Understanding Psychology Through the Science of Complex Systems

Researchers use complex systems theory to trace how psychopathology emerges from different social and psychological interactions.

Micah Ingle, MA
34
1415

A recent special issue for the journal BMC Medicine explores a complexity or complex systems approach to understanding psychopathology. The issue was compiled and introduced by the psychologist Eiko I. Fried of Leiden University in the Netherlands and Harvard psychiatrist Donald Robinaugh.

Fried and Robinaugh introduce the issue, giving an overview of six articles focused on “complexity in mental health.” They summarize these contributions, exploring topics such as the complex interactions between childhood trauma and psychopathology, as well as the necessity of understanding the dynamic events of a person’s life to correct “disruptions” in supportive social systems. They write:

“Mental disorders arise from a host of components across biological, psychological, and social levels of analysis, intertwined in a web of complex interactions. To understand mental disorders, it is not sufficient to understand single components alone: we cannot hope to understand depression from studying only the amygdala any more than we can understand the weather by careful examination of water droplets.
We must go further and understand both the individual components and the complex interactions among them. That is, we should aim to understand the systems from which psychopathology emerges.”

As increasing criticism of psychiatry’s biomedical model surfaces, researchers and practitioners have refocused their attention on systemic factors contributing to human suffering. Sometimes called “social determinants of health,” these social, economic, and ecological factors work together in producing many of the afflictions that contemporary psychiatry and psychology aim to “treat.” Specific factors range from poverty, systemic racism, and social alienation linked to capitalism, immigration policies, and psychiatric coercion and oppression.

Many researchers, aiming to get a better handle on these social determinants, draw on a “cybernetics” or “complex systems” understanding of how many different variables come together in complex ways to shape phenomena.

The current editorial outlines some of the basic features of a “complex systems” approach to understanding psychopathology, emphasizing the fact that human suffering cannot be understood as resulting from a single underlying cause (such as neurochemistry).

The authors give an overview of six articles in the journal’s special edition, explaining how each contributes to an understanding of complexity in relation to psychopathology. They group the articles into two sections: “mental health and mental disorder as products of complex systems” and “psychological treatment from a complex systems perspective.”

From the first four articles on disorders as products of complex systems, Fried and Robinaugh outline several significant ideas.

McLaughlin et al. discuss disorders being the result of “multifactorial” processes, rather than single causes. This becomes complicated very quickly as different aspects of an individual’s life, and personality mediate things like childhood trauma: “accelerated biological aging, emotional processing, and social information processing” are all involved in whether childhood trauma leads to the symptoms associated with various psychopathological disorders.

This leads to the understanding that “the same trauma exposure can lead to a range of disorders.” These authors also focus on aspects related to development over time. They suggest that a “transdiagnostic” approach, which recognizes how dynamic people’s environments and their responses to those environments can be, is essential for interrupting the evolution of childhood trauma into psychopathology.

Ioannidis et al. explore the effects of “childhood maltreatment” in terms of both “bottom-up” and “top-down” influences. Examples of “bottom-up” forces here are genetic and endocrinological factors, while “top-down” influences are associated with social and psychological factors.

These variables interact in difficult-to-predict nonlinear ways to produce neurobiological effects, suggesting the need for concepts from complexity science that allow researchers and practitioners to map these complex relationships.

Fritz et al. explore the feedback loop effects of childhood adversity and resilience. They found, through network analysis, that “resilience factors” seem to weaken when children are exposed to adverse experiences. These resilience factors, such as family support and self-esteem, are complex systemic relationships that can be disrupted through the introduction of adverse and traumatic events. The authors provide an example of the kind of complex systems that can be disrupted by these events:

“family support → less distress → positive self-esteem → family cohesion → family support”

Fritz et al. propose transdiagnostic interventions that can “correct” these disruptions.

Franklin adds to the conversation by proposing what he calls “psychological primitives” at the root of these processes. He defines psychological primitives as the “building blocks” that make these processes possible, such as “core affect, exteroception, and conceptual knowledge.” He argues that, for example, suicidal thoughts can be understood as emerging from complex relationships between these phenomena.

