Monday, September 24, 2018

Comments by Steve Spiegel

Showing 100 of 398 comments. Show all.

  • Sad fact: if it is “science” that supports psychiatry, it is pseudoscience. It is pseudoscience to claim that 80% (of a small sampling) of FEP subject participants were deficient in vitamin D without noting that 75% of the general population is considered deficient in vitamin D. My source is the top entry from my Google search for vitamin D deficiency from a Scientific American article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/414878). The balance of the BS can be attributed to Confirmation Bias and/or Experimenter Bias.

  • The “othering process” is problematic but I believe that the following statement is more problematic; “we all experience distress at some point in our lives” This statement erroneously implies that distressful experiences are similar- that the distressful experiences of community leaders are similar to the distressful experiences of the marginalized and disenfranchised. I believe that this false assumption provides psychiatry with substantial false legitimacy and should be criticized whenever possible.

  • Thank you for your article and allowing me to comment. Freudians might want to re-visit this statement; “The “Autism war” turned out to be very costly for psychoanalysts.” The rate of “autism” was documented at 1:2000 before Freudian theory was abandoned by psychiatry; the rate is now documented at 1:59.

    I believe that psychiatry pathologizes emotional suffering (and coping styles deemed disabling) as a generally unrecognized tool of social control of the marginalized and disenfranchised. I believe that this is changing as criticism of psychiatry increases; consistently, I encourage Freudians to revisit the “autism wars” to address the epidemic of “autism.”

  • It sounds like you are an empathetic counselor that provides valuable assistance to the marginalized. However, I disagree with the implication of following statement: “Binary distinctions between ‘service users’ and ‘professionals’ … are often unhelpful as we all experience distress at some point in our lives.” I believe that different life circumstances naturally produce radically different intensity of distress and that few experience the intensity of emotional pain experienced by the least fortunate in the community. Thus describing some people acting “markedly differently to the way most people generally handle situations in their lives” discounts their unusually distressful experiences.

  • I am sorry to hear you needing to defend your mother against the injustice of the “mental health system” and a culture that has little time or patience for “old folks.” I am reminded of my experiences with my elderly mother after my father died; her doctor tortured her by treating her natural emotional suffering like a mysterious brain disease. Her doctor could have helped a little with a sincere comment of empathy for her plight but instead caused her more pain by pathologizing her natural suffering.

  • I am sorry that I am struggling with my own issues and have no ability to assist you more than offering a few suggestions. Perhaps there are some counselors or “peer specialists” in your area that could assist in getting you started with volunteer work and addressing unfair invasions into your world.

    “Restorative justice” is rare and difficult to achieve in this world; people want to move past their mistakes (learn from them rather than pay restitution for them). That is why my suggestions center on seeking personal justice through seeking justice for others in similar circumstances.

  • I agree that “MIA is not fighting hard enough for restorative justice or even due process for juveniles”, but whose fault is it. MIA is comprised of individuals with a multitude of different complaints about the harm caused by the current “mental health system.” MIA is not a homogeneous entity; it fights only as hard as the sum of our collective voices including yours.

    I agree that coercion causes the harm and that if we could stop the coercion we would stop the harm, but it is the legitimacy of psychiatry that legitimizes (causes) the coercion. Psychiatry advocates that some people are “mentally ill”- not of “sound mind.” Our society compassionately seeks medical assistance (psychiatry) for people when they are “mentally ill” and “not responsible” for their “antisocial” behaviors. Thus the coercion is widely considered “compassionate care” rather than terrifying “human rights abuses”; this is based on the legitimacy of psychiatry. Psychiatry legitimizes coercive “treatments”; you cannot stop the coercion while psychiatry retains legitimacy.

  • A child should never be the target of abuse; I am sorry that society failed you.

    Evidently, forty years ago you behaved in a manner that was labeled a “hate crime”; these types of behaviors are hopefully unwanted in our society. Evidently, you consider this an unjust label for your behavior that continues to give you grief as an unfair reflection of who you are. You seem to have a problem distancing yourself from people who want to unfairly label you. Consistently, you seem illogically frustrated about an inability to enlighten others about their unjust attitude towards you while describing how their attitudes serve a valuable purpose for them.

