Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Comments by Steve Spiegel

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  • I understand appreciating “critical psychiatry” for providing most of the academic support for abolishing psychiatry; however, our goals are radically different. The “tenets of psychiatry are faulty… (anti-psychiatrists) see reform as having a tendency, irrespective of intent, to reinforce the status quo (Burstow, MIA, 10/26/2014).”

    A slash is punctuation used to identify “non-contrasting terms.” Anti-psychiatry and critical psychiatry may be non-contrasting terms under specific circumstances: “anti-psychiatry/critical psychiatry” believe that psychiatrists over-prescribe drugs.” However, anti-psychiatry and critical psychiatry are philosophically contrasting terms that should not be combined.

  • Congratulations; your scholarship is quite a feat and quite a legacy!

    However, I do not understand one concluding remark: “May they help us slowly but surely turn antipsychiatry/critical psychiatry into an accepted form of knowledge.” I do not understand including “critical psychiatry;” I thought you made a strong case for anti-psychiatry (an abolitionist movement) and understand “critical psychiatry” to be a reformist movement. I do not understand how to reform psychiatry (a “medical science”) from pathologizing natural emotional suffering (seeking medical legitimacy).

    Best wishes, Steve Spiegel

  • Thank you for your community service in challenging NAMI corruption; however, I disagree with you, Frank and Oldhead about making NAMI a focus of criticism. Our society holds medical science in highest esteem; it seems ill-advised to focus criticism of mainstream “mental health” care at NAMI for advocating support for medical science (and their “medicines”).

    I contend that the harm caused by mainstream “mental health care” can be directly attributed to legitimized pseudoscience: psychiatry accepted as a legitimate medical science. Medical schools are having problems with students who “bash psychiatry as not real medical science;” these students are our greatest allies. Medical schools legitimizing psychiatry is our greatest and weakest enemy since they pride themselves on real science.

  • Thank you for your community service; your work has insured you a prestigious place in history!

    However, I respectfully disagree with one premise. In 1980, psychiatry abandoned Freudian Theory and lumped neuroses (problems with living) together with their established “diseases” (psychoses); thus, psychiatry “doubled-down” on the “disease model” rather than “adopted” it. Addressing neuroses (social welfare problems) hurt psychiatry’s legitimacy as a medical science so they redefined them as psychoses- medical problems (and abandoned Freudian Theory). Psychiatry has always been based on the “disease model” since it considers itself a medical science.

    Your recommendation is a good one; challenge medical students on the legitimacy of their science (or their field). I advocate that mental distress is a social welfare problem and that “First, do no harm” is impossible when believing that natural human suffering from traumatic injustices (or physical problems) is a disease.

    Thank you for allowing me to comment on your article and your work in challenging the harm of long-term drug “therapy.”

    Best wishes, Steve Spiegel

  • Psychology’s neuroscience is pure pseudoscience; it contradicts the most basic principle of every science that informs it. Psychology’s neuroscience contradicts the most fundamental tenet of biology, physiology, natural science and general science theory; it also contradicts the most fundamental principle of the philosophy of science.

    Psychology’s neuroscience uses neuroscience research to support the status quo, but the foundation of the research is all pseudoscience. Thereafter, they are comfortable describing how addictive drugs can “capture the individual’s motivation system” but cannot explain what the hell it means to “capture” a motivation system?

  • “One fundamental mistake I believe is repeatedly made today when it comes to working with those who feel disenfranchised, marginalized, discounted, or discriminated against is believing that the opposite response must be the best response.”

    This sentence clearly states the problem. Those “who feel disenfranchised” are at the bottom of a social pecking order of emotional abuse; their “unusual beliefs and behaviors” generally reflect the emotional pain. The “opposite response” is by far “the best response:” emotional support is the best response to traumatic injustice (and behaviors that reflect emotional suffering). It is difficult to empathize with emotional suffering without experiencing true misfortune; emotional suffering is not a disease. Believing emotional suffering to be unnatural leads counselors to discount the distress caused by traumatic injustice and to exaggerate their ability to solve a client’s distressful life circumstances. If a child writes a parent a note “I hate miself,” the parent should not be thinking that their child has a spelling problem.

