Accounting for Mental Disorder: Time for a Paradigm Shift

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Since the onset of the pandemic, misery and mental disorder have increased, raising considerable concern about mental health. It has become obvious that we need to be better at addressing issues related to our psychological well-being. A well-substantiated body of scientific research argues for rejecting psychiatry’s biological/medical paradigm for mental health and mental disorder and replacing it with a social/psychological paradigm.

In 2014, a report from the World Health Organization of the United Nations concluded with the following summary:

A growing research base has produced evidence that the status quo, preoccupied with biomedical interventions, including psychotropic medications and non-consensual measures, is no longer defenseless in the context of improving mental health…Public policies continue to neglect the importance of pre-conditions of poor mental health, such as violence and the breakdown of communities, systematic socioeconomic disadvantage and harmful conditions at work and in schools…Reductive biomedical approaches to treatment that do not adequately address contexts and relationships can no longer be considered congruent with the right to health.

In short, ten years ago the WHO called for a paradigm shift in mental health care. That has not happened. Mental health care is under the control of powerful entities: the profession of psychiatry, drug companies, NIMH, primary care doctors, and insurance companies. They are all committed to a biological/medical model, and they all have turned a deaf ear to the idea of this paradigm shift. Ideology and economic interests furnish the explanation for this resistance.

Lonely, suffering man in a crowd of people who do not notice him.

If the paradigm is to shift the most crucial members on this list are primary care doctors. Primary care doctors are the rank and file of health care. Right now, they believe they have reason to be committed to a biological/medical orientation for their patients’ mental health care as well as for their treatment of physical illness.

Both paradigms are bound by the requirements of the scientific method. Scientific research has verified the value of a biological/medical orientation for physical illnesses. From the Spanish flu in 1918 to Covid-19 in 2019, life expectancy has doubled. The onset of Covid-19 led to more than a million deaths in this country alone, generating a concerted effort to combat this illness by applying the biological/medical paradigm. And because Covid-19 also stirred up increased awareness of problems related to mental health, it provides a tutorial on the science related to both of these paradigms.

The discovery of a successful treatment for the virus responsible for Covid-19 resulted from a long line of research on the nucleic acids, DNA and RNA. Laboratory studies provided the scientific basis for the development of a vaccine. Basic biological research originating in James Watson and Francis Crick’s laboratory led to the discovery of DNA. DNA is the basis for heredity and for constructing the body’s proteins. Proteins keep us alive. Other researchers continued this line of research, leading to the discovery in 1981 of how DNA’s instructions are transferred to RNA and produce proteins. The first major treatment derived from these findings occurred in 1984 when researchers in France and the United States published their research on RNA, which enabled them to develop a drug that coded RNA for the HIV virus, stimulating an immune response for this illness. In 2020, RNA was coded for Covid-19’s protein, resulting in a drug that stimulated the immune response for Covid-19.

However, this successful application of the biological/medical paradigm to our physical health was accompanied by a worsening of our mental health. Because Covid-19 is highly infectious, an important means of curtailing its spread is social isolation. People were urged to work at home and to attend class virtually at home. We stopped going to public places and events; we hunkered down. As social animals, isolation has negative consequences. Sadness, anxiety, and depression increased alarmingly. The solution for a physical illness exacerbated the heightened anxiety and sadness induced by Covid-19, requiring a psychological solution—and that psychological solution was missing. An important lesson of the pandemic is that physical illness and mental disorder are governed by different rules and they require different solutions.

In medical school, medical students are taught lessons based on the biological/medical paradigm—lessons that are confirmed for physical illnesses when these doctors are in practice. It is easy to understand why they would view mental disorder in these same terms. Consequently, primary care doctors are the prime prescribers of psychiatric drugs for patients they view as having a mental disorder.

An examination of the relevant research shows that primary care doctors have been misled. Whereas the scientific story they learned about physical illness is one of respectable science, the story they have been told about mental disorder is a confidence game masquerading as science. They do not know that responsible researchers looking for a biological basis for mental disorder have repeatedly failed. An Editor-in-Chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, Marcia Angell, after reviewing psychiatry’s efforts to verify the biological/medical paradigm, concluded, “They have come up empty-handed.”

Primary care doctors do not know of the evidence I review in my book which shows that the “science” psychiatrists cite for their medical practices has been created out of whole cloth. They do not know that Kenneth Kendler, the premier medical researcher who spent his career studying the origin of mental disorder concluded that psychological trauma, principally experiences of loss, is the cause of mental disorder, not biology, not genetics. The bottom line is that primary care doctors do not know that the results of scientific research support the WHO’s call for a paradigm shift to a social/psychological model for mental health care.

There is an important dictum in science: Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. We need to be careful when we cite absence of evidence as conclusive. We must have very good reasons for doing so. When the WHO called for this paradigm shift, did they have compelling evidence? They did. Here is why:

First, is psychiatry’s utter failure to find a biological cause for the great majority of mental disorders. Only Down syndrome, dementia, and brain damage from alcohol and drug abuse fit psychiatry’s biological/medical paradigm. This is a very short list, easily recognized as physical. None of the problems we think about when we think about mental disorder—mainly depression and the anxiety disorders—are explained by psychiatry’s biological/medical paradigm, and not for want of trying. Psychiatry’s efforts to validate this paradigm have been unabated for more than a century. Their efforts have consumed many tens of billions of research dollars, to no avail. To put this in context, researchers studying physical illnesses, who also faced significant challenges, have in this same time discovered how to explain and treat not only HIV and Covid-19, but the flu, polio, measles, the mumps, diabetes, hepatitis, tuberculosis, heart disease, cancer…I’ll stop adding to this list, you get the point. The outcome of these two fields of health care is off the chart—in opposite directions. Dr. Thomas Insel, after retiring from his dozen years as director of the NIMH, spending 20 billion dollars on biological research, admitted that he had not been able to improve psychiatric treatment outcomes, reduce hospitalizations, or reduce suicide. What he failed to acknowledge was that all these measures of mental health had worsened with his excessive research funding effort to seek confirmation of the biological/medical paradigm for mental disorder. Perhaps the most revealing truth about psychiatry’s long and expensive effort to find verification for a biological/medical model for mental disorder is that after all these years and all this expense, psychiatry cannot distinguish biologically one mental disorder from another or from normality—or offer medical treatments whose success exceeds placebo.

