Sunday, January 24, 2021

Comments by Steve McCrea

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  • Right you are! What if he said, “Well, we don’t know what really causes depression, but microwave radiation from cell phone towers may play a role?” Everyone would be immediately (and appropriately) up at arms! Science doesn’t speculate, except in the formation of hypotheses. It makes zero sense to share hypotheses that are purely speculative as if they were somehow sharing some budding scientific discovery that is “just around the corner.”

  • “The authors emphasize that many intervention techniques currently available to relieve CMDs miss the mark. Tension exists between some orientations to intervention harbored by mental health professionals, and issues of access and effectiveness continue to compromise the impact of existing supports.”

    This is impressive double-speak! To say that an intervention “misses the mark?” Doesn’t that mean that we are spending money and time and energy on things that DO NOT WORK? If an engineer “misses the mark,” his bridge falls down and he gets fired! And tension between “some orientations” and “effectiveness” seems another way of saying that practitioners continue to insist on using interventions that DO NOT WORK!

    Sounds like job protectionism for the incompetent to me!

  • There were lots of “good people” who participated in atrocities in Nazi Germany, and lots of other places around the world. The Milgram experiment ought to have taught us all that years ago. “Good people” who don’t think for themselves are always vulnerable to being manipulated or “educated” into doing horrible things.

  • His behavior is consistent with a person lacking in ethics and willing to bully and harm others in the interests of pursuing his own goals. His speeches from day one appeared to be calculated to play on peoples’ fears and prejudices and to bring out the worst in terms of hatred and division between Americans. It was also clear from the people he hired and who traveled in his circles that he had criminal connections and engaged in his own personal forms of corruption. Not to mention the constant lying about everything, and his tendency to turn violently against his “friends” as soon as they said or did something he found threatening or even disagreeable. I didn’t even consider his personal life, though of course, it is totally coherent with my observations that he is selfish and bullying and corrupt. (Paying off prostitutes to keep quiet? Cheating on his wife? Bragging about grabbing women’s private parts?)

    As to the insurrection, he started telling everyone back in March or April how the election was going to be “corrupt” because of “fraud” due to voting by mail. It was obvious that this was going to be his backup strategy in the likely case that he lost the election. It became more obvious in the summer how desperate he was, as COVID raged and his popularity ratings tanked. The hiring of a postal service head who intentionally slowed the mails showed just how lacking in any kind of ethics he was. The civil suits aimed to make sure that the mail-in votes (likely to be heavily Democratic due to his previous lies about the unreliability of mail-in votes) were counted last were a pretty obvious ploy to make it look like he was ahead at the start and have Biden catch up later in the evening, leaving him free to claim “victory” before all the votes were counted and to claim “fraud” and being “cheated” out of his supposed victory by those evil mail-in ballots. The eventual end game was for him to inflame his supporters to go to bat to keep him installed as “President for Life” regardless of the electoral count.

    So yes, it was utterly predictable that something of this sort was part of the plan. The “stand by” message to the right-wing militias should have made it obvious to anyone whose eyes were open.

  • Actually, according to quantum mechanics, all matter has both a wave and a particle aspect. The wave aspect of large, solid objects is so small as to be negligible, but when you break it down to a molecular/atomic level, the chair you’re sitting on is a particle/wave phenomenon, and there is an infinitesimal possibility that it could suddenly become empty space and you’ll fall on the floor on your butt!

  • I am actually working on a comedy routine and am ready to roll it out for the public as soon as “open mic night” is back in operation. I call it, “Intelligent design.” I agree with folks that design by a Creator is a reasonable position to take. But then I ask the question, “If we were designed, I have to ask – how intelligent is it?” Of course, psychiatry is going to have a place in the routine at some point.

  • That is my feeling. A person should be removed from office based on their inability/unwillingness to execute the duties of the office with integrity. Corruption, neglect, malfeasance, poor judgment, dishonesty for personal gain, these should be the things that are considered. Behavior, not “diagnosis,” is what matters.

  • There is no data indicating that psychiatrists or psychologists are any better than anyone else at determining levels of dangerousness than the average Joe on the street. And there are plenty who are “diagnosing” him at a distance.

    And BTW, I do consider him very dangerous.

  • I would say that true science has helped accomplish a great deal in terms of technology and knowhow. You can’t program a cell phone or create an electrical grid or fly a plan without science. However, what PASSES for science these days is often corrupted, either by money or desire for status, or the need for society to have “answers” to questions that science can’t address. Psychiatry is NOT a science in any sense of the word. It masquerades as a science and pretends knowledge that it does not have.