The remaining two articles discuss treatment from a complex systems perspective. Hayes and Andrews give a basic orientation to concepts from complexity science. They discuss “attractor states,” “early warning signals,” and “network destabilization.”

“Attractor states” are the black holes or “gravity wells” in a system, toward which things gravitate. Disorders themselves can be understood as attractor states, in that the mental health system gravitates toward treating them (and not other forms of potentially pathological behavior).

“Early warning signals” are explained as early signs that there may be a shift in the system toward an alternative attractor state—for example, from resilience to trauma, in the case of the disruption of family support systems.

Relatedly, “network destabilization” describes the disruption of systems leading to alternative arrangements. Hayes and Andrews use examples from natural systems, such as how lakes transition in their structure, to explain these concepts.

Finally, Burger et al. propose using computational models to trace the complex relationships that inform a service user’s suffering. They argue that these models can serve as a “thinking tool” to aid in how practitioners understand case conceptualizations, which would also inform methods of treatment.

The authors conclude:

“In just a brief sampling from these articles, numerous systems are identified across time scales and levels of analysis, including neurobiological systems, systems composed of psychological primitives that give rise to momentary instances of psychological experience, transdiagnostic systems of risk and resilience factors that evolve throughout adolescence, systems of interacting symptoms that harden into syndromes over months, and social support systems that may evolve over years.
These systems overlap, interact, and are embedded within one another: it is systems all the way down. Just as studying one component is insufficient to understand the cause of a mental disorder, studying one system alone is also unlikely to be sufficient. Accordingly, the task of understanding the systems that give rise to mental disorders will be a challenging one.”

 

 

****

Fried, E. I., & Robinaugh, D. J. (2020). Systems all the way down: embracing complexity in mental health research. BMC Medicine, 18(205). (Link)

Previous articleMental Health Apps Rarely Evidence-Based
Next articleOverdose Deaths Soar Across Country Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
Micah Ingle, MA
MIA Research News Team: Micah Ingle is a doctoral student in Psychology: Consciousness and Society at the University of West Georgia. He has published on therapeutic approaches centering the person-in-context, as opposed to the individualizing medical model, and on the characteristics of people high in empathy. His current interests include the intersection of sociopolitical/economic structures and mental health, individualism in psychology, gender, liberation psychology, and mythopoetic perspectives inspired by Jungian thought.

34 COMMENTS

  1. “the task of understanding the systems that give rise to mental disorders will be a challenging one.”

    Exactly what “mental disorders” are they trying to understand? Since the psychiatric DSM “mental disorders” have already been debunked as “invalid.”

    https://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/directors/thomas-insel/blog/2013/transforming-diagnosis.shtml

    Possibly, at least in part, because those of us here have pointed out the iatrogenic – not “genetic” – etiology of the two “most serious” DSM disorders. The ADHD drugs and antidepressants can create the “bipolar” symptoms. And the antipsychotics/neuroleptics can create the negative symptoms of “schizophrenia,” via neuroleptic induced deficit syndrome, as well as the positive symptoms of “schizophrenia,” via anticholinergic toxidrome.

    So what “mental disorders” are they trying to understand?

    “exploring topics such as the complex interactions between childhood trauma and psychopathology?”

    I’d recommend taking an Occam’s Razor approach to such issues, prior to taking a “complex systems” approach. Since covering up child abuse is the primary actual societal function of both the psychological and psychiatric professions, and has been for likely over a century.

    https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2019/01/23/18820633.php?fbclid=IwAR2-cgZPcEvbz7yFqMuUwneIuaqGleGiOzackY4N2sPeVXolwmEga5iKxdo
    https://www.madinamerica.com/2016/04/heal-for-life/

    And all this “psychopathologizing”/misdiagnosing of child abuse survivors is by DSM design.

