As modern psychiatry grows larger and larger, it becomes hungrier and hungrier for more clients. Its formula is to invent fake ‘illnesses’ that everyone meets criteria for, and to lure people to seek fake ‘cures’ that really make them permanently ‘ill.’ But there is a more pervasive, ominous, and subtle way that U.S. adoption of the medical model has spread ‘mental illness’ and drug addiction.
The medical model’s myths have been deeply embedded in our culture for 30 years now. Today’s young parents have thus always been bombarded with lies about emotional/behavioral issues like ‘ADHD’ or ‘bipolar’ being genetic/chemical ‘brain diseases.’ For example, WebMD says: “There is no way to prevent ADHD.” Many parents thus think that child and adult problems are fated by one’s genes (hardwired), so it’s not their fault if their kids develop them. If kids’ troubles are not due to anything parents do or don’t do, then kids not having troubles isn’t due to anything parents do or don’t do, either. It implies parents can have little effect on how their kids turn out.
Thus, many parents likely think that the way they raise their kids, and the environmental impacts they expose them to, are less crucial than parents used to think in pre-medical-model days. If they undervalue the key roles of raising and exposing to stimulating/cultivating experiences, they will probably put less time and effort into these activities, or into being good role models. In fact, the main concern lately of my clients who plan to have kids is whether they’ll pass on their ‘mental illness genes’ to them. Their main worry used to be whether they had the tools needed to be good parents. They’ve been misled to believe that all you need to raise kids is add food and water and let nature do the rest. What kids truly need is to be civilized, nurtured, guided, taught, and stimulated.
To show how raising is more crucial than DNA in determining how kids turn out, consider all the vastly diverse culturally-learned behaviors around the world, and how kids learn the customs and habits of the society that raises them, no matter where they are from. There is also huge variation in learned behaviors within cultures over time — our habits have changed greatly in recent decades, during which our DNA changed little. Kids can flexibly learn infinite different abilities thanks to their brain’s trillions of synaptic connections, but simpler animals’ options are limited since they are mainly controlled by instincts. But unlike other animals, kids need upbringings since they’ll only learn what is instilled and cultivated by society. If not raised, they’ll remain in their original helpless, wild, unskilled state.
Since the medical model’s acceptance led to less societal focus on raising kids, kids probably are now less likely to mature. Persistent wildness (which we now call ‘ADHD’ or ’bipolar’) and drug abuse rates may thus be rising since: 1. Psychiatric ‘treatment’ (labeling, sedating, helicoptering, coddling, and reducing demands/discipline) of immature children doesn’t raise them — it impedes their maturation. 2. There is a growing pool of immature children to target for such ‘illification,’ whose upbringings were stifled by the medical model’s infestation of our whole culture. 3. Even if they’re never officially ‘illified,’ they still likely won’t fully mature due to their stifled raising.
Also, in health class, schools now often tell impressionable young children that vigorous activity, impulsivity, distractibility, moodiness and temper outbursts are ‘symptoms of brain illness’ rather than normal developmental stages that they can/must master. If kids learn from websites, WebMD says “People with depression often fail to realize or accept that there is a biological cause to their depressed mood. As a result,they search endlessly for external causes.” Many websites teach that ‘ADHD’ and ‘bipolar’ are genetic. The medical model is in the water kids drink! Implanting such lies so early in life may deter kids from trying to learn to cope with feelings constructively, focus their attention, or control their impulses. Their futures will be harmed even if their parents don’t accept psychiatry’s lies.
Teaching that genes cause ‘mental illness’ can itself cause ‘mental illness’ by deceiving kids into thinking it’s their fate to end up like their parents. For example, if their parents ‘have depression,’ kids may view their own normal sad feelings as signs of ‘inheriting it,’ especially if parents don’t ask why they’re sad but instead say: “It’s in our genes.” So instead of facing and resolving their issues, they’ll also seek ‘cures’ from MDs and get turned into eternally ‘ill’ clients. And kids who think they can’t avoid their ‘genetic fate’ won’t try to avoid repeating their parents’ errors: A boy whose father is a drug addict may see no use resisting urges to use, since “drug abuse isn’t a choice; it’s inherited.”
The ADHD scam has lasted for thirty years — that is enough time for a new generation of ‘illified’ parents to have arisen who will likely comply with psychiatry ‘raising’ their kids, as their parents did with them. Their insufficient upbringings interfered in their learning mature coping tools, so they can’t teach or model them to their kids anyway. So even if their children are never ‘illified,’ they still won’t be fully transformed from their innately helpless/uncivilized state into self-reliant mature, responsible adults. A self-perpetuating, ever-expanding, malignant cycle has thus begun.
The medical model’s cancer-like spread caused many adults to lose touch with their emotions — to forget that sadness is a normal response to unavoidable life struggles commonly experienced by everyone, such as disappointment or loss, rather than a genetic/chemical physical illness. This blocks people from being driven by their feelings to solve the problems that upset them, which is how our emotions help us. Thus, people who accept the medical model, even if not in ‘treatment,’ don’t productively identify, understand, and devise plans to address their upsetting issues, due to wrongly thinking that they have none and that they’re powerless to help themselves. They instead forever ‘battle depression or anxiety’ itself, to no avail. They have been set up for certain failure.
The medical model has poisoned our culture in many ways. In just thirty years in America, it has largely undone the huge adaptive potential that millions of years of brain evolution had provided. Psychiatry profits by parasitically creating an increasingly ‘ill’ society whose people are helpless and vulnerable to legal/illegal drug dealers. They’re either tricked into not using their resourceful capacities to handle life’s challenges, or never fully developed them since their upbringings were stifled. Psychiatry’s harms extend far beyond those people it ‘treats’ — they are undermining our society’s entire foundation.
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.