    I do not know you, and even if I did know you, any advice I offer could be completely wrong (so I hope others will chime in with criticism of my advice or offer better suggestions). Nevertheless, may I suggest you first try to understand whether you feel guilt about the 1981 incident, anger about misplaced blame for the incident, or both. If you feel guilt about the incident, I suggest that you spend time “clearing your conscience”; counter the guilt with behaviors that make you deserving of forgiveness. Thus if the incident targeted a specific race, gender, religion, etc., spend time supporting an organization that defends the rights of the targeted group. On the other hand, if you feel anger about being the “fall guy” for problems in different social circles, I suggest that you spend time countering the anger about misplaced blame. Specifically, I suggest that you support organizations that defend children against child abuse; it seems like you would be a passionate advocate for disenfranchised children. If you feel both guilt and anger about the 1981 incident, then I suggest that you spend time addressing both issues.

    Best wishes, Steve

  • I appreciate your willingness to allow me to respectfully disagree with you; I agree with your hypothesis but disagree with your conclusion. I agree with your hypothesis: “But the only way out of the epidemic of feeling-people-turned-medicated-psychiatric-patients is to rebrand and reframe feeling as a cultural collective.” But I disagree with your conclusion; “Thus, healing from depression necessarily involves a reframing of beliefs and a shifting of mindset around the meaning of this emotional bandwidth and more inclusive orientation.”

    While much of your article implies that sadness is a natural human emotion, your conclusion implies that sadness is not directly related to sad experiences. Within the current psychology paradigm that pathologizes sadness, it may be difficult to understand the natural, direct connection. I contend that depressing experiences cause depression and that “healing” from depression involves avoiding depressing experiences. This typically means understanding causation (that can be difficult within the current psychology paradigm) and thereafter avoiding or countering the causal experiences. Unfortunately, it may be difficult to figure how to avoid significantly depressing experiences in our society today. Nevertheless, “clinical depression” pathologizes natural depression (especially of the marginalized and disenfranchised) that typically starts within a family nexus but is not limited therein.

    The only way out of the epidemic of “feeling-people-turned-medicated-psychiatric-patients” is to reframe sadness as the natural response to sad experiences (and reframe depression as the natural response to depressing experiences). People experience the world differently; depressed victims of incestuous rape will generally “heal” faster with “justice” (an acknowledgement of the atypical injustice and a concerted effort by the community to “right the wrong”) than by rebranding the experience.

  • The DSM pathologizes the problem with “Attachment Reactive Disorder” but I do not believe a word of it.

    I believe that we initially learn to understand the world through our parents; during formative years, we learn about happiness and how to achieve it and learn about distress and how to avoid it. If parents struggle to achieve emotional well-being, their children will often perceive of the world as cruel and unjust. This is traumatic for children (an Aversive Childhood Experience) and promotes sympathy for their parents’ plight and an attachment to the family. However, Aversive Childhood Experiences are often caused by abusive parental behaviors that make the relationship problematic. It might be preferable for children to believe that their parents are just plain crazy for targeting them unjustly for abuse (in contrast to the rest of the world) so it is easier to detach from the dysfunction and start anew.

  • Toddlers predominately learn stress from their parents; I contend that cultural stress is causing parents increasing stress that is problematic (confusing/distracting/distressful) for childhood development.

    There is no general consensus about the statistics for “autism”; general confusion about the statistics prompted my questioning your figure (I was not mocking a math error). The baseline for my statistics comes from scientific research during 1980-2000; the CDC now rejects all statistics before 2000 as under-reported, but I do not. The CDC started over about 2000 with a much higher figure of 1:400-800 “based on better accounting” of the newly defined “spectrum.” Thereafter the CDC claimed better accounting for a 1:170 statistic until better accounting now promotes the 1:59 figure. The CDC claims no significant increase in “autism” while I claim that their own statistics since 2000 describe an epidemic. I do not know the real statistics (as if that is possible) but I did not want to let a “60-fold increase” pass unchallenged when I was defensive about my statistics of a 30-fold increase.