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/your-child-does-not-have-bipolar-disorder/201402/dsm-5-and-child-neglect-and-abuse-1

    Since NO “mental health” worker may EVER bill ANY insurance company for EVER helping ANY child abuse survivor EVER, unless they first misdiagnose them with one of the billable DSM disorders.

    And many of the pastors know that the job of psychology and psychiatry is covering up child abuse. They even have a name for these systemic child abuse covering up crimes of the psychologists and psychiatrists. They call it “the dirty little secret of the two original educated professions.”

    The reality is the “mental health” system is, by design, a child abuse covering up system. Understanding this not that complex, it’s just not something to which the psychologists and psychiatrists want to admit.

    But now that we all live in a “pedophile empire,” with pedophilia and child sex trafficking crimes running amok.

    https://www.amazon.com/Pedophilia-Empire-Chapter-Introduction-Disorder-ebook/dp/B0773QHGPT
    https://community.healthimpactnews.com/topic/4576/america-1-in-child-sex-trafficking-and-pedophilia-cps-and-foster-care-are-the-pipelines

    I do believe psychologists and psychiatrists need to step back, and reflect upon whether it was actually their goal to systemically aid, abet, and empower the pedophiles.

    Do we really want to live in a “pedophile empire,” where child sex traffickers are running amok? I know such a satanic world is very profitable for systemic child rape cover uppers.

    But if you have common sense, you would realize the child molesters should be being arrested instead. And all the “mental health” workers should to get out of the systemic child abuse covering up business as well.

    • Mental disorders mean suffering that occurs from consciousness. They are in the mind. That’s why psychiatrists think brain damage is a good treatment because to them the problem is the thinking self aware brain refusing to be “well adjusted” to society.

    • Thanks Micah,
      Now don’t you let them ensnare you with talk of pathology and black holes. Remember, they spend most of their education looking for terminology that might impress or bore the general public.

      “the task of understanding the systems that give rise to mental disorders will be a challenging one.”

      I would have been to embarrassed to say that. Especially while being the system. Privilege makes you say all kinds of garbage.

    • If society grants you the authority to diagnosis people as ill and drug them then you can. Society not only granted psychiatrists the authority to lock people up and force drugs on them, but also the authority to determine if their drugs are safe and effective. Like almost all defendants at a trial they said they were good. The best! Evidence based. Saving lives and making you safe. No chance people whose drugs were killing and torturing would admit it right? No chance people paid by a drug company could make a biased study on the companies drug.
      A major problem with this debate is society acts like the defendant is the best expert witness.

  2. “Fritz et al. propose transdiagnostic interventions that can “correct” these disruptions.”

    If interventions need to be “transdiagnostic,” then what is the point of having a diagnosis? Isn’t the whole point of a diagnosis to figure out what’s going on and what plan to make to address the cause? If a diagnosis doesn’t tell you how to intervene, it needs to be trashed! Which pretty much means the entire DSM.

    This whole set of ideas is ridiculously complex! A good scientific theory should make things easier to understand. It seems like a very complicated effort to “explain” the DSM “diagnoses” that really don’t merit explanation. There is no need to do intense gymnastics to try and make these false concepts “work.” Just admit they don’t, and start over, preferably by ditching the whole idea of “mental illness” and “psychopathology” for starters.

    • You mean maybe mental diagnosis are just a bunch of random traits people disliked and they don’t describe any cause or disorder at all? That would explain why many people’s diagnosis switches and why a lot of people could be labeled with multiple diagnosis. Assuming something that causes mental suffering and problems will result in similar presentations in everyone is bad science.

    • In this article they talk about people’s “mental disorders” but it might make more sense if they just talked about people’s mental and emotional troubles. Because Steve is right, if you are going to take a “transdiagnostic” approach, you don’t really need the idea of diagnosis. I think it makes more sense to try to understand the complex factors that might have pushed someone into some kind of trouble or other, and then also look at what might be changed to help them reverse some of the trouble and become less distressed. The diagnostic categories don’t much help with that, and often just confuse people or lead to discrimination.

