Showing 670 of 672 comments.
Jay, great article: let’s prove you right! A (scientific) Study of Identical Twins Separated at Birth and Reunited in Adulthood (AFTER the study) will prove Jay correct; this has proven impossible with human subjects (as Jay has clearly explained previously and herein) but can be done easily with primates. With support from the community, scientists at primate research centers can easily disprove Behavioral Genetics and promote a breakthrough in “mental health” care.
Thank you for addressing this crisis in medical science integrity especially related to psychiatry.
I salute a leader in defense of the marginalized.
A year ago, I asked a behavioral neuroscience lecturer about depression being genetic: isn’t it normal for a child falsely accused of seeking attention for reporting regular incestuous rapes to feel depressed? I wish that I had taped his confusing answer.
Good nutrition and good sleep are the foundation of emotional well-being so in that sense I agree, but “resilience” is far more a function of personal histories than diet. “Resilience” is a weapon to “blame the victim” for their traumas rather than address the injustices of most personal traumas.
Thank you for another science blog, Jay; I always enjoy them.
Have you considered proving yourself right? Theoretically speaking, a real study of reared apart identical twins (separated at birth and reunited by the study) would prove you correct: the environment rather than genetics predominately shapes behavior. While this seem impossible with a human population as witnessed by the details of the Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart, it should be rather easy with non-human primates. Miniature monkeys regularly have twins that can be separated at birth and raised in different families; this would easily prove the critical importance of the environment.
Our national primate research centers annually accept citizen ideas about primate research; I hope you consider asking them to do an experiment to validate their behavioral genetics research.
I was thrown by your term “conscious evolution” because it seemed self-contradictory to me, but upon reconsideration, it actually better describes popular evolutionary theory.
There’s only one expert so there is no “match”; my honorary “BS” opens no doors.
I agree; “scientism” has now replaced “science” in the community.
My foul; I thought that you asked about “conscious evolution” as a joke since it seems self-contradictory to me.
Thank you for directing me to Sterling’s theory of allostatic load; it supports my criticism of his definitive neuroscience text: The Principles of Neural Design. Consistent with your better understanding of evolutionary theory, Sterling addresses specific details of an ambiguous theory before any agreement on general principles (I consider reproduction fundamental to survival). I asked Sterling but I should’ve asked you: doesn’t my science at NaturalPsychology.org explain and resolve anomalies of current science theory while explaining human psychology including “mental disorders?”
Yes, we need “conscious evolution” consistent with the goals of many MIA commenters.
This is one of the most important blogs ever published at MIA! This blog was not properly introduced; Peter Sterling is one of the most eminent neuroscientists in the world and he just called “bullshit” on psychiatry! An international leader in neuroscience just said that natural stress (especially work alienation) causes the predominance of health problems (and all “mental health” problems?).
However, Peter Sterling expresses a typical “subjectivity” problem with understanding evolutionary theory when he states that: “Finally, evolution gave us the capacity to grow our skills over decades. Our species core need is to fulfill these capacities.” Like most neuroscientists, Peter fails to understand that evolution gave us “our species core need” of survival.
Thank you, Steve
If the definition remains the same but who qualifies has completely changed, I retract my previous comment and defer to Steve’s previous comment (wisdom). Thank you for clarifying the issue for me, Marie; the definition of autism is too ambiguous to debate.
The definition of autism has not changed in the last fifty years but who qualifies has changed dramatically. Autism was holding steady at 1:2500 fifty years ago according to the CDC; it is diagnosed at nearly FIFTY TIMES that rate now (1:56). However, “autism spectrum disorder” no longer includes children who are “very severely disturbed”; they would now be described as “mentally ill.”
Thank you; I remain confused about “mental illness” and about how a philosophy (of “mind”) can possibly have physical health or physical illness.
I totally agree: the best Anti-Psychiatry book would be some mostly edited comments and segments of the great articles posted at MIA.
Ouch! I am sorry Robert Whitaker for the disappointment I share with you about the state of journalism; the corruption of a journalistic ethic that you describe is staggering.