  • Specifically, I do not know what caused the behaviors expressed in the video referenced above but I believe that these types of behaviors generally express environmental stress (“an increase in cultural stress on children to ‘achieve’”). I believe that this is a “neuro-developmental” problem caused by an environmental change to a more stressful culture for children. I do not believe that radiation from modern technology can account for the epidemic. BTW, I have not heard of references to an increase in “autism” greater than 30-fold (which is a staggering figure).

  • I believe that an increase in cultural stress on children to “achieve” is a large part of the problem. This is harmful to childhood development especially when any faltering from childhood “success” is widely pathologized.

    Pediatricians discount the epidemic because anti-vaxers have tied the increase to vaccines and are thereby causing a different childhood health problem of distrust of vaccines. This sad situation reminds me of Antipsychiatry discounted because people want to associate it with Scientology.

  • Mania expresses desperation; mania is excitement that expresses desperation for relief from emotional suffering. Consistently, mania is generally associated with depression: “manic-depression” (relabeled “‘bi-polar’ disorder” to promote pathologizing). Mania and excitement are both “healthy” in that both are natural, normal reactions to personal experience but mania is substantially different than regular excitement.

  • Marilyn made a statement that seemed critically important to me: “Deeper family issues regarding the parent’s marriage and in-law problems would also need to be addressed.” Intruding parents are typically the “in-laws” that cause most marriage problems; I made an assumption. However, marriage problems that include an inability to manage intrusions from any in-laws seem problematic.

  • You misunderstood me; I do not “blame the parents.” Marilyn stated that Adam’s parents had marriage and in-law problems; this sounds like a hostile environment. I do not blame Adam’s parents for having marital problems, but until they can solve their issues, it seems like their young child will have difficulty solving his. I rarely consider “blame” because life is often really difficult and our community offers little assistance for parents.

    When parents are struggling to manage their own lives, parenting a child can be a nightmare and children can seem like “beasts.” However, I do not believe that any young child has “horrible… innate tendencies.”

  • I disagree. Adam’s parents are struggling with marriage problems and he is struggling to find emotional well-being in the hostile environment; Adam has a “family environment” problem rather than a “temperament” problem. Adam’s temper tantrums are expressions of frustration that he learned from his parents’ struggles; he does not have a made-up disease (“oppositional defiant disorder”). Adam’s parents need counseling to address their inability to manage their parents and create a happy, stable environment for themselves and their child. Adam’s parents are struggling and he is confused about the hostile environment; he is not the problem in this scenario. However, I assume that he is the problem in other scenarios that include classmates and teachers. Until Adam’s “kind” parents can provide a stable, friendly family environment, they should be the focus of therapy.

  • Yes, money is a large factor especially after “practicing” for a while and finding the field frustrating from outside criticism and little career “success” with “clients.” But a larger factor that drives the “industry” (and promotes recruiting) is the substantial (albeit diminishing) public admiration for psychiatrists as “high priests” of our culture. Psychiatrists are the “high priests” of our secular religion of “scientism” (“science” addressing philosophy) that pathologizes the sadness of the disenfranchised as a tool of social control (thank you Szasz).

  • Excuse me; it was late and I misspoke. I intended to say that it is not a medical problem and Szasz failed to articulate that fact “with a simple, medical (biological) criticism.” I could be wrong since I have not read all of Szasz, but I believe that a simple biological (medical) criticism of psychiatry (as I outline above) is important and I have not read this from Szasz.

    However, I did not mean to reference Szasz without more reverence; he was the first and remains the most articulate critic of the calamity of psychiatry’s pseudoscience.

  • Regardless of whether we consider it a natural science problem or a spiritual problem, it is not a medical problem and Szasz failed to articulate that fact. Szasz failed to make a strong medical argument against psychiatry: 1) medical science (health science) is based on biology, 2) biology is based on understanding physical body mechanisms, and 3) since psychiatry addresses philosophy (the philosophy of “mind”), it is biological, medical pseudoscience by definition.

  • Question: do psychiatrists believe their own words? Answer: sorta.