  • This article clarifies what confuses me about popular criticism of psychology at this website. I am an anti-psychiatrist because psychiatry is pseudoscience; it has no legitimate (scientific) connection to neuroscience and biology (biological reductionism). In contrast, the author (and most psychology critics) wrongly assumes that psychiatry represents a biological reductionism perspective. Critics understand that psychiatry is without scientific support but they seem fearful that real neuroscience might eventually support psychiatry instead of assuming that real neuroscience will prove psychiatry wrong!

  • I said repeatedly that physical health directly affects “mental health,” and that prior to understanding the basics of nutrition, nutritional deficiencies were the main source of “mental health” problems. What is trite is arguing that nutritional deficiencies that were understood centuries ago could still be the main source of “mental health” problems. You are suggesting that psychiatry should morph into gastroenterology without support from gastroenterologists.

  • I clearly state that nutrition greatly influences “mental health” in the first sentence and assume that it was the predominate influence circa Hippocrates. However, today in the US, socially distressful experiences are the predominate cause of mental distress. What I said was illogical is replacing the old medical model (of mystery diseases) with a new one based on dietary problems. Consistently, a new medical model paradigm of dietary problems continues to advocate that injustice and socially distressful experiences do not affect “mental health.”

  • I advocate a free, unified alternative therapies program that includes Nutritional Therapy because better nutrition (better physical health) promotes better “mental health” (UnifiedAlternatives.org). However, claiming that mental distress is caused by nutritional deficiencies and solved by improved nutrition is advocating a new “medical model” that seems illogical for numerous reasons.

  • I also believe that John Read has done valuable work but I criticize his questioning whether we are should “soften our criticism of psychiatry” to reach more psychiatrists. Psychiatry is a medical science causing great harm to the community by leading the treatment of human suffering as a medical problem; psychiatry is a medical perspective of human suffering. Softening criticism of psychiatry affords them some level of credibility in addressing human suffering; this is counter-productive. All of the harm caused by psychiatry is founded on the erroneous assumption that mental distress is a medical problem that often alludes self-awareness.

  • This statement is completely true: “The terminology of psychiatry’s disease model permeates what are actually severe problems in living.” In contrast, I consider the ISPS use of the term “psychotic mental disorder” to describe mental distress in terminology of psychiatry. ISPS implies that “mental disorders” are medical problems that are better addressed through non-medical therapies (social welfare therapies). Consistently, John Read advocates this position when considering whether to work with psychiatry.

    It is harmful to the “mental health” of the community to treat “problems with living” as medical problems; consistently, it is wrong to give psychiatry (a medical profession) any credibility in addressing “psychosis.”

  • What I believe:
    “Depression and anxiety may be familiar to all of us to some degree, but … I think that true psychotic experiences are rare” “True psychotic experiences are rare” because the extreme distressfulness of the experiences that produce “psychotic experiences” are rare.

    “Therefore I do not think it makes sense to suggest that psychosis is on a continuum with normal experience.” “True psychotic experiences are rare” on a bell-curve that plots the distressfulness of experiences (of distressful life circumstances); they are the extreme end of “a continuum with normal experience.”

    “What attracted me to psychiatry … is the intuition that mental disorder has something profound to teach us about the nature of being human.” Good intuition on your part; mental distress teaches us that emotions are feelings that are understood physically rather than intellectually. Extreme mental distress teaches us that the brain has a natural aversion to distressful experiences. Natural emotional suffering from extremely distressful experiences is experienced by the brain as averse- similarly to extreme physical pain (except it does not subside like physical pain). Mental distress is human nature; human aversion to mental distress naturally motivates behavior to avoid distressful experiences. The problem arises when the brain cannot find a behavior to relieve the distress; “fight or flight” will not solve most modern distressful experiences.

    “And it does this not by reflecting brain abnormalities, but by consisting of extreme, bizarre, usually dysfunctional and sometimes unfathomable manifestations of human agency.” I would have totally agreed with this sentence until I experienced a reversal of fortune in early adulthood; thereafter, I found my “bizarre” and often “dysfunctional” behavior to completely understandable. The commanding emotional pain of psychosis is analogous to extreme physical pain that does not subside; if you want to understand psychosis, submit to physical torture for a couple months.