      • That would be the advantage of a systems approach. Diagnosing individuals with “mental disease” is only meaningful if one assumes the problem is an individual problem and an isolated problem.

        But this all changes once we realize that depression is related to other health issues like toxicity rates and that those other health issues are related to the world around us such as old lead pipes in buildings, lead residue in the soil from old factories, and the toxic dump a politicians decided to locate in poor communities.

        Multiply that by thousands of environmental factors as part of numerous systems: political systems, economic systems, ecosystems, etc. Maybe we should learn from ecosystem science in particular, an entire field that is about the study of complex interrelationships. Rather than diagnosing individuals, we need to be diagnosing our entire society.

  3. For me, the central theme of this article has to do with complexity.
    My teacher makes this observation: “All complexity surrounding any subject or action is derived from a greater or lesser inability to confront.”
    If these people think that “mental health” is determined by a “complex system” then this confirms to me that they haven’t really LOOKED at the subject, and are covering their ignorance and inability to look with a lot of fancy words that have nothing to do with the truth.

  4. This is a great beginning. People can nitpick at it if they want and public debate is always needed, but there is no other way to move forward. It’s a simple fact that we are not only part of systems but inseparable from them. We are systems within systems. This is the future of healthcare for individuals and as public policy. Individual health is always public health.

    Oppression, disenfranchisement, social stress, interpersonal trauma, violence, economic inequality, poverty, prejudice, malnutrition, toxins, parasites, infectious diseases, etc. There are thousands upon thousands of factors that contribute to our physical and mental health or lack thereof. And none of these factors are merely personal. We need to stop thinking of ourselves as isolated individuals, a false and oppressive ideological realism.

    • I don’t need to nitpick with this approach to the problem; I need to warn strongly against it. It is based on understandings that are woefully incomplete. Following this line of reasoning will take us down the drain on the subject of “mental health.” Ignoring this approach might be the first step towards stepping away from the whole psychiatric system of thinking and acting.

        • This website specifically concerns itself with the issue of “mental health” and how psychiatry tried to make us believe they had the answers then failed us.

          I just don’t want people to get all starry-eyed about systems theory and functional medicine when it comes to totally replacing what psychiatry promised it could do then failed to do.

          Because I don’t see the spirit, and a proper understanding of the spirit, front and center in that work, and I think it needs to be to fully resolve the problems that psychiatry currently helps society sweep under the rug.

          When the functional medicine people think they have this thing licked and are ready to take over completely from the psychs, I’d be all for it. But even though they may include a “spiritual” component in their work, they claim to be “science-based” and so far, science doesn’t include spirit. And I think any approach will ultimately miss the mark, especially in the field of mental health, if it does not give sufficient attention to the problems of the spirit.

          • I’m talking about mental health. The fact of the matter is mental health is inseparable from physical health — not only health of the bran but also of the nervous system, immune system, metabolism, etc. And both mental and physical health are inseparable from environmental and public health. That has been the failure of much of mainstream healthcare, mental and otherwise. I’m obviously not arguing against the necessary criticisms when rightly targeted. There are those in this field who need to be held accountable — morally, legally, and politically. On that, we both agree.

            Yet if you look at the scientific literature, you’ll find thousands of studies, meta-analyses, case reports, etc linking mental health to many of these other factors: parasitism, toxicity, diet/nutrition, inequality, poverty, etc. So, there are many practitioners and researchers in the fields of psychiatry, psychology, and neurocognition who are concerned about such things, even if they don’t get the attention they deserve. The point being that it isn’t a failure of the entire field but merely the part of the field dominated by the pharmaceutical industry, which for obvious reasons gets most of the press from corporate media.

            Out of curiosity, I did a search on Mad In America and only found 13 results about diet/nutrition but none on parasitism or toxins, although there was quite a few results on poverty and inequality. Another website I’m familiar with is Psychology Today that regularly publish articles about these topics — they have hundreds of pieces on diet/nutrition, hundreds on poverty and inequality, a little over a hundred on toxicity, and about a hundred on parasitism. It is a well known and researched area, the link between mental, physical, and environmental health.