    Psychiatrists believe that mental distress is a medical problem. Psychiatrists understand that there are problems with their theories but assume that they are on the right track and that science will catch up to them (“fake it till you make it”). Psychiatry is secular religion; scientific logic is unsettling for some “high priests” but their faith is heavily vested.

  • I agree with most criticisms of a “man box”, but believe that a different “man box” is causing most suicides: “white male privilege.” Suicide statistics may be heavily skewed towards men but they are also heavily skewed towards white men. There is substantial racism and sexism in our community that often promotes substantially less empathy for the emotional suffering of white men.

  • Upon reconsideration, I believe that existential problems are social welfare problems about interpreting the environment, and agree that typical social welfare problems can cause existential problems. However, I do not believe that existential problems are as common as other types of mental distress. I believe that poor nutrition and poor sleep habits cause far more mental distress than existential problems. More importantly, I believe that the reality of distressful experiences or distressful life circumstances (a hostile environment) is the predominate cause of mental distress. The article seems to imply that mental distress is predominately a problem of interpreting the environment; I consider it predominately a problem caused by hostile environments.

    More to my point is my contention that all emotions are real (natural reflections of personal experience) and should never be discounted.

  • Thank you for your community service; you provide some great advice on comforting the afflicted in the community.

    However, you address mental distress as an existential problem rather than a social welfare problem, and discount the authenticity of emotions (“Remind them, though, that they are simply feeling a feeling; probably an ancient feeling that they were told wasn’t safe to feel early on in their lives.”). In contrast, I contend that all emotions are real, natural responses to distressful experiences and are important to confront and desensitize.

  • I believe that this is an important blog; it identifies two great fallacies of psychiatry. First, psychiatry implies that human interactions are generally civil- that people generally treat each other with a minimum of “common decency and respect.” In reality, the community often treats people cruelly and denies them justice. Secondly, psychiatry implies that human cruelty does not cause emotional suffering- that unjust social ostracizing does not cause emotional suffering- emotional pain. Psychiatry denies our humanity.

  • It seems like the bigger problem is the erroneous belief that “mental health” refers to “health” instead of natural emotional suffering or coping styles deemed “antisocial” (non-conforming, non-productive, disruptive). Human rights violations against people experiencing mental distress are predicated on the assumption that “mental illness” has robbed people of their natural, normal judgment processes; hence, they need saving from themselves.

  • I agree with the main point of your article; psychiatry pathologizes disruptive (“non-productive” and “non-conforming”) coping styles- behavior patterns it deems “anti-social”).

    However, I disagree with a common assumption underlying your conclusion that “We are all driven to find ways to adapt — some are called ill and others healthy.” Personal histories and life circumstances are not similar; whether coping styles are considered ill or healthy depends on what experiences people are adapting. There is a reason that the coping skills of cultural leaders are considered healthy while the coping skills of the marginalized and disenfranchised are considered ill.

    When I became disenfranchised from the community, I learned something important about emotions; they are feelings directly related to personal experience. Our culture intellectualizes emotions but emotions are understood physically; affirming feelings of emotional well-being feel happy and distressful experiences feel sad (adverse). I only recognized emotions as physical “feelings” when my previous energetic sensations of happiness were contrasted with the sensation of extreme emotional pain following trauma. My life became so constantly painful that I was hardly able to sense physical trauma; my “coping style” expressed my desperation for relief.

  • We need to document the history of genetic “breakthroughs” to give context to each new proclamation. The history of false promises should shine light on the corruption of career building that allows such BS to pass for legitimate science. As Steve clearly explains above, the genetics of research subjects blatantly disprove the conclusions of the genetic “research.”

  • Unfortunately, it is logical to believe that psychiatry is a valuable, biological (medical) perspective of mental distress since it is an accredited medical (biological) science. Medical schools will pay a high price for legitimizing the pseudoscience of psychiatry and the calamity of pathologizing natural emotional suffering (natural, painful reactions to distressful experiences).

  • Great question; I hope we get several answers.