    When a person lives “on top of the stack” (as I did during my youth), it is hard to imagine what life feels like “at the bottom of the pecking order” (as I did for a couple decades).

    Best wishes, Steve

  • This would be great news if mental distress is a disease that cures itself without intervention and only gets worse when the natural emotions being expressed are heavily drugged for extended periods.

    The real Open Dialogue is successful because it tries to assist people in solving real “problems with living” within the context of a clients life (at their home with their family/roommates). The real Open Dialogue tries not to pull people out of their lives and put them in an institution and expect their lives to be better when they return home (as if a disease is cured).

    This spinoff and others in the US seem doomed to failure for three reasons: 1) clients can rarely solve their real “problems with living” while believing that they are medical problems, 2) clients can rarely solve their real “problems with living” while isolated in a mental institution, and 3) the treatments are expensive and opposed by most psychiatrists.

    This spinoff and others in the US miss the central characteristic of the real Open Dialogue that makes it successful; extreme mental distress is natural emotional suffering rather than a medical problem.

  • Thank you for your community service in challenging mainstream “mental health care.”

    “Such a paradigm needs to explain human struggle and how and why suffering occurs. It requires an appropriate treatment approach that heals pain and shows why and how it works;” I propose a “Social Welfare Model” to replace the “Medical Model.” The “Social Welfare Model” describes mental distress as natural emotional suffering from distressful experiences and from physical ailments, rather than a medical problem of a biological dysfunction. This model describes emotions as understandable physically rather than intellectually. Extreme emotional suffering (from extremely distressful experiences) is perceived by the brain similar to extreme physical pain.

    The theory of a “The play of consciousness in the theater of the brain” describes an intellectual understanding of emotions. Instead, we physically feel the joy of a happy surprise and physically feel the pain of extremely distressful experiences.

    Emotional suffering is the natural, painful reaction to distressful experiences; it is natural, “normal” psychology- natural neurobiology. Most “psychiatric symptoms” misinterpret natural expressions of emotional suffering as a medical problem; psychiatry is a medical science addressing social welfare problems. This misinterpretation of natural psychology causes great social harm.

    There is no treatment for natural emotional suffering beyond time and positive experiences of emotional well-being. In contrast, there is a great deal we can do to prevent trauma in the community by promoting more social justice.

    Best wishes, Steve

  • The more fundamental question is about whether there is a relationship between “mental distress” and “enlarged ventricles” and the implications thereof. I understand the skull to contain the brain and ventricles (air pockets for cushioning against impact). To say that someone has “enlarged ventricles” seems like a funny way of saying that a person has “decreased brain volume.” Decreased brain volume seems like a logical result of depression. Depressing experiences cause depression- emotionally painful hopelessness; hopelessness causes a radical reduction of thinking and behavior. Physiologists contend that “use it or loose it” is the motto for every body tissue; long-term depression causes nervous tissue atrophy- a natural “decrease of brain volume.”

    “Enlarged ventricles” can be explained with elemental physiology; it is unfortunate that psychiatry’s neuroscience ignores basic physiology theory while trying to explain their erroneous medical narrative.

  • I did not intend the video to imply the the “medical model” began with the DSM-III; it began when it replaced the “religious model” (demonic possession) in describing extreme emotional suffering. In the video, I describe the first two editions of the DSM as based on Freudian theory; Freud describes psychoses as medical problems. The DSM-III moved from Freudian theory that described most of the DSM-II categories as problems with living (neuroses) to a biological interpretation of all categories.

    Thank you for your comments; I will edit my video to clarify that the DSM-III doubled-down on the “medical model” by claiming that all DSM categories were thereinafter diseases rather than only psychoses.

    I did not understand the term “biological psychiatry” to specifically refer to the difference between the psychiatry of the DSM-III and the psychiatry of the DSM-II. The term is confusing because it is redundant; I consider all psychiatrists to be biological psychiatrists since psychiatry claims to be a biological (medical) science.

  • Yes, the murky, cloudy, swirling image was intended to reflect the increased complexity of the DSM-IV-TR from adding multiple axes (perspectives) while adding nothing of value.

    Efforts to promote more justice for children in distressful circumstances is admirable (albeit difficult); thank you for your community service.