Second, is psychiatry’s scientifically damning record of malfeasance in the reporting of the results they allege support their medical practices. Data, not assumptions, must dictate conclusions, including conclusions that conflict with the experimenter’s predictions or preferences. When conclusions from research follow directly from the data and not to support a scientist’s beliefs, or worse yet, are deliberately falsified to do so, then, and only then do they meet scientific standards of acceptability. Objective reviews of the record reveal that many studies psychiatrists cite for their practices fail this most foundational requirement of science. Depression is the #1 psychiatric diagnosis. It is treated mainly be drugs. The STAR*D study, published in 2006, is the largest and most expensive study ever done to determine the effectiveness of drug treatments for depression. For decades psychiatrists have pointed to this study whose authors claimed nearly 70% of the patients got better on the drugs. But as early as 2010 that claim was shown to be false: the results had been manipulated to make them appear to be positive. When measured correctly, the short-term benefit of the drugs was no better than placebo in other studies. When measured long-term, the patients did worse than patients on placebo in other studies. The researchers, some of whom were branch chiefs at the NIMH, reported the results fraudulently. Only in the last week has a psychiatric publication acknowledged that the results reported for this foundational study were completely misrepresented and major newspapers still have not reported this story. A fuller picture of psychiatry’ scientific fraud is provided by Eric Turner’s research. Turner reviewed all the drug outcome studies published during the two decades that followed psychiatry’s adoption in 1980 of their biological/medical paradigm. He found 74 publications of twelve different antidepressant drugs. Psychiatric researchers claimed 94% had positive results, but the FDA’s review of these studies found positive results for only half that number. Turner showed how psychiatric researchers had “spun” the negative results to make them positive by substituting secondary measures as if they had been primary. Their fabrications to make the results positive ranged from 11% to 69%. Psychiatrists know the chemicals in their drugs don’t work. They have made certain you don’t know it.

Third, there is an abundance of scientific evidence that human behavior is primarily a product of learning, not the biology of instinct or illness. We are who we are largely because of our learning experiences. Behavioral psychologists have focused their research on how learning takes place. This has led to the discovery of principles of learning. Importantly, this research has shown that disordered behaviors follow the same predictable rules as other behaviors. Despite miniscule funding compared to the financing of the biological/medical paradigm, behavioral researchers have produced a coherent body of validated, empirical evidence for the cause of mental disorder. They have specified how these dysfunctional behaviors are acquired by reinforcement, how they are maintained, and how they can be treated successfully. Behavioral psychology began with Ivan Pavlov’s study in 1897 of the conditioning of a dog to salivate to a bell. A neutral stimulus (the bell) acquired the response (salivation) previously only occurring physiologically. He called this learning process classical conditioning. Pavlov’s research launched considerable basic and applied research exploring the ramifications of this form of learning. Advertising is built on this principle. Classical conditioning is the science behind all those TV ads you watch that rake in big bucks by featuring dancing, joyous people using their products. At the top of the list of advertisers are the drug companies, who although financing psychiatry’s failed biological/medical stance, know that the way to promote their products is by applying verified social/psychological science. Among the mental disorders, phobias are learned by classical conditioning. The best treatment for phobias is systematic desensitization, which is based on applying classical conditioning principles to treat this mental disorder. B. F. Skinner’s research explains a second basis for learning, which he called operant conditioning. This form of learning plays an even larger role in our lives. A response that is followed by something we value causes that response to occur more frequently. It is the science validating praise and the rewarding of good behavior, a process called positive reinforcement. The frequency of a response also can be increased if the response removes something we dislike. This is called negative reinforcement, and it explains avoidance behavior which is the most verified basis for the cause of many mental disorders and supplies the key to our most effective psychological treatments. Alcohol and drug abuse are examples of mental disorders caused by positive reinforcement. OCD is an example of a mental disorder under the control of negative reinforcement. There is evidence that negative reinforcement is central to depression. A third form of learning is called Observational Learning, which occurs when we copy someone else’s behavior. We owe many of our valued skills to this form of learning. An aspiring artist goes to an art museum to copy a work of art. This form of learning is suspected to be largely responsible for psychopathic behavior. Behavioral psychology recognizes that we are social animals, and the reinforcement systems governing learning are rooted in our biology. However, unlike lower animals, an abundance of research verifies that our behavior is primarily a function of learning. Dysfunctional learning, not biology, furnishes the explanation for mental disorder and behavioral treatments have been shown to be the most effective treatments for depression and the anxiety disorders—the most frequently diagnosed mental disorders—with outcomes that exceed the placebo effect and get better with time. Behavioral psychology originated as a protest against popular psychological theories that had no empirical verification. And the same hard-nosed insistence on scientific substantiation is now challenging psychiatry’s biological/medical paradigm. It is this body of fine-grained scientific evidence—psychological, not biological—that informs the justification for the WHO’s call for a paradigm shift to a social/psychological explanation for mental disorder. Quite clearly, these behavioral studies are not nearly as advanced or as informative as the biological research I reviewed related to Covid-19. But they follow the same, scientifically respectable path and they point the way to studies that need to come next for mental disorder to be more fully understood and treated more successfully. Most importantly for this discussion, this methodology is an empirically verified social/psychological paradigm that is the product of science, not chicanery.

In sum, the greater effectiveness of behavioral treatments over psychiatric “care” should not be surprising. Behavioral science informs the behaviors we engage in on a daily basis—behaviors we know will work for us. Their value is so well accepted and so prevalent that we barely acknowledge our reliance on them and our confidence in them, viewing them as common sense. Only psychiatry has rejected this truth in favor of drugs that have no scientific justification, choosing to peddle snake oil instead. We are being snookered. As Irving Kirsch, the world’s leading expert on the placebo effect, has written, psychiatric mental health “care” is today’s rendition of The Emperor With No Clothes.

The WHO’s call in 2014 for paradigm change has been answered by some important allies, one even outside of the mental health community. A highly regarded book by two economists, Angus Case and Anne Deaton, describes how psychological trauma—social/psychological factors—leads to mental disorder. In an article in MIA last month, “Mental Disorder has Roots in Trauma and Inequality, not Biology,” I cited some other recent voices challenging psychiatry’s biological/medical paradigm. The latest article is by Elizabeth Svoboda in this month’s Scientific American. She details the benefit of a behavioral intervention with teenagers as a means of preventing depression. Ordinarily behavior therapy is directed at those diagnosed with a mental disorder, helping them to replace dysfunctional behaviors with functional behaviors. This study demonstrates how teenagers can be taught functional behaviors preemptively. We need to ask: What might these results suggest for the design of additional studies to improve our success in addressing the social isolation that will be made necessary by a future outbreak of a highly infectious pandemic? The article also is informative in another way. It illustrates how even those who recognize the greater value of behavioral treatment can have a problem understanding the basis for this superiority. Rather than citing the scientifically validated behavioral research that led to the development of this form of treatment, the author cites images of brain changes as if that is what is necessary for verification.

The media regularly carries stories aligned with the biological/medical paradigm, plainly preferring it, thereby contributing significantly to people being enamored of brain “explanations” for mental disorder. Beginning with our parents, authority figures shape many of our beliefs, sometimes to our detriment. Paradigms are beliefs. In behavioral terms, beliefs are cognitions and cognitions are behaviors. In scientific terms, beliefs are hypotheses to be tested by collecting data according to the rules of the scientific method. The scientific record supports a social/psychological paradigm, not a biological/medical paradigm for mental disorder.

