clinical psychologist and author who brings a critical perspective to claims in the media and the academic literature that disordered genes underlie psychiatric disorders.
His most recent books are The Trouble with Twin Studies: A Reassessment of Twin Research in the Social and Behavioral Sciences and the 2017 e-book Schizophrenia and Genetics: The End of an Illusion.
In this interview, we discuss the evidence that psychiatry puts forward in support of the claim that mental disorders have an important genetic basis and the reasons why psychiatry is still searching after many decades of failed attempts.
In the episode we discuss:
- How Dr. Joseph, as a clinical psychologist, came to be interested in the validity of the diagnosis of schizophrenia.
- How he then became interested in the assertions by psychiatry that diagnoses such as schizophrenia had a genetic basis.
- That he discovered that the evidence for genetic factors underlying major psychiatric disorders is very weak and based mainly on twin and adoption studies.
- That, despite decades of work, there have been few if any discoveries of disordered genes that cause the major psychiatric disorders.
- How twin and adoption studies are used to try and demonstrate the relationship between genetics and mental disorders.
- That people are being told that their mental illness is genetically based which is not supported by evidence and it is rather like the chemical imbalance myth in this regard.
- That a disorder or condition ‘running in the family’ means that it is ‘genetic’ is also a common misconception.
- That psychiatry seems to be focused on finding the ‘cause’ of mental disorders within the body, rather than acknowledging that social and environmental factors are the main causes of trauma, distress, and psychological dysfunction.
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