    The video is posted on Vimeo- a free video dissemination website competitor of YouTube. I assume that the access for TV viewing is similar to YouTube (simply go to their website and search for “DSM&MedicalModel”). However, I also assume that the video can be accessed for TV viewing from the MIA website. I posted my video at the Vimeo website so I could periodically edit it for clarity without revised versions competing with the latest version (as would be the case on YouTube).

  • I use the term “medical model” exactly as Szasz does- as a “portrayal of problems in living, of thought, behavior and emotion, as medical diseases.” I intend “social welfare” problems to describe “problems in living.”

    “Mental illness” is a metaphor better understood as an oxymoron; a philosophy of mind cannot have a medical (biological) illness. Nevertheless, some “problems in living” cause extreme emotional pain that is frequently considered a disease based on the predominate paradigm. Extreme emotional suffering is distressful to witness; most people believe that life is generally cheerful and cannot imagine the emotional suffering of the disenfranchised. The social welfare narrative advocates that extreme emotional suffering is a natural response to extremely distressful experiences. I agree that “mental health” is another metaphor (oxymoron), but I believe that it is a necessary term for communicating about emotional well-being and emotional suffering.

  • I use the term “medical model” differently than the definitions identified by Graham. I contend that the APA uses a “medical model” to explain behaviors described in the DSM that were previously explained with a “religious model” and are better explained with a “social welfare model.” The “medical model” began when it replaced the “religious model.” Later, Freudian theory dominated the “medical model” until the DSM-III; it described a few medical problems of “psychoses” and numerous social welfare problems of “neuroses.” Psychiatry was losing public legitimacy as a medical science addressing social welfare problems and the non-existent boundaries dividing the two. Psychiatry was forced to either abandon oversight of neuroses (the majority of diagnoses) or double-down on the “medical model” and claim that neuroses were thereinafter medical problems rather than social welfare problems.

    I use the term “medical model” to describe the DSM disease narrative of behaviors that I describe as natural with a “social welfare narrative.” The definitions Graham identifies all assume the disease narrative (paradigm) and use the term in a variety of other ways.

  • The images were obviously intended to add impact rather than confuse; do you remember which image seemed inconsistent with the message?

    I have ambivalent feelings about Freud; I admire some of his ideas far more than most others while detesting other ideas of his. My point about Freud was that the DSM was founded on his theories and then abandoned by committee vote for a foundation with more popular support; this is not science.

    Concerning my tone, I consider myself a scientist and have always tried to write with a (cold) scientific tone while targeting academics and professionals; this is my first effort to write for a public audience. I wanted an exasperated tone at the punch lines to express the calamity of the situation. I wanted to give voice to the pain caused by considering natural emotional suffering and other natural behaviors to be diseases. However, I wanted to sound exasperated rather than angry; I will reconsider my tone.

  • I do not agree with your characterization of our conversation. I understood you to say that the social ills of psychiatry can only be solved by focusing on challenging capitalism and I advocated that psychiatry will collapse under the weight of its pseudoscience and human rights abuses. I believe that it will be death by a thousand blows with medical students contributing to the critical mass. I thought that Bonnie Burstow’s New Year’s Eve Resolutions blog (December 28) offered a lot of options for people to consider a comfortable way to contribute. I believe that this website and the bloggers and commenters at this website contribute with a valuable, expanding dialogue.

  • One must be careful when joking about psychiatry because their “truth can be stranger than fiction!” Mainstream psychiatry has already claimed that “new neuro-imaging breakthroughs have been made that allow the diagnosis of ADHD to be precisely made via having children wear brain-wave measuring helmets.” Evidently, you have not heard of the renown psychiatrist, Dr. Daniel Amen.

    Dr. Amen was the darling of public television a decade ago for famously claiming exactly what you joke about! Wikipedia introduces Dr. Amen as follows: Daniel Gregory Amen (born 1954) is an American psychiatrist, a brain disorder specialist, director of the Amen Clinics, and a ten-times New York Times bestselling author. Amen’s clinics offer medical services to people who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other disorders. They use single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) as a purported diagnostic tool to identify supposed sub-categories of these disorders, as devised by Amen.”

    This was all the rage a decade ago, but has waned from criticism; however, Dr. Amen is still getting rich pushing this BS because it is such logical support for psychiatry… IF IT WAS TRUE!