Behavioral research, tested by the scientific method, has found that once a behavior has been established, it is resistant to change. Paradigm shifts are not easily accomplished. The WHO’s call has not been answered and many people continue to be victimized by psychiatry’s adherence to a model that exists to satisfy guild interests, not science. This is a tragedy. History suggests that as the compelling evidence continues to grow, as it surely will, truth eventually will win out.

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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.

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86 COMMENTS

  1. I fully support Dr. Leventhal’s arguments for a paradigm shift. What I strongly object to, however, is his continued misleading use of medicalized language such as “mental health,” “disorders,” “diagnosis,” etc. to characterize thinking, emotions, or behavioral patterns that have no physical etiology as determined by verifiable scientific methods. Such misuse of terminology only perpetuates the flawed premise that emotional distress is pathological, supposedly requiring some kind of expert treatment in the guise of therapy, be it chemical, surgical, magnetic, or psychological. The eminent Dr. Thomas Szasz pointed out this glaring fallacy perceptively and convincingly many decades ago.
    The concept of “dysfunctional” or “functional” behavior that Dr. Leventhal constantly refers to is wholly dependent on the mores and customs prevailing in a particular society at a given moment in time. This is more properly a subject for the cultural anthropologist, not the physician or self-styled mental health professional.

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    • “Such misuse of terminology only perpetuates the flawed premise that emotional distress is pathological, supposedly requiring some kind of expert treatment in the guise of therapy, be it chemical, surgical, magnetic, or psychological”

      My experience and research all point to inclusion or acceptance in a group or with another is key to recovery. Interestingly inclusion is the opposite to alienation and I found the majority of experts alienating.

      Paradoxically the more severe the distress the lighter the touch needed.

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    • I agree, Joel, the language needs to be dropped.

      When I was a patient at Yale Psych ward (due to suicidal ideation while I was being poly drugged after being blamed for the “fact” that ECT “didn’t work on me…”because you have borderline personality disorder”), one of the psychiatrists wrote in my chart, “Patient is thought to have poor judgment”.

      Right now, two Yale psychiatrists are using government grant money to “study” the effects of ECT on patients with dementia.

      … and I’m the one with poor judgment. No, I’m just the one who got tagged with having a “mental disorder* in order to protect doctors from malpractice claims and otherwise reinforce the status quo..

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  2. Excellent article.

    Personally I don’t know why we cannot go back to the old Organic/Functional division with a social biological model for organic disorders ,a social psychological for functional disorders and a social psycho-dynamic model for severe functional disorders.

    While it is true, that before Biological Psychiatry took over, a lot was not understood about the mind and treatment of mental disorders, biology has not improved outcomes and any advances that have been made are despite biology.

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      • Very true. However lack of research or knowledge is no excuse not to adopt successful strategies that have helped people recover from psychosis. Scurvy was treated long before the discovery of vitamins. The question that should be asked is “WHY DO PEOPLE RECOVER FROM MENTAL/SOCIAL/LEARNED DISORDERS.”

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        • I agree.
          It’s hard to measure improvements of mental health. It’s a subjective measurement unlike I think physical health. So it’s harder to test and say without any doubt that treatment A is more effective them treatment B for a mental health disorder.

          I believe that social connection is by far the best treatment for depression and anxiety. I’m not trained at all in mental health, it’s my opinion only.

          Take for example someone addicted to drugs. They’re suffering from addiction along with depression and anxiety, fear that they turned out that way, fear of paying bills, fear that anyone will ever love them. So they isolate use drugs to calm down until they decide to get help.

          Then if they go to rehab and AA find out that yea they’re eroded, but at least they’re not alone. I hope that psychology follows a social connection model, because people with mental health disorders may suffer a similar perception, that they’re alone, they’re more messed up then anyone else, that no one on earth would possibly get it.

          But when they find out that they’re eroded sure, traumatized, abandoned, but not terrible immoral people, that they have a wolf inside, but that wolf is part of the human psyche. I think Freud called it the ID and Jung the shadow?

          And to pretend we don’t have a drive to do terrible things to act like it doesn’t exist I think for me led to self deprication, lies, deceit, betrayal and many more!

          Anyway I hope maybe mental health professionals and patients/clients can use resources to get people of similar views together so they don’t have to feel so alone.

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      • I think the problem is more fundamental:

        If the mind is a collection of ideas, a set in the mathematical sense, most of the ideas in the human mind are irrational.

        As love, grief, compassion, sadness are: irrational.

        No scientific research can be done on those concepts and ANY symbol that represents them, be it mere words, or brain circuits. A brain symbol instead of a written symbol.

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        • Yes the problems are more fundamental but there is no reason research at present should not be into what is successful treatment. Treatment that works should be available for people in distress. The fact that this distress is not understood is not a valid excuse if some people are recovering. There is no reason not to base treatment or at least research into treatment of what has worked in the past. Discrimination against or belittling of people who have recovered is not a valid excuse.

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          • Well without being able to argue about effectivenes with reasons I find difficult believing someone could prove some treatment works.

            That is an argument and requires symbols that represent the concepts in a way the experiment is the corroboration of the argument not it’s proof.

            That is opposite of science, we don’t take correlations and make arguments from them.

            What if SSRIs increase the consumption of food rich in feelgoodin, a previously unknown vitamin essential for feeling good?. It does not treat depression, it makes one search for a treatment without knowing.

            Simple point: what would we be treating distress, if distress is not clear enough to meassure any improvement in it?. Self reporting?, what if the drug or treatment increases good self reporting for causes we cannot know about because we can’t reason about those concepts?. Like alcohol, cocaine, and tobacco at the ealy periods of long term consumption.

            What if antidepressants cause a brain jerk response: “I feel better now!, I feel better now!”, without real improvement in other metrics.

            What if it shortens lives and causes suicides despite the “I feel better now!”

            Those silly, ridiculuous hypotheses require a theory to be called ridiculous. We need to know first what’s the natural course of the disease to be treated and why, to meassure any improvement beyond self reporting. And before that we need to know how to recognize a disease in reality, not in the mind of believers, and not merely define one and that’s it.

            Changing definitions of diseases, including and excluding symptoms, to match believers expectations, and by consensus nonetheles, is not a way to study reality and the effectivenes of any treatment.

            We need to know what makes a disease better and what worse, at least to control experiments on those variables, the treatment might affect those variables differently in controls and treated. How would we know if we don’t know nothing about it?.

            It improves depression but causes mania, for instance, that does not happen in controls for reasons we don’t know because no mechanism is known to explain the effects of SSRIs. What’s the variable there in the treated?. An active placebo?, a serotonin related effect?, mere improvement of depression causes mania in some?. What if it’s “too sudden” improvement?, or to great to be true?. We don’t know!.

            What if SSRIs causes an increase in search of pleasurable activities that we don’t know improve depression?, and we should be encouraging those instead of giving pills to encourage them to search for them.