    My answer: because “mental health” is an oxymoron that implies that something “mental” (a philosophical concept) can have “health” (a physical attribute). This is a harmful misnomer because it implies that natural emotional suffering (emotional pain) is a health problem regardless of personal circumstances. Hence, the term “mental health” maligns the marginalized in our community by pathologizing sadness (emotional pain)

  • Thank you for this valuable article; I agree with most of it but also agree with those who feel that the term “neurodiversity” implies support for erroneous concepts of “saneism.”

    I believe that we will know when we overthrow the “mental health” system when psychiatry is no longer an accredited medical science. The process of delegitimizing psychiatry should expose “mental health” as a pseudoscientific hoax that maligns the marginalized. The process of delegitimizing psychiatry should also end the hoaxes by promoting an understanding of emotional suffering (and other naturally painful problems with living) as natural and conflating “mental illness” with “demonic possession.”

  • I understand the history of psychiatry; it is the “medicalized model” of “problems with living.” I contend that the term “medical model” falsely implies medical (biological) legitimacy. In contrast, I consider the “disease model” to imply that psychiatry is describing a medical problem but that other options (like wellness) exist. Hence, “medical model” and “disease model” are not the same thing.

  • The “Medical Model” did originate with people who were critical of “Biological Psychiatry” and its form of “treatment,” but it has the opposite affect. “Biological Psychiatry” is a redundancy (since psychiatry is currently an accredited medical, biological science) that is intended to promote biological legitimacy for psychiatry. “Biological Psychiatry” replaced Freudian Psychiatry to significantly expand the range of non-medical problems that psychiatry addresses, but both forms of psychiatry seek medical (biological) science legitimacy for treating non-medical problems. Psychiatry promotes a “Disease Model” of non-medical problems; the term “Medical Model” erroneously implies that their BS has anything to do with real medical (biological) science.

  • Unfortunately, I agree. I usually describe “problems with living” as “emotional suffering” but that also tends to lack the proper connotation of severity; I described anxiety and depression as “painful” because that is more accurate. Emotional suffering is painful and extreme emotional suffering is constantly as painful as a police taser (and can thereby nullify a taser’s intended affect). The popular paradigm controls the vocabulary so challenging it can cause vocabulary problems.

    Best wishes, Steve

  • I disagree with a couple assumptions made in this article. First, I consider the “medical model” to be a misnomer; it gives credibility to the “disease model” of natural problems with living. The “medical model” falsely implies that psychiatry has any medical (biological) legitimacy. Second, I disagree with describing problems with living as “dysfunctional states.” Emotional suffering (and other natural problems with living) may be undesirable and may appear dysfunctional within our cultural paradigm, but that does not make them dysfunctional. A “dysfunctional state” implies a “mental disorder” which implies “dysfunctional biology.” Distressful experiences naturally cause painful anxiety and depressing experiences naturally cause painful depression; these experiences can be debilitating and unpleasant to witness, but they are not dysfunctional.

  • “But somehow, if you are a ‘neurological … minority’, you aren’t entitled to acceptance and accommodation, only ostracism and coercion. It’s not at all surprising that such institutionalized bullying drives people to seek death — often a better alternative than ‘treatment.’” This statement addresses my disagreement with your article. I do not believe that you are part of a “neurological minority;” we are all part of a common humanity that seeks acceptance. I understand “neurological minority” to be a positive spin on “mental ill” rather than an understanding that “mental illness” is a myth and that injustice (institutional bullying) naturally causes painful emotional suffering. I believe that injustice and the pseudoscience of psychiatry are to blame for your motivation to end your life; I hope you will instead choose to continue to advocate for social justice.

  • Thank you (and Steve) for your community service in supporting the disenfranchised. I believe that there is widespread corruption throughout mainstream “mental health” care because it defers its most fundamental understanding of “mental health” to psychiatry and psychiatry lacks legitimacy. Psychiatry pathologizes sadness (emotional pain) and other natural problems with living (behaviors considered “socially unacceptable” but not criminal); “mental illness” is a myth. I am not an Antipsychiatrist because psychiatrists are corrupt, over-prescribe drugs, and make mistakes; I am an Antipsychiatrist because “mental illness” is a harmful hoax.