    Best wishes, Steve

    PS- Comments to a previous post: the APA introduced “clinically significant criteria” for their diagnoses (starting with the DSM-IV). With this simple phrase, the APA states that only clinicians can understand their diagnostic criteria, and properly use their manual. Hence, the APA cleverly discounts criticism of the DSM based on the lack proper insight by non-clinicians. Also, I am unable to offer IT advice about videotaping because I am completely dependent on assistance.

  • Oldhead,

    I describe social problems that cause a community harm; political problems do not cause all of the social ills in a community. Any community benefits from eliminating the disease narrative of emotional suffering regardless of their political system. Every political system is plagued by class privilege that is supported by the disease narrative of natural emotional suffering. Obviously, some political systems promote far more social justice than others but I do not want to highjack my social commentary with a political discussion.

    Best wishes, Steve

  • I believe that the most fundamental contradiction of psychiatry is that it is a medical science addressing a social welfare problem.

    My “social welfare” paradigm is not a “social welfare system” paradigm. Social welfare (emotional well-being) is promoted by comforting, affirming experiences of social justice (and physical health); conversely, social welfare (emotional well-being) is reduced by distressful experiences of social injustice (and poor physical health). A community promotes social welfare primarily through social justice and harms social welfare primarily through social injustices.

  • Public assistance is difficult; it is easier to reduce the need for public assistance through more social justice. It is harmful to community “mental health” for eight people to be as wealthy as half the world’s population. This obscenity developed through politics as usual but things can always change. Thank you for your comments.

  • The medical model (disease model) started when secularists gained control of the narrative about “anti-social” behaviors away from theologians. However, I used the term “medical model” to refer to the DSM-III changing the definition of “neuroses” (most “mental disorders”) from social welfare problems to medical problems. I would consider other terms for the model but I have a problem with the term “biomedical” because it reminds me of the term “biological psychiatry.” The term “biological psychiatry” creates confusion with its redundancy; medical sciences consider themselves to be based on biology. “Biological psychiatry” is used to criticize some psychiatrists as misusing biology while wrongly implying that other psychiatrists are properly using biology- the foundation of their legitimacy as a medical science.

    I agree with your analysis of the term “mental illness” but believe that focusing on the absurdity of the term obscures a more important issue. The term describes a widely accepted philosophy advanced by the APA that considers natural emotional suffering to be a disease.

  • Thank you for your valuable comments; I will consider them while re-editing the video.

    I believe that much your criticisms express a desire for a more academic overview of mainstream mental health care rather than one targeting the general public. I did not believe that I could communicate an overview of criticism of mainstream mental health care in a half hour video (a public information format) with constant interruptions for references. I believe that my video rings true with much of the public, especially those who have experienced mental distress.

    Academics and professions also need an overview of the criticisms of their profession; this is an important point that cannot be done in a half hour video (and should probably include more collaboration).

  • Thank you for your comments. It is hard to imagine mental abuse worse than “gaslighting”- the unfortunate outcome of the medical model of mental distress.

    Also, it never occurred to me that “real” medical sciences could benefit from (be vested in) psychiatry creating ambiguity around iatrogenesis.

    I do not know about the intent of the DSM but I totally agree that it is unfortunately the primary source for defaming, torturing and silencing the victims of child abuse.

  • Thank you for your feedback; few things hurt credibility more than misspelled words.

    Also, thank you for the warning about my use of the term “everyone” in the video; perhaps I need to clarify my usage. I roughly said that “’everyone’ is afraid of coercive drugging, coercive ECT’s, and coercive confinement in a mental institution” and I meant it. You misquoted me as saying that “everyone” dislikes “seeing a person forced” into some coercive therapies and that is a much different statement that is obviously not true.

  • You make a good point; describing mental distress as “emotional suffering (or ‘anti-social’ reactions to the suffering)” is not as clear as “’anti-social’ expressions of natural emotional suffering or ‘anti-social’ reactions to it).”

    Your second point is problematic; you describe emotional suffering caused by societal problems as a missing point while I thought that it was a main point. I describe mental distress as natural emotional suffering from distressful experiences; societal problems top the list of causation for distressful experiences in a community.