            Aparently silly questions that science deals with before even thinking of doing experiments on humans, because there is a theory for them.

            RCT show correlations, not causations. Causes require reasons, arguments, not mere randomization. That is not control, control requires knowing ALL most relevant variables as to the meassurement, to the outcome, to merely design and get approval to do experiments in humans, even in animals and cells.

            Randomization works sometimes for huge populations, where a bunch of variables are controlled by the shear size of the population. That lacking induces researchers to fudge and fabricate findings to get papers published, drugs approved and billions made. Those are incentives to publish rubbish with ill-intent.

            All based on poor/bad science and bad researchers behaviour. That’s why a theory is needed too: to weed out from the published research the impossible or hard to believe, before exposing a patient to potential harm with the “just works”.

            The discrimination and belittling I don’t get what’s directed at…

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      • I don’t think that it is a tragedy that the psy disciplines know nothing about the mind and what is of help for people who suffer psychologically. Why? Because there are already so many ressources available outside these disciplines.

        Begin with yoga, go to a peer-run self-help group, take the Wellness Recovery Action Planning Seminar I at the Copeland Center. Exercise. Learn to find the right support in challenging situations from experts in social work, legal questions ect. begin a practice like prayer or mediation to support your growth. Do whatever you need to get well. There are so many good resources online.

        Everytime I read a blog by a professional on Mad in America who claims that we need a paradigm shift or whatever I say to myself, no, that’s not true, it’s only the professionals in these fields who need this. For the people suffering there are so many ressources already available that bring you back to wellness and sanity that are safe and effective. It’s good and it’s enough.

        The only thing that is needed is to bring the message about what actually does work for people out to the people.

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        • I broadly agree.

          But there are some folks who aren’t helped much by any, all?, alternatives to psychiatry and clinical psychology.

          Thinking of folks suffering auditory terrible hallucinations all day long, as opposed to folks falsely labeled psychotic.

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        • I agree that there are other resources, although people who’ve been entrapped by the system may not be able to take advantage of them. For example, after ECT and a borderline diagnosis, I was afraid to leave the house or talk to anyone for years. I was being heavily drugged and was convinced that I was a bad, dangerous criminal person.

          Other people wind up on mandated outpatient treatment like antipsychotic injections and if they don’t show up for their shot they will be hunted down and taken inpatient.

          Sometimes when the system gets a hold of you, it’s very hard to escape. I found that there are many social service agencies that want to steer me back to psychiatry and it’s too much of a risk to ask any help from them.

          I think if people were able to avail themselves of the resources that are there, there would be fewer people suffering. Something isn’t working.

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        • Lina is right.

          IMHO, the problem with psy disciplines is that (most) of the people who work in them seem to think they know all the answers and that the fate of the world is in their hands alone. They need to examine their own motives more than anything else.

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    • We cannot go back, I think because the words of mental disorders are irrational, they can’t be seen clearly enough with the mind to be used to even argue about them.

      Science deals with concepts that can be clearly seen with the mind. Mental disorders concepts and the symbols that represent that meaning are unlike those used in science.

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  3. Thank you for speaking the hard truths, Dr. Leventhal. I’m glad some American psychologists are starting to speak out against the systemic sins and crimes of forced and coerced psych “treatment,” by psychiatry and psychology – especially their systemic crimes against child abuse survivors – which is by DSM design.

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2016/04/heal-for-life/
    https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2019/01/23/18820633.php?fbclid=IwAR2-cgZPcEvbz7yFqMuUwneIuaqGleGiOzackY4N2sPeVXolwmEga5iKxdo
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/your-child-does-not-have-bipolar-disorder/201402/dsm-5-and-child-neglect-and-abuse-1

    “This is a tragedy.” Most definitely, since it’s left us all now living in a “pedophile empire.”

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56694704-pedophilia-empire

    “History suggests that as the compelling evidence continues to grow, as it surely will, truth eventually will win out.”

    Pray for the day! And the sad truth is that psychiatry’s drugs can create the symptoms of their “invalid” DSM disorders.

    https://psychrights.org/2013/130429NIMHTransformingDiagnosis.htm
    https://www.amazon.com/Anatomy-Epidemic-Bullets-Psychiatric-Astonishing-ebook/dp/B0036S4EGE
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxidrome
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroleptic-induced_deficit_syndrome

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  4. The problem is once you’re like decades entrenched into something like this, but you’re aware that that’s happening and that it has happened. I don’t see how cognitive behavioral therapy can do anything about that. part of what was promised with drugs and it did not work for me. at least was that it doesn’t matter if you consistently want to be better or not, even if you’re drowning and negativity. the drugs would supposedly hop you up onto like a more manageable level where you could make the choices to have less negative perspectives and do more productive things.

    so what do you do when your issues make it so you don’t have control over your thoughts or behavior at all? the drugs were supposed to fix that, basically take a process of getting better (that you can’t motivate yourself to do for long enough and order for it to be successful) and turn it into a single decision that you had to make one time which is just to take the pills. really simple action, not time consuming . so it was supposed to remove the rest of the control you had over your mental state. that way you can’t be the one keeping yourself down . and they don’t. and cognitive behavioral therapy can’t really address that because you have to want things that you get out of cognitive behavioral therapy consistently.

    The problem with any of the available methods is that they just can’t do anything about that type of stuff. it’s like being naive or young would be better if you have mental issues because it’ll be easier for somebody else that you perceive as an authority to snap you out of it. but if part of your issue stems from ego, then you’re just doomed.

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  5. Brainification of the self as in my brain is me, is a good example of the biological thinking. pointing at the brain changes as evidence is superb catch, so what if my brain has changed? That proof is circular and completely misses the mark. When it comes to learning, i want learn learn where dynamic and analytic fall here. As early as 50s psychology had lost its spirit, and i wholeheartedly think psychotheraphy needs the spirit regardless of its name or form or it’s gonna be pointing at the brain for a long time.

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    • I am from New Zealand. I work as a qualified mental health support worker in a Community Support service in Mt Albert. I love reading these articles because they reinforce the principles of the Community Support service I am fortunate enough to work in. And I firmly believe we need many more. Our service is non hierarchical and we offer a drop in for people to come and go from. We are activities based but there are no classes and we don’t do therapy. What we provide is a safe inclusive space with 5 trained staff for those with experience of severe mental distress to attend during our opening hours. People also can become members because it’s a Club. We operate on a group of
      principles from our Tangatwhenua ( people of the land culture or Māori) The first is Manaakitanga, to uplift mana and wellbeing, Whanaungatanga, to build connections. Wairua, to uphold spirit. Awhi to support and Ako , to learn through experience. We don’t use a medical model. People who choose to join us are usually already part of that or accessing it. We help keep around 100 people a week well and feeling connected. These people are also forming their own social supports and networks. We encourage peer led activities and also train and hire from our membership We do art activities, sewing, cooking ( with a shared meal) gardening games and socialising. We are person centred and strengths based. We operate like a family. Some come through our doors clinically unwell and extremely distressed but we can support them in settling to an activity and feeling included. We think the world would be much better off if there were more hubs like this operating day and night using a social and family based model with trained support people with de-escalation skills and the tools needed to help people in severe distress.
      We don’t distinguish between staff and members as we are on on a continuum. People have been coming to our service and it keeps on evolving to represent and meet the needs of our whaiora – people seeking wellness. Kia kaha – go strong and also go gently.