    This doesn’t mean a true scientific approach can’t be taken toward human beings. It means that science has to be honest about what its findings are. For instance, 50 years of genetic research has failed to indicate any genetic basis for any “mental illness” identified. This ought to be considered proof that “mental illnesses” don’t have a genetic origin. But this result is not accepted. In fact, psychiatry fails from day one in being a science, in that its terms are not definable by any objective means. If you make up “diagnoses” without any reference to objective observation and measurement, any claim to being “scientific” are already out the window.

  • And so what? If they actually had something worthwhile to offer, it might be worth some risk of offending people or risking some false positives to get them some information. But they offer hopelessness and dependence on life-threatening, soul-flattening drugs that may or may not even work to “reduce the symptoms” of a “disorder” (and may in fact bring about the very “disorder” they’re supposed to address) that there is a 50-50 chance they won’t even develop??? Are these people serious????

  • Wow, is this only the 100th time or so that this finding has been made? Maybe we need to spend 20 more years testing to REALLY make sure that there isn’t the SLIGHTEST correlation…

    They are saying that psych research has a “replication problem.” Maybe that’s because they’re framing it wrong – they DO get replication again and again that their hypotheses and theories ARE WRONG. But since it doesn’t validate their preconceived prejudices, they consider it “failure to replicate” instead of the clear and repeated replication that their hypothesis holds no water.

  • As I read this, I think you’re both right. The DSM is, by design, not based on understanding of “mental health” (whatever they claim it to be), nor is it intended to heal anyone. It was originally a billing manual. But the use of the DSM is determined by people who don’t really want to help. So it is evil because it enables abusive “mental health treatments,” but it enables those because it is designed by people who are actually committed to making sure no one gets better.

  • It certainly does provide all the “cover” needed to do lots of disguised harm and have people believe you know what you’re doing. And the DSM III forward were designed specifically to allow psychiatrists to pretend they were doing “science.” There are no doubt many ways to screw our fellow humans over, but there can be no doubt that the DSM exists for the purpose of making the whole psychiatric worldview/deception viable.

  • There is every indication that the very fact of being “diagnosed” leads to stigma, particularly to the degree that such “diagnoses” are associated with biological explanations for the “diagnosed” person’s suffering. It is built into the psychiatric system – the system itself stigmatizes those it serves as a matter of course. The only way to avoid this kind of “stigma” is to develop a different system.

  • The “free market” is a scam. There is no “free market” today. Even Ayn Rand agreed that “free markets” require a way to avoid monopolization. Real “Free markets” exist only in a social context, where there are rules of competition that are either agreed upon or enforceable. They seem to work well in smaller communities where there are direct and immediate consequences for mistreating community members. But to think that today’s corporate grift and corruption even vaguely approximates a “free market” is a joke. Most of those objecting to “regulations” really just want the regulations that keep them from risk-free profits to be eliminated, and love the regulations that protect their market share. There is a sociopathic drive to “profit” regardless of the social effect, or even the legitimacy of the product, as psych drugs definitively prove. The Koch Brothers, supposedly super-advocates for the “free market,” advocated for increasing taxes on rooftop solar in Oklahoma the minute it started threatening their profits. This kind of thing happens all the time.

    I agree that complacency is a huge part of the problem. Unfortunately, a lot of complacency is disguised apathy by people who don’t see any way to “win” or even break even in the current economic structure. The “criminals on the planet” are running the show, whether through manipulating/corrupting government officials, controlling media messages, undercutting or buying out the competition, destroying small farms/businesses with the assistance of the government, and so forth. How much can even the most vigorous individual do against the evil of Novartis or Monsanto? To challenge this requires organized resistance, no matter how spiritually aware and capable the individuals are. Where does this organizational energy and MONEY come from?

  • Well, I don’t disagree. I think Sanders said “AT LEAST” they should be able to afford to live, and the fact is, people making minimum wage and even well above minimum wage do NOT have enough income to feed and shelter themselves and their families. Clearly, that is a VERY low bar, and yet we fail to achieve it. So yes, something is drastically wrong with a system that values real work so poorly and yet rewards screwing around in the casino of Wall Street producing NOTHING of value so well. Better pay and fewer hours for everyone should be goal #1 to help create a better society. People shouldn’t have to work three jobs to make ends meet when others make $10,000/hour or more. But try to tell that to those benefiting from the status quo.

  • I think you get my drift. People should be paid relative to their contributions. There is no “law” to determine this – it is a matter of personal and group ethics, a subject that sorely needs more study and commitment, obviously. So I agree, spiritual growth is at the center. We don’t need a society where some group enforces the rules on value of work, we need a society where those who are in management recognize and reward the contributions of those who contribute well, or better yet, a collective-type workplace where the group agrees on what people get paid for what work. But that takes emotional/spiritual work and courage, and that seems in short supply in our industrialized, corporatized society.