  • Dr. Well advocates the standard position of psychiatry (albeit erroneous and harmful); it seems unfair to Dr. Wood to challenge Dr. Well directly after a personal reference.

  • Your original narrative sought drugs that could erase natural emotional suffering from unusually distressful experiences as if it were a disease. Your emerging narrative of “recovery” continues to advocate that mental distress is a medical problem (biological dysfunction) while improving care through efforts to increase the social welfare of clients. I consider mental distress to express natural emotional suffering from distressful experiences (or “anti-social” reactions to the suffering) – a social welfare problem rather than a medical problem. Social welfare problems can be caused by physical issues like poor nourishment, fatigue and toxins but most emotional suffering is caused by unusually distressful experiences. Treating “disruptive” expressions of natural emotional pain from extremely distressful experiences as a disease promotes coercion that increases emotional suffering- worsens mental distress.

  • I consider the original post to be sound science describing the general problem of early death caused by therapy for mental distress based on drugs and ECT. But moving from a general population to a specific example is typically problematic; as critics have argued, speculating about the cause of Carrie Fisher’s death is merely speculation.

    The critical issue about psychiatric drug therapy is whether the drugs are medicines treating biological dysfunctions or drugs masking symptoms of natural emotional suffering (or problematic behaviors). Since I consider mental distress to be a direct function of distressful experiences, I consider drug therapy generally problematic. Physical fatigue, reduced mental acuity, and problematic side-effects from drug therapy are obstacles to solving the real life problems that cause mental distress.

    There is no hard science to support the popular contention that mental distress expresses a biological dysfunction. The DSM categorizes behaviors it considers “anti-social” and thereafter tags them as medical problems rather than social problems without any biological (medical) support. The elitists of the APA have never experienced the distressfulness of the experiences of the disenfranchised; they cannot imagine their natural emotional pain. Moreover, they are heavily vested in a medical perspective of emotional suffering.

  • Thank you Bonnie; this is a great post! I believe that psychiatry will pass with a death by a thousand blows; your post encourages each person to their best action rather than feel hopeless to conform to an agenda.

    Like Oldhead, it is refreshing to hear you voice an anti-psychiatry perspective of “mental illness” as a myth rather than an anti-psychiatry perspective of a medical field needing reform from over-prescribing.

    Best wishes, Steve

  • This is a great article and a great thread. The relationship between violence and “mental illness” seems confusing because of confusion about the meaning of “mental illness.” The DSM defines “mental illness” through categories of behaviors the APA considers “anti-social” (and absurdly unrelated to human experience). Hence, the DSM describes every criminal behavior as symptomatic of one of their categories of “mental illness.” Only politics separate criminals described as “sane” (those not given a DSM diagnosis) from criminals described as “mentally ill” (those tagged with a DSM diagnosis).

  • I do not believe that it is accurate to state that the APA developed the medical model in 1980 when they actually expanded it to cover all mental distress (“neuroses” as well as “psychoses”). The APA is a medical organization of medical doctors; expanding the disease model provided them with much needed legitimacy. It was previously illogical for a medical profession to dominate care for social welfare problems.

    A social welfare narrative explains mental distress; I hope to propose a social welfare model of mental distress at this website.

  • The “disease model” of mental distress better describes the medical model because it is a more basic description of their position. The disease model describes mental distress as a disease whereas the medical model implies that it is a disease by describing it as a medical subject.

  • I am describing models of social welfare problems of “mental distress” (emotional distress or emotional suffering in reaction to distressful experiences) and “anti-social” reactions to the distress. I am referring to social welfare problems rather than medical problems. I believe there is enough census for definitions. Although, you are correct that there is nothing “there,” society regularly discusses abstract behavior patterns.

  • I believe that the term “medical model” has evolved over time. Before 1980, the medical model referred to understanding “psychoses” (of Freudian Theory) as medical problems; afterwards, the medical model expanded to refer to all mental distress. The “disease model” and “medical model” refer to the same thing; is the “disease model” a better term?’

  • Congratulations; psychiatrists are exposing the bankruptcy of their position when they attack critics rather than respond to criticism! The APA did the same thing with criticism of the DSM by defining problems as “clinically significant.” Your analysis of the data is correct and their criticism is weak- an affirmation.