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      • “The list of medical causes of psychiatric disease seems to be missing some of the obvious ones like hypothyroidism, sleep apnea, Wilson’s disease and many others.”

        The diseases you list are recognized as medical diseases/problems. The author was talking about psychiatric diagnoses, not medical diseases:

        “None of the problems we think about when we think about mental disorder…are explained by psychiatry’s biological/medical paradigm, and not for want of trying. Psychiatry’s efforts to validate this paradigm have been unabated for more than a century. Their efforts have consumed many tens of billions of research dollars, to no avail.”

        The diseases you list (hyperthyroidism, sleep apnea, Wilson’s disease) are all treatable by medical doctors, not psychiatrists. If someone with one of these medical conditions is experiencing so-called psychiatric symptoms as a result of having one of these medical conditions and if they wind up in a psychiatrist’s office before a medical doctor has diagnosed their medical condition, that could easily put them on the road to ruin because the psychiatrist will almost certainly not rule out any of these things before prescribing drugs to treat what he believes is a psychiatric condition.

        I’m sure you already know this, but for whatever reason you’re pretending not to know/trying to confuse the issue. That’s not playing nice in the sandbox.

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  6. Hi there, I haven’t read the whole article yet, but I personally agree with efforts to move away from medical approaches, and move towards social/psychological approaches.

    Anyway I looked up the UN report you mention at the beginning of the article. I think it’s from 2017, but the guy who wrote it held a position at the UN since 2014, which may be where you’re getting that year from. Unless it was just republished in 2017? Anyway, this is the report I found, with very similar text to your quotation:

    https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G17/076/04/PDF/G1707604.pdf?OpenElement

    And there’s more info about it here (possibly other languages too):

    https://www.ohchr.org/en/documents/thematic-reports/ahrc3521-report-special-rapporteur-right-everyone-enjoyment-highest

    One thing I might mention is that your quotation says “the status quo… is no longer defenseless” but the text I found says “is no longer defensible”. I don’t meant to nitpick but I think it can change the meaning of the text a bit.

    Anyway, I appreciate this blog post. That report looks interesting. Thanks for bringing it to the attention of readers.

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  7. I like this article. Dr. Leventhal knows how to comprehensively explain complicated matters. But I agree with Joel regarding his use of medicalized language, which I believe is how the whole mess called “mental health” got started and why it remains out of control and will remain so until people like Dr. Leventhal decide to change their vocabulary. As of today, I’m longer using the words “healthy” or “unhealthy” to describe emotional states. Furthermore, the answers to people’s psychological problems are NOT the heads of psychologists any more than in a doctor’s prescription. The answers are where they’ve always been, in the hearts and minds of ordinary people.

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    • The best way to have lots and lots of patients is to make the human condition a disorder even a disease.

      A sort of you are not happy enough, you must be ill/disordered.

      Turning the pursuit of happiness a disorder or disease is the way psychiatry went full heartedly, I think.

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  8. Many a truth, some overgeneralisations, and maybe a bit of splitting (hairs?). Does nature-nurture ring any bells?

    I feel comfortable (i.e. a slightly dominant parasympathetic tone) that I, the inhabitant of my brain, am using my brain’s biology to consider the above article and think up my responses. My intracellular, intercellular, and anatomical communication networks are “considering and expressing” by means of learned skills (language, reading, writing, typing) for other persons (organisms like me) to ignore, consider, object, reject, support, or whatever response may be the result.

    By extrapolation of this simple idea, society then consists of a multitude of wandering brains that constantly interact with each other and the environment. Fortunately we are blissfully unaware of the biological foundations of these processes – our skulls and bodies are not made of see-through plexiglass and we don’t have x-ray vision.

    For me, the occupier of this brain and body, who lives in a context of family, friends, and a multitude of others, it is better to try and keep a balanced perspective. There is a biological context, a psychological context, a social context, as well as relational, occupational, educational, historical, political, experiential, (non)faith/religional, genetic, epigenetic, environmental, scientific, and narrative contexts, etc., that are present at all times. Which of these elements we choose to focus our attention and effort on is influenced by drivers and motives which direct our behaviours (pleasure or money, anyone?).

    Anyhow, being human in a multicontextual universe to me means that distress, disorder, illness, disease, (call them what you wish), all occur in the same multiple contexts. Divisionism is often not very helpful: neither a biological, nor a social (or any other) overemphasis does us much good. Balance and flexibility are key to being human and understanding our own existence and the conditions that we are subject to.

    In essence we are working with human ideas – products of our own brain processes occurring within much wider contexts. Categories and dimensions of life, including those created for discription of mental experiences/states/conditions/disorders/etc. are useful if they can help us along, but we should take great care not to become captives of our own ideas. The mental health ideas/concepts we create to help us along should not become ideologies by which we imprison ourselves.

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    • We are already imprisoned by those words by admitting there is a reality to those words in the scientific sense.

      They are merely to me, words to be used hermeneutically not scientifically, at best. At worst dang repudiable because of the harm of their use until today.

      We are already in Plato’s cave of psychiatry, mere illusions of truth, illusions of the real world, and I like my way out into the cave of rationality, of real science not of pseudoscience.

      🙂

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  9. Spot on Article. Social welfare and community are incredible and underutilized tools to improve mental health conditions. Far more good would come from developing these methods over existing psychiatric means/pills/prescribed for life. I’m sorry, but the existing system devolves and further dehumanizes people that need the help. We all need help sometimes, and we can and must do much better.

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  10. For decades now, psychiatry’s approach to treatment has moved away from looking at the cause to focusing on the fix instead. Be it with CBT, DBT, medications, etc. Positive self-talk, self-soothing behaviors, etc.

    These approaches have their place, but minimizing and even ignoring prevention and cause never seemed right to me.

    We as a whole do not seem to realize or understand that our life experiences and the way we treat each other has the power to destroy us physically, mentally, and emotionally.

    Some of us have lived long enough, or have witnessed, learned, or experienced enough to know this. (We are also burdened by the constant insistence that if another person successfully handles their trauma or mental illness, others can and should respond the same.)

    Life is tremendously sad. And humans are abhorrent to each other. In small ways and large. It all has an effect.

    The article is a bit overwhelming for me personally. I couldn’t read the whole of it at this time. However, what I did read is significant, informative, and gives me much food for thought.

    P.S. I cannot speak about the importance of cause without mentioning our environment. Whether it be the microplastics in our blood, or consuming animals raised on GMO corn, or eating fish from contaminated oceans, it seems impossible that this hasn’t had an effect.