          • By the way, I am familiar with what this website is about. I’ve been following it for a few years. I occasionally comment, but probably not often enough for others to take much notice of me. This was one of the rare times when I felt like I had something to add.

          • I’m happy to see that you’re interested in these issues.

            I think a lot of readers of this website and forum would agree with you. However, I am aware of the importance of the spiritual factor which most still discount.

            But even though this article was all about some work being done to understand psychology better, that’s not totally the point of this site. Most people here are more interested in the problem of how we get psychiatry off our backs, not in all the new and interesting ways they could develop to extend their unwelcomed stay even longer.

            Now, I actually think that one way to kick psychiatry out of the picture is for us to understand psychology better. And yes, there are some people working in the field that don’t get the attention they deserve. But the first one I think of is Ian Stevenson, not the brain boys or the neurologists or the sociologists or the functionalists. So we’re on a different page as far as that goes, but I’m used to that. Just trying to repeat my basic message and hope it gets across. Psychology: study of the psyche – soul, spirit, you know?

    • To understand complex systems, we need better scientific literacy. Look at the society-wide effect from lead toxicty rates or parasite load. How is it that few people still don’t know about such basic scientific knowledge demonstrating the complexity of human society and health?

      Parasite stress theory indicates that parasites can even change personality and culture. Some parasites directly alter the brain, such as with toxoplasmosis. Parasite exposure is very much an external factor, depending on various environmental and societal conditions. Some places in the Deep South have parasite rates, not to mention poverty and mortality rates, similar or worse than many developing countries.

      Or consider the rat park research related to addiction where changes in social conditions changes behavior. Johann Hari writes about this and has another book showing the social factors behind depression. None of this is merely about the individual in isolation for we are social creatures part of social systems, not to mention political and economic systems and ecosystems.

      Another big factor I left out is epigenetics, which is influenced by environment, collective events, diet, etc. Epigenetics determines genetic expression and research shows that, in some cases, this can get passed on for at least several generations, such as with increased obesity rates of grandchildren following famine experienced before the grandparent had children. So, genetic expression that shapes who we are is inseparable from not only the environmental conditions we’ve experienced but also of what our parents, grandparents, etc have experienced.

      Research has even shown cultural carryover of social behaviors from historical events that happened many centuries before, such as increased xenophobia in villages that protected themselves during the Black Death by keeping out strangers. Also, consider how inequality remains high, even among whites, in places where slavery used to be concentrated. Talk about complexity! We need to teach systems thinking, as part of basic public education.

      • You can apply complex systems theory all you want to systems!
        A human being is not a “system!”
        A human being is a cause point that has a personality, plus a body, playing various games called “living” on a planet called “Earth.”
        If you can model that “system” with systems theory, then you might take the “science” to the point where you begin to discover some truths about the human personality and how it develops. But those truths have already been discovered. Psychology is playing stupid because a “non academic” beat them to it. That’s the only real complexity about this whole thing. They couldn’t see the truth if it were staring them in the face!
        And…Sorry about being over-emotional, but I’m tired of this. We have things to get done. We have people to heal and empower. We don’t need more “research.” We need deliberate action.

        I’m sure “systems theory” and the study of complex systems with all the latest mathematical models will contribute greatly to the proper handling of many issues faced by society. But it doesn’t understand Man yet, and as long as it uses a mechanistic amoral approach to the human condition, I won’t trust that research to provide insights that are truly meaningful.

        • What do you mean that the human is not a system? That is the problem with the conventional healthcare model. Every person and every aspect of a person is treaed as if in isolation.

          So, the individual goes to a doctor to treat their depression, another doctor to treat their psoriasis, and still another doctor to treat thei diabetes — as if the human body and mind aren’t part of the same system. Each doctor has their separate expertise and none is looking at how one thing is affecting another.

          That is precisely the dysfunction in our society that is harming so many people. A system simply means tha one thing relates to and affects another.