    Best wishes, Steve

  • I owe you an apology if I wrongly assumed that you were pathogizing mental distress but some of your writing belies this perspective. You seem to pathologize mental distress when you describe: 1) mental distress as “mental illness,” 2) a “significant success of pharmacologic intervention,” 3) a “shift from treatment of disease” as if mental distress was ever a disease, 4) the medical model of mental distress “outliving its usefulness” as if it ever had legitimacy and “usefulness, ” and 5) a desire to shift attention from “disorders” in children as if their natural emotional suffering was a disorder.

    While I agree with your understanding of the need for positive human relationships for optimum mental health, I defer to Frank’s comments below about your focus on connections.

    Best wishes, Steve

  • I agree with everything that you say except that I believe that you are prejudiced against understanding the plight of your clients based on your medical school education. Psychiatrists may know many details about “the complex interplay of biology and environment” but psychiatrists do not understand this interplay and it is wrong to imply otherwise. Distressful experiences especially during childhood cause emotional/mental suffering; this is natural, normal biology that affects some areas of the brain more than other areas. Pathologizing natural emotional suffering from distressful experiences seems like a bigger problem for emotional sufferers than identifying distressful experiences as the cause of emotional suffering.

    Best wishes, Steve

  • Mental health affects physical health but that does not mean that mental health is a medical issue rather than a social welfare issue. Labeling emotional sufferers as “mentally ill” to promote social services is counter-productive; it is harmful to treat a social welfare problem like a medical problem. Neuroleptic drugs may temporarily reduce symptoms of emotional suffering but long-term drug use causes fatigue and a reduction of mental acuity necessary for solving real life problems (not to mention harmful side-effects).

    Consistently, kids in foster care typically have social welfare problems that need to be addressed; giving them drugs to mask the symptoms is wrong. Labeling social welfare problems as a medical problem- a “mental illness” is THE problem.

  • I consider this “latest science” to be more of the “same science” that grasps for a medical (biological) explanation for mental distress- a social welfare problem erroneously described as a “mental disorder.” In his work, Jay Joseph describes a long history of pseudo-scientific support for the medical model that cannot be replicated and/or is later disproved. I hope that he has time to deconstruct this latest effort to contort science with an unbelievably strong confirmation bias.

  • Mental distress is a social welfare problem that is often aggravated by physical problems and occasionally caused by physical problems. However, “mental illness” is a completely inaccurate term; your concept of “syndromes” falsely implies something more than nutritional problems causing distress.

  • People fight for their politics and may risk death for their politics, but do not choose death for their politics unless they are living in painful emotional despair. Hence, most suicide bombings are promoted by political figures who find those most in despair to do their bidding.

    From the reports that I have seen, I can only imagine Omar’s life as one of despair. He was raised in a desperate (fantasy) world of creating a holy government-in-exile from Afghanistan. His father taught him religious extremism in an environment that provided no affirmation for his religious upbringing. His first wife rejected him and ran away from him; this was a total humiliation to his concept of a marital relationship and manhood. His attempt to defend his religious beliefs with work colleagues (as his religion is increasingly attacked in the community) was met with ridicule (and a label of “mental illness”). A public display of affection between two men recently caused him to go ballistic (by his father’s account) because that appeared to him to be socially accepted while his religious beliefs seemed socially unaccepted. I believe that he chose suicide to end the emotional pain of his alienation from the community (his perceived rejection by the community), and chose a method that made a statement about his religious rejection of homosexuality. This seems more suicidal than political.

  • I am sorry for the tragedy surrounding your friend’s suicide but I do not believe that you can rightfully say that you know that Zoloft was her only problem in life. Being positive in social situations does not mean that people cannot be struggling internally especially while voluntarily taking neuroleptic drugs.

    Best wishes, Steve

    PS- I also appreciate Kelly speaking out against the harm of pushing drugs to cure social welfare problems but describing it as a “drug holocaust” is insensitive to the victims of genocide.

  • I understand fully the connection between physical health and mental distress and referenced this connection with my comment about the side-effects of neuroleptic drugs. My response was a criticism of an acceptance of the myth of diseases of the “mind.” The myth of “mental illness” fuels the entire concept that neuroleptic drugs are capable of assisting mental distress beyond temporarily relieving symptoms.