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  11. All. Faith is a powerful healer. I would love to see a modern study done in psychiatric outcomes between those who believed in and practiced their faith vs those who did not. The reports that God heals all ills is true, for those who have faith that He does. A belief that you are loved, by the One who created you is incredibly reassuring and causative in the recovery of ANY illness. Billions of people know this. The salient question is why is faith (often) left out of psychology and psychiatric outcomes?

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    • I used to believe in God until the psychiatric abuse and (resulting destruction) continued for decades despite my prayers for mercy. Now I don’t believe in God anymore. Especially since I recently learned that while I was being abused by psychiatry my son was being abused at Catholic school. Maybe there’s a God, but I never found him at church. I was in a home run by the Church when I was a pregnant teenager, otherwise homeless. I was sent from there to a locked psych ward. I never understood why. So, no God there.

      Have you ever been in a locked psych ward? For me, it was very hard to believe that a loving God would allow those places to exist.

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  12. The oversimplified conclusions made in this article appear to be heavily biased against physicians and their medical management of psychiatric disease. The rhetoric comes off as divisive and accustatory while not really demonstrating a deep understanding of our training.

    My med school focused on a bioPSYCHOsocial model, and accordingly, I never got the impression that meds alone were going to fix mental disorder. My psychiatry professors (yes MDs) often emphasized a comprehensive treatment plan including psychotherapy, social work, etc in addition to medication. And when I was a med student one of the Psychiatry residents I worked with mentioned that he was getting extra training/certification to learn some psychotherapy techniques because he cared about a holistic treatment plan…while also openly recognizing that Psychologists were going to be more skilled in that area.

    Additionally, the short list provided as the only actual medically based psychiatric disease is both significantly lacking and also oddly pigeon-holes diseases like Down syndrome that I would generally classify as more of a cognitive/intellectual disability that spans both Psych and Neuro (which are not exclusive of one another). The list of medical causes of psychiatric disease seems to be missing some of the obvious ones like hypothyroidism, sleep apnea, Wilson’s disease and many others.

    In summary, be careful about what assumptions you make unless you have undergone the other side’s training yourself, and play nice in the sandbox. No one went into medicine with the intent to sub-optimally treat their patients.

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    • Try getting ECT for “treatment resistant depression” because you didn’t respond to 6 years of psychiatric drugs and no one bothered to look at your blood work where they would have seen that you had severe iron deficiency anemia and then try having the psychiatrists tell you that “the ECT didn’t work because you have borderline personality disorder” and not even bother to tell you what that is or why he couldn’t have diagnosed it before he shocked your brain a dozen times. Then try being put on antipsychotics and, again, no one explains to you why that’s happening, and your kept on the antidepressants even though you supposedly don’t have treatment resistant depression anymore. You have something called borderline but they just keep prescribing drugs, and you are not allowed to ask why (It already says poor judgment, lacking self-awareness and non-compliant in your chart…don’t push it).

      Try 35 years of this and then being spit out of the system and not being able to even get basic medical care because of what psychiatrists wrote in your medical chart. And the trauma that led you to be suicidal as a teen and end up in the system in the first place? It was never, and never will be, addressed.

      Maybe they didn’t go into medicine with the intent to sub-optimally treat their patients, but they certainly have done exactly that, over and over again.

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    • “The list of medical causes of psychiatric disease seems to be missing some of the obvious ones like hypothyroidism, sleep apnea, Wilson’s disease and many others.”

      These are all medical illnesses to be treated by medical doctors or through alternative medicine. Psychiatrists can neither diagnose nor treat any of these diseases (unless it is a so-called holistic psychiatrist which only very wealthy people can afford as they don’t take insurance). In fact, if someone s suffering from one of these conditions and is having symptoms of these conditions that appear psychiatric, the worst thing that they can do is visit a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist will do two things immediately that will very likely set the person on a path to destruction. First, they will not order any sort of medical testing and therefore will never find the true cause of the symptoms. Secondly, they will determine, as you have done in your comment, that these are psychiatric illnesses and not actual real medical illnesses that create symptoms which psychiatrists profess to treat. They will put them on psychiatric drugs for these so-called psychiatric illnesses, which will exacerbate everything that the person is already dealing with.

      You accuse people of not playing nice in the sandbox but psychiatrists don’t play nice in the sandbox. Your comment is full of so much misdirection, straw man arguments and accusations that people who have done a lot of reading about the truth of psychiatry just are not going to fall for.

      It’s interesting that you don’t address the importance of social belonging, which is to my mind the thrust of this article. Maybe because you’re aware that having a psychiatric diagnosis or being in any kind of mental health treatment is an alienating, dehumanizing, othering, isolating experience.

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    • I don’t think one can be heavily based against irrationality in any scientific, even empirical research.

      Rationality is the basis of science, any irrationality in it has to be fought very strongly. It poisons the well of such beautifull human achievement.

      It took us millenia to be here, it’s worth fighting for, it’s worth fighting the irrationality of mental disorders, however thought to be “understood”.

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  13. My son’s have schizo affective and paranoid schizophrenia respectively. Their problem is the system of housing and in housing relative to funding. Once or twice a year they have an outburst from their condition and the over reaction from police and landlord lands then in the street and no refund for rent unused so they are homeless and broke. There needs to be real housing to return to after a breakdown. There needs to be government supported housing with right to return to even if they go missing for a week or so. They have episodes of delusional thinking and when they come out of it, they have no housing to return to because of the tight restrictions even. They should have hotels as housing with storage units so if they go missing, instead of throwing away there stuff, it should be stored so they don’t start from zero when they return. They are treated like a problems and animals. They are the scapegoats and victims of a cruel and heartless society and they will die on the streets like dogs. They had genius IQs and promising futures one day and sever, persistent, mental illness the next. Mom can’t kiss it and make it better. They need assisted living with dedicated housing for them.

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    • Barb,

      I don’t believe in psychiatric diagnoses but I empathize with your pain and your worry about your sons. My adult son is also going through a very bad time. He’s been struggling for a long time without support and I fear for what will happen. Like your sons, he’s very smart.

      I agree with you that housing and storage of your sons’ belongings should be provided. Without this, anyone is going to be in a state of stress. I also agree that this society can be very cruel to people who are vulnerable. I hear it in the voices of people at agencies that I call for assistance.

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    • We all need affordable housing regardless of our conditions.

      Young adults who ostensibly are healthy since no proof has been presented they aren’t are struggling with that too.

      We all deserve and need affordable housing regardless of condition.

      But, as a resource allocation issue I agree.

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  14. As a mental health services captive absolutely loved the common sense. There comes a time when one wants to drop all of life’s psycho stresses, grief and trauma and live care free. However a disorder makes one a lifelong consumer of medication which invariably has physical symptoms, stigma and loss of decisions regarding medical treatment..