          When I was treated by psychiatrists and psychotherapists, no one bothered to test for nutritional deficiences, inflammatory markers, heavy metal toxins, etc. Nor did anyone discuss how my being in poverty in highly unequal and oppressive society might be contributing.

          The false assumption was that my depression was merely ‘psychological’ and ‘individual’. But my depression only went away when I stopped going to psychiatrists and psychotherapists, when instead I started to think about the larger context of what might be causing it.

          I identified the external factors I had control over and changed them to the best of my ability. That worked like magic, even though much remained outside of my control. Thinking of myself as connected to a larger world of systems made me feel not only less powerless but also less isolated and less frustrated.

          Many of the changes I made were relatively simple. But they were only possible to do once I took a systems approach, especially learning from doctors who use functional medicine.

          • I said, a human is not a “system.” I’m just emphasizing that there is an element of life that science has missed and that “systems theory” as you have described it will miss, too. It’s an important element when it comes to understanding “mental illness” and if we continue to neglect it, I don’t care how nuanced our approaches become, they will miss the mark because they are leaving something out that is fundamentally important.

            If systems theory included this element, it could include living things and humans in a way that would be much more beneficial. We know just from the ordinary English meanings of the words that individuals are parts of systems. So I’m just emphasizing that the “systems” concept in science (as far as I know) is missing an essential element that is preventing the simplification of our understanding of the human problem to the point where that understanding would be genuinely helpful.

            I know the current approach to treatment is broken.
            I know we need better understandings and better treatment practices. That is painfully obvious in the field of “mental health.”

            In your own case you never got proper physical tests. That sounds like malpractice to me. Doctors know that there are a variety of stressors that can add up to feeling depressed. They don’t skip the tests because they are ignorant (although they could be much better-trained). They skip thorough testing because they are lazy and/or greedy. That’s not a problem with theory, that’s an ethics problem. Lots of psychs make the excuse that they “don’t understand the causes of mental illness” well enough yet. Though it’s true, but they could do much better than they do now with no more than they know now. I think they suffer from a lack of will.

            That you were able to do so much for yourself is absolutely great and shows how crippled the “mental health” system has become. It sounds like you had a situation where mental factors were actually very minimal once many other factors were recognized. That’s the most common experience for the majority of people who get involved in the “mental health” system today.

            But there are some people in situations that they don’t know how to handle themselves. And the current system fails them not because it doesn’t appreciate the interrelatedness of things but because it has gone corrupt, greedy and uncaring. My point is that today the field is failing first and foremost because it has lost its moral compass (if it ever had one). Another way of saying it is that even if you established a more robust theoretical framework for the causes and treatments of “mental illness” a lot of these doctors would not use it because their level of ethical thought is too low.

      • Right and how were the rats “cured” and “helped”. They did not even try antipsychotics, no AD’s. WHY?
        There was a perfect time to try the stuff they tried on other mice. But you know what? The mice they tried the drugs on were never depressed before the drugs. They simply needed to see if it would kill them or not. If it did not, it got sold.

        However, the rat study NEVER once got tried on chemicals, no “labels”. I mean Jonny rat could have had bi-polar and peety rat could have had a PD, yet all rats got better when they changed their environment to an “enriched environment”

        • It’s also fascianting that they INDUCE “depression” in mice by creating high-stress situations, and then use them for subjects in their experiments. All the time claiming that “depression” is a “biological brain disease” not caused by the environment!

          • That’s astute. Must be some kind of marketing mix-up. Maybe the academic research psychiatrists don’t always keep up on the latest story line being pushed. Or vice versa. But I’ve noticed that in the more recent material I’ve read, they’ve been dropping the “disease” push on the cause side of things. I think they realized that it could still sell. After all, if you break your arm, it’s not because there was something wrong with your arm. But you still have to see a doc, and they fix your arm. They don’t fix why you broke your arm! So I guess maybe they figure they can sell it from that angle.