  • While I appreciate your good intentions and your understanding of the harm caused by long-term psychotropic drug therapy, I believe that your understanding of “mental illness” is a bigger problem. “Mental illness” is a myth that denies the humanity of painful emotional suffering from distressful experiences. Long-term psychotropic therapy causes additional distress for emotional sufferers from side-effects, fatigue and reduced mental acuity. Long-term psychotropic therapy is also additionally distressful for anyone expecting it to reduce hopelessness or provide some element of emotional well-being .

    Best wishes, Steve

  • Thank you for this articulate article. I believe that you describe a common pattern of neuroleptic drugs first providing relief from mental distress and later causing much more harm. Neuroleptic drugs relieve symptoms but not the cause of mental distress; distressful side-effects, fatigue and reduced mental acuity cause substantial long-term harm.

  • I agree with your primary point; let each fight the battle against the myth of mental illness from their vantage point- death from a thousand blows. It seems absurd to expect psychiatry to consider itself an illegitimate medical science- based on a false concept of mental illness. Likewise, it seems absurd to expect Big Pharma to consider its profits illegitimate- profits based on treating a social welfare problem as a medical problem. Concerning hunger strikes, I believe that they are effective for all the reasons that Gandhi would espouse but they do not appeal to me for the reasons that you state.

  • Psychiatry will never be curious about problems inherent in its medicine because it is a medical science; you are asking psychiatry to question its right to exist.

    The meeting sounded promising to me; it exemplified how evidence and public opinion are mounting against psychiatry. Thank you for your community service in articulating problems caused by psychiatry. Psychiatry will suddenly collapse when opposition reaches a critical mass from one person too many mocking the emperor.

    Best wishes, Steve

  • I believe that you have stated the problem very clearly in your short, bold type paragraph. Our culture considers rape to be a social (criminal) problem while it considers some reactions to rape to be medical problems. Few people in our culture understand that all mental distress is a social welfare problem of painful emotional suffering from real (distressful) experiences. Considering mental distress to be a medical problem creates an entirely different reaction than considering mental distress to be a social welfare problem. As long as natural emotional suffering is considered a mental “illness” or “disorder” (and “drapetomania” and homosexuality are no longer “mental illnesses”), no other oppressed group wants to identify with us.

    Best wishes, Steve

  • Poor parenting may be the main source of childhood trauma and mental distress but it is not the only source and innocent parents are rightly indignant when unfairly accused of hurting their children. Less blaming of poor parenting may assist with maintaining a focus on trauma as the soul cause of mental distress (especially childhood trauma). Mental distress is emotional suffering caused by childhood traumas and traumas caused by rape, war, bullies or a mental health system that misinterprets natural emotional suffering as a medical problem. Mental distress is a social welfare problem caused by emotional suffering from distressful experiences; it is not a medical problem caused by a brain or “mind” dysfunction.

    Best wishes, Steve

  • I am laughing! This is a great piece- really well written about an amazing subject.

    The tee-shirt for medical students reads: “Anti-Bash: Changing Our Attitudes To Mental Illness.” The tee shirt implies that medical students doubt that mental distress is a real illness and that the cessation of bashing psychiatry will legitimize mental distress as a real illness. This does sound like the death-throes of a profession.

    I hope someone does some research about attitudes about psychiatry among medical students; Dr. Wessely implies that most medical students are (to some degree) anti-psychiatry.

    Best wishes, Steve

  • In the introduction of the MISTRA study, Bouchard clearly outlines the substantial previous contact of most of the reared apart twins. In the conclusion of the study, Bouchard discounts the substantial contact as inconsequential since the twins were raised in different families, but that is absurd. It is a sad commentary on the confirmation bias that scientists do not mock this study as falsely implying that the twins had no previous contact before the study.

  • Your real science is an important challenge to mainstream pseudoscience; thank you again.

    I would emphasize that: 1) MISTRA is strong support for behavioral genetics based on the fraudulent claim that their subjects were reared apart, 2) scientists consider anecdotal evidence to be weak science at best, and 3) most reunited twins reared apart in our culture have a fierce confirmation bias supporting behavioral genetics.

    Best wishes, Steve