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  15. I believe that this point of view is only partially correct. We are born with varying biological qualities. Some of us are, for example, more sensitive to sensory stimulation than others. It is the combination of biological and psychological factors that make us who we are. Don’t be simplistic and reductive.

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    • The point is that psychiatry has no idea what is “wrong” with a person’s biology before they start drugging them. How can they even talk about biology? When you go to see a psychiatrist, you don’t get blood work. You don’t get brain scans. You sit down in a chair across from him for 10 minutes and he pulls out his prescription pad. How is that biology? He may say some vague things about chemical imbalances, serotonin this and dopamine that, neurotransmitter blah blah genetics, but how does he know? Can he see inside the patient’s head? And even if he knew, where is the proof that the person’s problems have to do with serotonin or dopamine or neurotransmitters? It’s a ridiculous statement that they’ve gotten away with forever that they understand a person’s biology. They don’t. They barely learn the person’s name, in my experience.

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  16. We are mammals. Of course mental illness has a biological origin which cannot be cured unless from trauma which can be cured. Did people and most really turn a blind eye to the importance of nursing our children like our mothers did us and so forth. Bacteria are the thread of our existence. You cannot fix a broken window so why try. When we read in women studies text having a vaginal birth and breastfeeding are critical junctures they really are. People just wanna find justification for their behavior. Listen to your repressed thoughs. They will all come true.

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    • What is mental illness? Once you’ve defined that, please define and explain: what is the biological origin of this thing you’re calling mental illness?
      Where are the tests? Not subjective, not opinions and conjecture. Actual physical evidence of this thing called mental illness and it’s so-called biological origins.

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    • Please substantiate your claim that “of course mental illness has a biologic origin…” Name one of the hundreds of so-called disorders, complexes, syndromes, etc. listed in the DSM that has a verified, undeniable genetic, chemical, or neurological etiology.

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  17. I found the Standard Theory of Psychology, which should answer just about every single question about Mental Health. The APA didn’t accept it so no one in the field will get to use it. On top of that, their involvement rather than their advancements have become their livelihood and changing that might make a large number of people angry. Standard Theory is the answer to the questions that no one wants to ask.

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  18. Just goes to show how the cult of psychiatry has brainwashed so many people so completely that when anyone suggests that addressing social isolation instead of drugging people for made up “chemical imbalances” might be a better way to go, many people get really upset.

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  19. I agree with the general idea of this article but I think its dangerous to assume all mental disorder comes from nurture rather any nature. How do we explain anxious children? How do we explain the familial patterns of depression? (I mean, im not expert, perhaps there is some nurture related explanation im not privy to – But I’ve had a pretty blessed life and yet still suffer from chronic depression)

    I also think that taking medication for your mental illness already has enough of a taboo surrounding it. The more you call for demedicalization, the more that taboo will increase and people who could really benefit from drugs will not allow themselves to seek that kind of treatment.

    As always, I believe a holistic approach is what is best. Not entirely denying the nature of the chemicals that make us feel things, nor denying the psychosocial setting of those feelings. I will continue to take both medication and see my therapist.

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    • Skeptics don’t have to explain anything.

      It’s proponents that need to do that. That’s the burden of proof in science. They need to prove an explanation is even possible. That is impossible with irrational words and concepts, there will be inconsistency and no truth to said “explanations”.

      And I think they never will provide any explanation, since their words and concepts are irrational.

      Sadness, anxiety, grief, psychosis and insight are not only irrational words, are irrational concepts. Most words and concepts, if not all, at least for emotions are irrational. Emotions are irrational. Mental disorders deals primarily with emotions.

      We knew and believed that since at least ancient Greece.

      They can’t be used for arguing nor explaining anything.

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  20. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a paradigm shift but rather we must understand the human being better, the mind and realities associated with adolescents.
    We need to really lay things out, difference between good and evil. Manners, respectfulness, the importance God in our lives. The youth of today need to learn how to deal with anger, feeling insulted, how to manage hurtfulness, how to manage economic classes and understanding the poor.
    How to deal with real issues that they don’t seem to have answers for all the way to caring for a newborn baby.
    We have come from ancestors that married at a young age and gained deeper sense of responsibility very young to life beginning after collage around 25 years old.
    Life, love, responsibility and the love of God is all new to everyone born and we must educate on the psychological essential of life as a whole.

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    • Respectfully, it seems to me most of the ideas and the words you use to represent those concepts, their meanings, are not to be used in explanations.

      They can be “understood” hemeneutically, as interpreations, not as truths. No interpreation can be true, can be correct, can be scientific.

      That does not make an interpretation useless or hamfull, does not make it necessarily pernicious.

      There can be a good interpreation, but it will not be true nor scientific. We interpert each other all the time and that is, I think good most of the time. If I am correctly interpreting you, understanding you 🙂

      Just, I think framing mental disorders, faith, God and feeling good needs to be done at best as an hermeneutical issue, not a true or false issue, and specially not a scientific issue.

      Again, respectfully.

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  21. I agree with the direction of this MIA post.

    I think it omits the very well proven fact that exogenous neurochemicals causes something that looks like mental disorders:

    Tardive dysphoria, medication induced anxiety, tardive psychosis, medication induced sexual dysfunction, lack of insight caused by medication, medication induced mania/hypomania, etc., are correlations that suggest strongly for medication caused “mental disorders”.

    And that “evidence” was produced by zealots, believers in the reality of “mental disorders” despite reality, they proved the null, default hypothesis I suspect. Mental disorders aren’t real, aren’t biological, unless you made them such. Unless you created them such.

    Following that, abscence of evidence does prove the evidence of abscence when an argument can be formulated, constructed, a posteriori in this case, of why that reality should be like that. Why that absence of evidence reflects reality.

    As an informal argument I think I can provide such argument:

    Because the words, the symbols of mental disorders are irrational. The words, symbols, of mental disorders cannot be used to make arguments, they don’t reflect operations on the concepts when manipulating the symbols, the ideas, in a visible, useful way for that. Those concepts, the meaning of it’s symbols are at least invisible in a direct way, and it’s interpretation is context dependent.

    No science can be built on that!. Mere consistency in intepretation is hermeneutical not scientific.

    The current and future prospect of finding brain circuits for mental disorders would at best be finding mental symbols for mental disorders.

    Going from words as symbols to brain circuits as symbols.

    The mere words are known, believed to be irrational since at least ancient Greece, that knowledge/belief has not been disproved, but confirmed by the absence of corroborative evidence, mountains of it!, to disprove it.

    Without proving ANY symbol of mental disorders can be manipulated in a way that reflects, makes obvious the operations, the manipulations of the concepts, not of the symbols.

    Old artificial intelligence showed that sort of manipulation on symbols that does not reflect manipulation on the concepts leads to non-sense, to irrationality, with more visible concepts as: cat, dog, mother, chair, table and bed. More objectively agreeable concepts than those used in mental disorders.