  • I think the point here is not that we should just give people money. It is that the stress of economic poverty is a huge causal factor in “mental illness” as “diagnosed” by the DSM. Creating a plan to deal with poverty will improve “mental heath” more than an army of therapists ever could. To paraphrase Bernie Sanders, anyone working a full time job should be able to make enough money to pay for food, shelter and the basic necessities of life. So, people should get more money as compensation for the valuable work they are already doing. If this were the case, “mental health” would improve dramatically, as well as the economy expanding due to more people having disposable income. No “communism” necessary!

    Or course, the “mental health” industry will object to any such efforts, as they will lose clients and income. But we can come up with re-education programs to train them to become more productive contributors to society. And those rich criminal types (not all rich people, but a large subset who are getting paid lots for doing little) who are skimming money off the top while producing little to nothing will, of course, object strenuously, but what do we expect from non-productive criminals?

  • In other news, death threats are noted to increase anxiety, and permanent incarceration in a dungeon without charge or hope of release has been linked to depressed mood. It is noted that not all respond to death threats with anxiety, and is postulated that this reaction is due to a chemical malfunction in the region of the amygdala which amplifies the fear response. Of course, those who don’t experience increased anxiety score high on tests of psychopathy, but hey, it seems like psychopaths are better equipped to deal with direct threats to their welfare, which is quite adaptive when confronting other psychopathic killers.

  • The only point I’d disagree with is your use of the terms “contamination and degradation” in regards to psychiatry. Psychiatry was already contaminated and degraded plenty long before neoliberalism arrived. I’m sure they were absolutely thrilled to meet each other, as psychiatry as an institution was already committed to the goal of making money and maintaining the status quo, whatever the cost to its patent base, and they have proven a perfect support for Neoliberalism’s most damaging premises, without having to modify themselves in any way.

  • If the car itself had a flaw which only occurred in one car in 100, but that one driver got killed, I’d care a lot about that, and the fact that you had no trouble with your car would not convince me that the car did not pose a danger to drivers. I hope that distinction is clear. The assertions here are not that someone had an accident with the car, but that there is an “intermittent” problem with the car itself that most people won’t see, but those who do see it can be seriously harmed. This is a very real problem seen frequently in psychiatry. Only one person in 20 becomes psychotic on stimulants at normal dosages, but those 1/20 can be severely impacted. Only perhaps one in 200 have a violent outburst due to being on SSRIs, but those small few include murderers. Should we not tell people that this is a risk, even if the risk is small? It is not reasonable to minimize or dismiss real risks just because they don’t happen that often. The stories being told tell me that such risks are very real and should be taken into account as a person considers this treatment, even if some people choose not to risk it as a result.

  • Posting as moderator:

    As I said before, I expect people to respect that others’ experiences are valid. That goes both ways. It sounds as if some are experiencing your comments as invalidating the experiences of those who have had different experiences than you. It sounds like you have felt the same way about others’ comments. That’s what I am concerned about.

  • Interesting. What are these perceived “barriers to implementation,” and from whom do they come? It seems to me that almost any patient would be foursquare behind being actually told the truth and being consulted before agreeing to a treatment plan. It seems to me that the only barriers to implementation have to come from the rigidity of authoritarian practitioners who want their patients to blindly follow their dictates and are afraid that telling the actual truth will lead to pesky difficulties like the patients actually discovering that these “professionals” don’t actually know what they’re talking about.

  • Posted for KindredSpirit:

    MissDolittle, of course, TMS *can* help people because that’s how the placebo effect works. What hasn’t been demonstrated is that the help you believe you got from your treatment should somehow have more weight than the stories of harm from those who were not helped by this treatment. There will always be people who feel that TMS or ECT or psych drugs helped them. There will always been people for whom these treatments were neither helpful nor harmful. But we also have to sit with and reconcile the pain from those who’ve been deeply harmed by these treatments.

    You seem to think “screw you, I’ve got mine” is a reasonable response to someone else sounding the alarm about the damage these treatments have and continue to cause to people who weren’t as lucky as you.

    You haven’t done anything to prove the efficacy of TMS, only your lack of compassion.

  • I am concerned when you say you don’t care what anyone else says. TMS may have worked for you AND harmed others. Does it not concern you that others may have been harmed? Does it invalidate your success that other people may not have experienced the same thing? It is OK that you found it very helpful and other people found it unhelpful?

  • Commenting as moderator:

    I am not speaking to a particular poster in saying this, but I think it needs to be said.

    I think this discussion will be a lot more productive if each person allows that others may have had different experiences, and not try to “explain” how other peoples’ experiences have happened. I think we need to respect that different people experience the world differently, and the fact that something “works” for one person does not mean the other person’s experiences are not due to the “something” that person one feels like works for them. Or vice-versa.

