When I was training to become a psychiatrist in the 1980s, there were basically two options: being a psychotherapist (whose clients came to your office—this is what I pursued), or being a biological psychiatrist (whose patients were usually in hospitals against their will). But then that changed; people began eagerly seeking psychiatry’s biological interventions.
This seemed crazy to me: Nearly everyone had seen, or at least heard about One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. It’s a 1975 film that depicted the reality of what the latter were about: physical restraints, mind-numbing chemicals, electroshock, and lobotomy. Who in their right mind would voluntarily seek out such doctors? At least people who were forced into their “treatment” had the sense to want to stay away.
To those who say that major scientific/medical advances since 1975 have made going to a biological psychiatrist a rational choice, I say: What advances?
Forty-five years have passed: Is any psychiatric “diagnosis” now verified by lab test, x-ray, or physical exam finding? No; therefore they’re all purely imaginary, nothing but conceptualized labels. You must’ve been hallucinating when you heard of these “discoveries.”
This can’t be a surprise, since labeling a problem “mental” is a way of saying that it’s not physical. Aren’t people referred to a psychiatrist because a real physical problem was ruled out, so it’s all in their head? Mental and physical illnesses are thus mutually exclusive opposites, and if you think something can be a type of its opposite, then you must have lost your marbles. And no; psychiatrists don’t treat diseases of the brain just as cardiologists treat diseases of the heart. Reality check: There’s already a field that treats brain diseases—neurology.
Furthermore, the basis for modern psychiatry’s medical model—the chemical imbalance theory—is totally impossible, as follows: Every feeling, behavior, or thought is nothing more than a chemical process; they are one and the same thing, just viewed in two different ways. Yet the chemical imbalance theory proposes that these chemical correlates are also the causes of their respective phenomena. But how can something cause itself to occur? You must have a screw loose if you believe that. And even if many people join together to believe in such a nutty idea, that can’t make it become real (except in little kids’ movies).
If you say there are new, effective “medical treatments,” then you’ve really gone off the deep end. These are either:
- Antidepressants, which were proven to be placebos, and which are a ridiculous concept anyway: How can a pill make all the problems in your life that are making you unhappy instantly disappear—poof! Does each pill contain a fairy godmother who fixes them by waving a magic wand and singing “Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo,” enabling you to live happily ever after in a castle with a doting Prince Charming? If you think that sounds deranged, how about this next type:
- Euphoria-giving addictive chemicals, which have been around for centuries. We all know that drug addiction ruins lives as tolerance to the highs develops and unbearable withdrawals ensue. These force one to repeatedly raise the dose. How could you possibly expect the outcome to be any different, just because you obtained your addictive pills from an MD? Are you out of your mind?
- Or they’re zombifying drugs like the ones used on the inmates in Cuckoo’s Nest. What sane person would want to take them, or use them on his/her kid? They’re often called antipsychotics. But you must be mad if you think a pill could distinguish irrational from rational thoughts/actions, and then choose to only suppress the irrational ones. Let’s be real: They’re just sedatives; they suppress all thoughts/actions.
But biological psychiatry’s kookiest claim is its denial of our capacity to understand, flexibly adapt to, and solve our own problems—the result of millions of years of brain evolution. The psychiatric field itself used such abilities to overcome many dangers that had threatened its survival. These included anti-psychiatry attacks like Cuckoo’s Nest and The Myth of Mental Illness, and an onslaught of cheaper, plentiful social workers who dislodged psychiatrists from their therapist niche.
Psychiatry resiliently adapted by devising/instilling its nonsensical disease model into our culture. It deluded millions into thinking they’re unable to adaptively address their own issues or raise their supposedly incapable kids. They thus gave up trying to. (Ironic, huh?) This generated hordes of lifelong clients who seek non-existent cures for non-existent diseases, enabling psychiatry to endlessly drain health insurance money. So it successfully morphed from an eradicator into a mass-producer of lunacy, which parasitically sucks the blood out of society. What genius!
In summary, anyone who now sees a psychiatrist of their own volition (or advises others to do so) must have lost contact with reality and should have their head examined. But maybe I’m the one who should be put in a straitjacket, since I could earn five times as much money if I abandoned psychotherapy and became a “medication manager,” as all my peers did. In any event, I’m going bonkers trying to come up with more synonyms for “crazy.” So I’ll close by proposing that the DSM (the official manual of psychiatric “diagnoses”) add “taking the DSM seriously” to its criteria for “psychosis.”
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.