Although I agree with much of Oldhead’s criticism, it seems like a heavily edited version of this blog should be widely published as a query about the state of journalism elsewhere.
Thank you for the community service of your advocacy.
Best wishes, Steve
Good point: that was a tragic chapter in the history of psychology.
I do not have a license to practice medicine so nothing that I say should substitute for professional medical advice: I believe that you describe a pattern of behaviors that suggest that your time with Jim was extremely traumatic – too painful for recall.
“I keep getting told by professionals that if anything had happened, I would have remembered it.” This is confusing to me; I thought that most psychologists and psychiatrists believed in “repressed memories” of extremely traumatic experiences.
Have you read any of the books by Jennifer Freyd? I understood her to be the daughter of parents who started one of the original “False Memory Syndrome” groups and a leading advocate of “repressed memories.”
Best wishes, Steve-2
Good point: a philosophy cannot be quantified.
My question: can a science theory predict an outcome percentage less than the percentage of their predicted fallibility rate? If the fallibility rate of data is plus or minus 5%, can it predict data less than 5% (like 0.5%)?
“Neuropsychiatry” is another word-game like “biopsychiatry”; if you want to make a philosophy of “mind” (psychiatry) appear more like a science, add a “sciency” prefix.
Although there is plenty wrong with the current state of neurology, I describe it as a “real medical science” in contrast to psychiatry because it addresses human physiology rather than a philosophy of “mind.”
Another great article that addresses the pseudoscience of psychiatry. I find this is the most telling comment from Dr. Pies: “One of us (Ronald Pies), a psychiatrist, has spent a large part of his career thinking and writing about the philosophical foundations of psychiatry…” Psychiatry is a pseudo medical science that causes the community historic harm by pretending to be a real science; a real medical science should be defended by science rather than philosophy. Neurology is the real medical science that addresses the brain and nervous system; psychiatry is pseudo medical science – pseudoscience.
Thank you for this science; a confirmation bias is powerful for those seeking fame.
Dr. Puras did great community service through the UN but I do not understand how it could be described as “Bringing Human Rights to ‘Mental Health’ Care.” The UN Declaration of Human Rights clearly states that it is a Human Right for people to have “freedom to make sense of experiences in their own way.” I do not understand human rights in any “mental health” care that accepts “coercive treatments”; Dr. Puras does not seem to address this fundamental human rights violation.
Thank you Robert Whitaker for bringing real science to the discussion of antipsychotics.
I agree; it deserves re-printing!
“Mental health” care harms the community by pathologizing painful social welfare problems – “sadness”; pathologizing sadness (the natural expression of sad experiences) with terms like “moral injury” denies our humanity. Employed “mental health” care workers will harm their desperate, unemployed clients by advocating that their painful sadness (from rightfully fearing that their children will go hungry and live destitute) is instead a pathology caused by a “genetic predisposition.”
Thank you for your critically important community service in advocating for the marginalized and disenfranchised.
Real science reads like “therapy” to me; thank you.
Dr. Rashed’s article that describes identity problems for psychiatry from challenges to its legitimacy is confusing to me. Dr. Rashed advocates that clinicians obscure this crisis by distancing themselves from medical science rather than addressing logical criticisms to psychiatry’s validity.
Thank you for the community service of advocating that emotional suffering is natural rather than pathological; it is a critically important point for improving the quality of life in the community. What is difficult to understand about natural emotional suffering is how painful it can be when distressful experiences become extreme. I would not have believed that emotional pain could be as strong as physical pain until after experiencing trauma in early adulthood; for the following decade, I could no longer feel physical pain because the emotional pain was so strong. Thereafter, I came to believe that a prerequisite for discussing emotional suffering is to state outright that current theory discounts its painfulness.
Kenneth Blatt, MD, I believe that you underestimate the power of psychiatry to dominate the “mental health” care industry based on its purporting the “hard” sciences of biology and physiology – natural science. But while neurology is the medical science that addresses the biology and physiology of the brain, psychiatry is philosophy – an illegitimate medical science advocating the Myth of “mental illness.”