    It seems to me that the science on TMS is not very well determined, and the “science” on “mental health” is almost completely absent. So we’re going to get into different opinions and experiences, and that’s OK. Especially when dealing with something as amorphous as “depression,” there is no reason to believe or expect that any two people will have the same experience just because they’re both feeling “depressed.”

  • I fully acknowledge not knowing what these things mean, mostly because I don’t think they mean anything specific, but are simply descriptive syndromes that don’t really hang together in terms of cause.

    As for politeness, I find it perfectly viable to be both polite and firm. Of course, there are people who won’t respond to politeness, but that’s no reason to toss it out in every single case. There are plenty of people who will listen better if the person speaking doesn’t start off being presumptuous and offensive. I save that for those who don’t seem to be capable of hearing things presented more rationally. Which, admittedly, is a lot more common in this particular field of endeavor.

  • I have a hard time thinking there can be a unitary cause for psychosis, since we know that it can be caused by things as disparate as several days of no sleep and excessive stimulants and childhood sexual molestation and living in an urban environment. But I’m interested to hear – what does Jung say is the cause? I have read some of Jung’s work but this one has not come to my attention. And any explanation that gets away from brain-blaming seems very worth considering to me.

  • The point of putting quotation marks around “psychosis” is not to deny such experience exists, but to take away the implication that “psychosis” is a “thing” that can be viewed as a unity. It’s an experience that has many potential causes, which have been lumped together into one purported entity for purposes of making money and saving the trouble of having to seek out the actual causes.

    Tell you what – I won’t correct your language in the future, and you don’t correct mine. If you wonder why I’m using a particular convention, maybe you could ask instead of assuming and telling me my own reasons? It would seem a lot more polite to me.

  • If I had a repair manual for a lawnmower and tried to apply it to an airplane engine, you’d be pretty disturbed if I said, “If somebody has something better…” you’d think that I was pretty stupid or unethical. Either the model works or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t work, you work on developing a new model. You don’t continue using the model that doesn’t work, and you especially don’t claim that the principles of this model apply to the situations where we know they do not apply.

  • I agree 100%. There are the intentionally evil, a small cadre in charge, and a lot of dupes or petty tyrants who go along with the program. None of it is designed to assist those receiving the “aid.” There are many things that can be done which are not conceived or are actively suppressed by the “mental health authorities” because they disturb the larger agenda of making money and keeping people from gathering together to protest.

  • Actually, I don’t think you get what I’m saying. I’m not suggesting that “lived experience” per se automatically gives one natural authority. It is based on one’s competence in accomplishing the tasks at hand. And you’re right, hierarchy does seem to be a natural outgrowth of human groups. I’m saying that the optimum situation is where the official “authorities” conform as best they can to natural authorities, and that such authorities that do exist in the hierarchy respect the fact that their position does not preclude someone else knowing more than they do about a subject, and that the ostensible “subordinates” don’t assume that the authorities automatically know what they’re doing.

  • I find the ability to temporarily step out of one’s own biases is helpful to making rational decisions. But I agree, engagement is inherently subjective, and trying to permanently remove subjectivity is a road to a dark place.

  • I would say that I DO respect professional expertise whenever it is demonstrated. The problem is, a doctorate is neither necessary nor sufficient proof of “professional expertise.” I’ve know PhDs and MDs who were so incompetent and/or malfeasant as to be extremely dangerous, and I’ve known volunteer crisis line counselors who were incredibly capable and successful in helping their charges consistently and effectively. I don’t really see a direct relationship between training and professional expertise, especially in the “helping professions,” and the pretense that such a relationship exists is part of why the current system fails so badly. I mean, why would someone trained as a medical doctor be expected to have ANY expertise in helping people with emotional/spiritual/behavioral problems they might identify? Let alone the expertise to “diagnose” such people according to the subjective and largely arbitrary rules of the DSM? It’s kind of like hiring a plumber to repair your car.

  • I meant in a large public forum like the WSJ. I know there are plenty of people (like me) who don’t think getting an advanced degree confers some special status on you that entitles you to a special name. But purposely writing an article in a national journal saying that someone shouldn’t be called “doctor” specifically because they’re the First Lady smacks of sexism to me.

  • As to whether it is “sexist” or not, I think the question to ask is, have you ever heard this kind of argument being used to tell a man not to call himself “Doctor?” And how would it fly if a high-ranking male cabinet member were called “kiddo?”

    It is, at best, intentionally demeaning. Of course, I don’t call my doctors “Doctor X” anyway, so she wouldn’t be getting that honorific from me, but I wouldn’t try to rub it in by writing an article or do a TV bit about it!