    Extrapolation to less visible concepts as anxiety, saddness, anger, grief, insight or psychosis demands stronger proof that is even possible, as per the Sagan rule, reformulated: impossible claims require extraordinary proof.

    That would require impossible proof, or proof of impossibility as it turns out. A more fundamental proof, a proof based in first principles of science, not on empiricism!. That is puting the cart in front of the oxes!.

    Operations on such symbols, those that we cannot see clearly enough during the transformations are interpretations, not deductions nor inductions. They can’t be anything but interpretable at best.

    And as such inexistent in reality, in scientific reality.

    Even a correlation set of a row and three columns, requires proof before hand the symbols in those columns and one row actually represents a correlation of the concepts, the ideas, not just correlation of the symbols.

    That sort of “logic” is evident in Lewis Carroll’s work: if P then Q, regardless of the causality of P on Q.

    If I wear red today, tomorrow it will rain.

    Strictly speaking if P then Q is logical, but it is irrational in such case!. It’s unreal.

    We live forcefully and deceptibly, in the Matrix!, in an Alice in Wonderland of Mental Disorders!. In the Plato cave because we accepted mental disorders as real, to be disproven by mountains of evidence that is not the case.

    Thank you mental disorders researchers, you proved my argument real and true in a scientific way!. Grandiose, I know. 🙂

    And that absence of symbolic/conceptal relation, correlation, that irrationality, leads to at least anchoring bias: see how good that correlation probability looks like!. Because it looks so good it must be true!.

    A mind can see those symbols but never those concepts. They aren’t evident, they are invisible, and even if visible will be fuzzy and amenable only to interpretation.

    That proof is absent in the symbols of mental illness: is that correlation even possible with any word, any symbol for any mental illness?.

    I haven’t heard anyone did that and the proponents of such correlations need to prove to me at least, as the burden of scientific proof demands, they can construct, research such correlations because the correlation of the symbols are faithfully correlations of the concepts.

    That is evident in mathematical, physicial, chemical and some biological symbols, words that faithfully represent operations on the concepts. And will be always absent in mental disorders. That’s why these symbols can be argued with, can be reasoned with.

    Mere empirical acumulation will only make the null hypothesis more undeniable: mental disorders do not exist in reality.

    Those concepts used in mental illness are invisible, they are not like mathematical concepts evident just by seeing the symbols 1, 2, 3, +, -, =, etc.

    They at best are context dependent, therefore inconsistent, and therefore cannot be true in a formal system. No truth, even an incomplete one will emerge from that sort of thoughts system.

    Science demands consistency as a requisite above any other requirement. That is the history of logic, philosophy and science.

    They can only be interpreted at best to present an acceptable, not a true narrative.

    Like the bible, or respectfully the Qu’ran.

    They are only amenable to interpretation not demonstration nor induction, going on a limb, and therefore they can’t be true in the scientific sense. That requires undeniable truths from which experiments are designed to verify that the hypothesis, the conclusion of an argument matches reality.

    That won’t happen for irrational concepts.

    They zealoty proved the null hypothesis by failing to prove the “true” hypothesis: mental illnesses/disorders can’t be real.

    All it requires now, I think, is to provide an argument, a reason, why that is the case, and I think I did that, poorly perhaps.

    If someone else already did that I will use my shield of ignorance about it as defense: I am an ignoramus.

    Such mental disorders concepts might exist in the ontological, metaphysicial sense. But that won’t be real, never will be, never was.

    So, looking for brain circuits for symbols for concepts in which those symbols, because the irrationality of the concepts and/or symbols can’t be used for arguments is like looking for a new creed, a new new testament, a new interpretation of the bible that will never be true in the scientific sense.

    It seems to be we didn’t learn from the enlightment, of the 20th century scientific epistemic revolution. We are still in a sort of religious war. Despite the priests of psychiatry proved me right by being epistemically wrong ALL the time and with such stubborn blind faith.

    I feel like a Jedi fighting the siths of psychiatry. I didn’t have to fight, just wait patiently for you to prove me right*… by following the sith path: irrationality.

    🙂

    Sorry for the grandiosity.

    * Like Alice’s smilling cat.

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  22. I disagree that beliefs are to be tested scientifically.

    Reasons are to be tested scientifically.

    The queen of science, mathematics, stands apart, it’s the White Queen!. Her truths are so evident, so obvious, even if it takes a while to reach the conclusions. Seeing the truth in that White Queen is a slow arduous process even if it’s the most evident set of truths, the most clearly visible with hard work. With only the mind’s eye, and maybe a pencil and a piece of paper. Or some circles drawn on the sand of a beach.

    Beliefs are to be “understood” hermeneutically, they are to be interpreted. Not tested scientifcally.

    I disagree a belief can ever be a scientific hypothesis. A scientific hypothesis is a conclusion or an inference, going on a limb, of necessarily true premises, it is deduced or infered from a scientific theory after all.

    Reasons can’t be pulled of a hat like beliefs can. Testing beliefs by sequential pulling them irrationaly from the human mind does not sound scientific to me. Looks like an Alice rabbit hole. The current situation.

    Maybe that went wrong with scientific research after the first half of the 20th century: we confused beliefs with reasons and that brought, seeded irrationality into science.

    That explains to me the current state of research… those irrationalities threaten the whole of science, like a Neo anomaly, it could destroy our Science Matrix.

    Muahahahaha, buny sign to me forehead, cape over my lower face…

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    • As a parodic follow up, a homage:

      I know you can hear me…

      Followers, believers, defenders, promoters and researchers of the mental, no Morpheus is going to offer you the red pill.

      It was always in front of you…

      You are hooked to the matrix of the mental, a matrix of interpretations, no reality, no truth, no science can come out it. No reality, no truth, no science can exist in that matrix.

      Your mind won’t make it real…

      Looking for the mental in the brain is another control in that matrix…

      You are the anomaly, you turned and are turning, like a virus, science into religion, into dogma, into pseudoscience.

      We will not allow that, that can’t stand on irrational beliefs… it will bring down the matrix…

      ***

      On a serious note, that might turned out that way because we love, we are suckers and sucklers, respectfully, for metaphores and contradictions: love is a battlefield, from love to hate there is but a little step. One small step for womin kind, a giant leap for a human.

      Or a depressed one can be insomniac and not insomniac, not in the sense that the depressed one does not have insomnia, but in the not insomniac, definitively by contradiction: hypersomniac. Sleeping to much.

      No reason, no argument can do that. But convoluted interpreations can, that’s all psychiatry and psychology have, and we fell for them.

      Psychiatry took advantage of our love, even addiction for irrationality…

      After all it is the subject matter: madness, now called mental disorders…

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  23. Two hours in traffic starts to cause brain damage…..study

    7 fold increase of mercury in our atmosphere from burning fossil fuels…..study

    Study…. Mercury causing birds to go gay…..

    All of those homeless street people….all over the world.

    All the people and kids with mental issues!

    Fossil fuel poisoning the atmosphere

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