        • The rat park research is quite the opposite. It was a challenge to the chemical model of psychiatry that believed addiction was a biological disease, maybe genetically determined. The rat park research disproved this. Even with the presence of a highly addictive drug, the rats had no interest in the drug as long they that had plenty of access to all the things that make a rat happy (other rats, toys, good food).

          Johann Hari talks about the evidence among humans. Drug rehab programs that re-create social connections show higher success rates. This is seen on an even larger scale with Portugal changing to compassionate public policy that no longer treated and scapegoated addict as if they were a failed individual and instead sought to help change the social conditions that promoted addiction in the first place. Their drug addiction rates then plummeted.

          It turns out the individual is not separate from the society and world around them. Imagine that.

          • I’m impressed by your knowledge of what has been going on in research and treatment in this field. I hope you will continue to contribute what you know. But do keep in mind that what we have found to be the problem, first and foremost, in this particular field, is moral failure. If we are right about that (we might not be totally right) then better understandings and treatments will be rejected or ignored by mainstream psychiatry. That has been our most common experience up to this point.

  5. “vOppression, disenfranchisement, social stress, interpersonal trauma, violence, economic inequality, poverty, prejudice, malnutrition, toxins, parasites, infectious diseases, etc. There are thousands upon thousands of factors that contribute to our physical and mental health or lack thereof. And none of these factors are merely personal. We need to stop thinking of ourselves as isolated individuals, a false and oppressive ideological realism.”

    Couldn’t agree more. And “medicines” are toxic, especially those chemicals given out by psychiatry, not to mention the violence and trauma people experience there.
    It does not make sense to send people to reexperience the shit they came from, does it.

    • Once we stop treating humans as isolated individuals, once we stop treating one thing separate from all else, psychiatric medications become far less attractive. Once we realize that by taking simple collective actions like reducing rates of toxicity, parasitism, malnutrition, etc, many supposedly psychiatric conditions will begin to drastically lessen.

      But because of epigenetic changes, it could take several generations to reverse the damage we’ve caused as a society in being so dismissive of the shared conditions of our suffering, not to mention our scapegoating of individuals for the sins of society. That is why we need to make these changes as quickly as possible and so a new systemic way of thinking is necessary.

      • Psychological theory is already quite aware of the interrelatedness of people, environmental poisons, economic stressors and so forth. The breakdown in treatment seems to be much more along the lines of politics and greed.

        But there is a more basic problem with the MD approach to “healing.” Regular docs tend to get away with this because most people only expect them to patch us up and send us on our way. Psychiatry wants to follow that same model. As I expressed it in another post, you don’t expect your doc to worry about why you broke your arm. You just expect your doc to fix your arm and send you home. The psychs want to work that same way. They don’t want to worry about why you got depressed. They just want to write a prescription and say goodbye. We think that’s being really irresponsible. They think they are doing what all other doctors do.

        In that sense, we would be better off without them, since their drugs don’t work. But in another sense, maybe we are just looking at the wrong profession for handling the more common “mental health” issues. People like social workers, even clergy or family members, are probably the ones who should be helping most people with “mental health” issues sort things out.

        Part of the problem with psychiatry is that a few people really do “go insane” or have “severe/acute episodes” or whatever they call it these days. And when that happens, family, police, regular MDs – no one – wants to deal with it. The behavior can be so strange that it freaks most people out. So the psychs stepped up centuries ago and said “give those guys to us.” They used to lock them up, experiment on them, and kill them. These days we expect better, and we object to psychs treating the whole world (except them!) as “crazy.” But the fact is that they fill a need in society, and I think that’s one reason why we are having such difficulties getting rid of them.

        • Yes L.
          There are people born with huge disabilities. It’s a fact of life. Or they become “disabled” in certain areas of living, sometimes temporarily.
          The fact remains, no one should lose any credibility as a member of society. It should be that we provide for them, support them in their incapacity until the end of their days, and no single being shoud EVER be labeled as a “cripple”. We used to use that word for the body.
          Psych went and made labels that really say “mental cripple” and enforces chemicals for “cripples”.

LEAVE A REPLY