We are not “free of the medical model” when the pain of social, economic and/or spiritual distress causes sleep deprivation and resulting disorientation. The coerced “medical” treatment that results is a harmful violation of human rights as mandated by the UN Commission on Human Rights (1948). Until medical schools stop accrediting psychiatry as a medical science, it will continue iatrogenic harm of historic proportions.
I am a neuroscientist who can explain the theoretical problems with current neuroscience theory in a sidebar if you are interested.
Thank you for this insightful blog addressing the issue of “status”; psychiatry should be defined as “gatekeepers of status.”
Your writing is a valuable community service since it is articulate and insightful; you should be broadly published. Consistently, I believe in the natural science advocacy of our natural motivation to seek well-being (social affirmation and support) and that people generally seek “status” to promote well-being when the community is stingy with its affirmation and support.
What confuses me about your article is the apparent, standard disconnect between distressful experiences and stress. I understood you to describe brutal, distressful experiences as stressors and that the “potential impact of stressors like these on mental well being is shocking.” I am confused by your shock and our cultural belief that distressful experiences are not the sole cause of anxiety and stress. I believe that “mental health” is an oxymoron that effectively pathologizes natural emotional suffering from distressful experiences (social, economic and/or spiritual distress). By defining “mental health” as emotional well-being, psychiatry implies that emotional suffering is a sickness (regardless of predominately distressful experiences). While this is illogical, it is a common perspective on emotional suffering. Thus if you tell someone that you are considering killing yourself, they do not hear the obvious (that you are suffering emotionally); instead, they hear that you have a disease that worries them. They are afraid that your disease will kill you, that you lack insight about your need for professional help, and that they do not want to mistakenly appear to have any valuable expertice into your disease.
I believe that we all seek well-being (affirmation and social support) and that we all feel some degree of stress from cultural values. But I also believe that status anxiety is generally significantly greater for those without status and that there is substantial injustice around that issue.
I agree that the vast majority of people in the “mental health” care industry have good intentions. I also totally agree that the culture should become more civil to meet the needs of the community.
My problem is that I believe that the “mental health” care industry pathologizes social, economic and/or spiritual distress and denies basic human rights for suffering emotionally. As long as the industry believes that anxiety and depression are diseases rather than natural responses to distressing and depressing experiences, they could not possibly “see me.” As long as the industry cannot “see me”, they cannot possibly understand the impact that they are having on me and thus I would consider an apology not relevant.
I believe that if you want to understand someone, you must understand who they are arguing against. I am arguing against psychiatry for advocating the harmful Myth of “mental illness” that pathologizes natural “problems in living” and for their human rights abuses. Are you arguing against the general level of incivility in our culture, or how would you describe the community’s over-riding social problem related to “mental health” care?
I believe that apologizing is a nice thing to do after transgressing; it promotes a more civil society. However, our community is embattled so I agree with Oldhead that the issue lacks critical importance to me. I believe the slogan was: “I don’t care if The Man likes me; I just want his boot off my neck!”
Your ideas are not that radical; many non-clinicians similarly believe that current psychiatric drugs do not solve loniliness nor increase a sense of belonging. Some radicals even go as far as saying that pills will never solve loniliness and that we should instead consider a more civil, inclusive culture to promote a sense of belonging.
“Scientism” is a widespread problem but behavioral genetics takes it to the next level; what it passes off for science is ludicrous starting with the Minnesota Study of Identical Twins Reared Apart.
“EI refers to the ability to interpret, process, and apply understanding of emotion”: emotion that expresses the suffering of abuse from injustice will be pathologized by psychiatry.
Bonnie will be remembered as a courageous advocate for the marginalized who left a great legacy with her groundbreaking scholarship. RIP Bonnie; you led a noble life.