  • For someone suffering emotionally, a “placebo” is hope for relief; hope is a powerful force that promotes solutions to real problems with living. For someone suffering emotionally, a “nocebo” is hopelessness for relief; hopelessness is a powerful force that hinders solving real problems in life. Neither drugs nor mechanical implants can solve real problems in life; they hinder solutions and are often powerful nocebos that can promote suicide.

  • Richard, I do not believe that there are any “necessary political alliances needed to accomplish this goal.” It would be nice if a maligned group wanted to ally with us but I do not envision that as a possibility. Political groups align with each other to advance their own causes- not because they feel a philosophical alignment. Since the stigma of a “mental illness” is worse than most others, few political groups gain any advantage by aligning with us.

    Single-issue political groups that center on human rights or disability rights seem like our only true allies. I concur with most of your criticism of psychiatry but I do not consider it representative of a political group. Regardless, I believe that you underestimate the power (and number) of those maligned by psychiatry to avenge their abuse when they become fully aware of the nature of the hoax and reach a “critical mass.”

  • I understand Richard to say that the definition of “scientism” has two different (almost opposite) meanings and that its use to discredit science is now more common than its use to discredit pseudoscience. However, I do not want to concede the definition of “scientism” to the “establishment;” it is important to have a term that describes pseudoscientific overreach. Psychiatry is my definition of “scientism!”

  • This is a great article and a valuable community service; thank you.

    I believe that psychiatry is plagued with scientism because it is seeking the impossible; scientific legitimacy. Psychiatry seeks legitimacy as a medical science that addresses nonexistent biological (medical) malfunctioning in the minds/brains of people who experience natural emotional suffering (or other natural problem with living). Psychiatry is pseudoscience by definition; a medical (biological) science cannot address a philosophy of “mind.” Neurology is the medical science that addresses medical problems with behavior; psychiatry is “medical” pseudoscience that pathologizes natural emotional suffering (and other natural problems with living).

  • I am an Antipsychiatrist because I believe that “mental illness” is a myth promoted by psychiatry; consistently, DSM definitions of “mental disorders” generally describe natural emotional suffering (or other natural problems with living). I accept the World Health Organization definition of “mental health” as “emotional well-being” but assume that emotions are natural while the WHO considers them diseases (without any biological support).

    I am dancing a fine line with definitions. “Mental health” generally connotes something physical; in contrast, I use the term as a social judgment about the relative desirability of different emotions (and behaviors). I believe that everyone has the right to “mental health” (positive emotions). I also believe that human rights promote “emotional health” (“mental health”) and that human rights violations predominately cause “poor ‘mental health’” (emotional suffering and other natural problems with living). Consistently, I agree with MHE about the right to “mental health” (“emotional well-being”) free of human rights abuses, and support your efforts.

    However, I do not understand how “mental health” can be promoted while simultaneously accepting the legitimacy of psychiatry- a “medical science” that assumes that emotional suffering (or other natural problem with living) is instead a disease.

  • I respectfully disagree with your implication that psychiatry represents biology. Neurology represents biology while psychiatry is fundamentally pseudoscience; a biology of “mind” is pseudoscience by definition. Consistently, no DSM diagnosis will ever have a biological basis because mental distress is human biology (the natural reaction to distressful experiences)- not a disease. Our culture supports “hard science” over “soft science;” any implication of psychiatric credibility as real biology is a disservice to the disenfranchised.

  • I am an antipsychiatrist because I consider mental distress to be natural emotional suffering or other natural problem with living. Psychiatry implies that mental distress is a medical problem by virtue of it being a medical specialty; this worsens natural problems with living by ignoring real causation (and drugging real emotions).

  • I believe that Szasz was an “Antipsychiatrist” (common usage of the term) because he believed that “mental illness” was a myth. Szasz abhorred the term because he was an anti-authoritarian and supported any “contractual” relationship between adults (including one whereby a “psychiatrist” preaches mumbo jumbo).

  • “The researchers attempted to control for a number of alternative explanations, which makes their case much stronger” but did not control for the obvious explanation. It seems unbelievable that they failed to consider that growing up with parents considered “clinically depressed” is distressful (naturally causes increased emotional problems). It is not fair to children to have so many negative (depressing) messages directed at their parents; it causes inter-generational problems.