Thank you for this response, Steve
I believe that you misunderstand the blog: “If I’m reading this correctly, this is just another way of saying ontological insecurity is the result of major, entrenched dissociation caused by trauma.” I understand “ontological” to mean that something exists independently… not caused by experiences like trauma; I believe that it supports psychiatry in advocating a “genetic predisposition” for insecurity. The article is advocating that trauma does not cause the insecurity expressed in “mental illness”; it advocates that trauma does not impact human psychology. Instead, the article is advocating that the insecurity expressed in “mental illness” is caused by a genetic predisposition for insecurity that they label “ontological” insecurity. I believe that the article advocates “Pollyanna”; do others agree?
Your blogs are a community service; thank you.
I have been confused about why psychiatry does not include suicide ideation in its DSM as a “mental disorder”; it seems most consistent with their pathologizing of social, economic and/or spiritual distress. I can only imagine psychiatry wanting to avoid criticism of its ineffectiveness… but that seems critical; can anyone provide a better explanation?
Thank you for your community service in leadership of important challenges to abuses by psychiatry.
“I often share my personal experiences to make clear that we are all much alike in both misery and recovery.” Do you believe that children experience similarly distressful experiences? Might being a financially secure, widely admired community leader make your “recovery” from “helplessness” appear more atypical than exemplary?
I really appreciate the emphasis of the post on promoting love and a more kind, caring community to reduce human suffering; thank you again for your community service.
This is a good example of “scientism”: the “science” of investigating a completely abstract, undefinable concept like “vulnerability” to “psychosis” (“ontological insecurity”).
What a radical idea these researchers are proposing; who would have thought that depressing experiences could cause depression?
Well said; the systemic lack of caring in our foster “care” programs is a crime against humanity.
“It is never an answer to remove children from their parents”; I agree with the sentiment of the post except in cases where parents continue to cause significant harm to their children.
Thank you for this wonderful tribute to Del; he bore witness to the cruelty of addressing childhood trauma with critical labels and drugs for the victims.
“We live in a trauma based society, and the Medical Model does everything to steer us away from understanding the connection between psychological pain and the surrounding environment.” Well said.
Thank you for the community service of continuing to campaign against medical ghostwriting; it is astonishingly sad that this fraud continues.
Thank you for your community service and your efforts for informed-consent. I believe that informed-consent should include the truth about psychiatric drugs as “medicines”; they subdue emotions rather than address a biological dysfunction.
The Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart is the greatest fraud in history since the twins in the study were not actually reared apart (as documented in the study) and since it is the fulcrum of “scientific” support for the “medical model.”
“It is difficult to understand something when your livelihood depends upon you not understanding it”; I blame medical schools for accrediting the pathologizing of natural human suffering.
Well said. They believe that they will be vindicated for their scientific transgressions when biology finally proves them right about their erroneous medical model. Their mantra: “fake it till ya make it.”
I do not know if I have read as articulate a description of iatrogenic harm!
“When psychiatry decided to become a laboratory science”, it is was still a medical science harming the community by pathologizing natural human suffering.
Thank you for continuing to engage with commenters.
Until I experienced trauma in early adulthood, I could not have imagined how painful “sadness” can feel and how desperate for relief I could feel. After the trauma, my life became a living nightmare and I was becoming disoriented from fatigue; I could not sleep because all dreams were nightmares. I desperately needed drugs to sleep and drugs to kill the pain so I could think “straight”; my situation was desperate and I needed sleep if I hoped to resolve real problems in living.
My experiences taught me that I had not understood sadness in my life before I experienced trauma, that it was far more painful than I imagined, and that psychiatry pathologizes it. Thereafter, I experienced suicidal ideation because it appeared to be the only logical path for relief from my pain. I could not access heavy enough drugs to promote sleep without a psychiatric label and a psychiatric label would have made my “recovery” impossible.
I believe that you misunderstand the importance of the validity of psychiatry and its labels. If psychiatry lacks biological validity in addressing human suffering, its theory is causing iatrogenic harm of historic proportions. Psychiatric drugs may provide short-term relief that clients seek, but convincing a culture that sadness is a disease promotes widespread drug abuse from believers and suicide from non-believers.
I also want to salute another articulate post by someone bringing clarity to the world. I especially appreciate the clarity of this comment: “Meanwhile, the true causes of these human concerns are hiding in plain sight: loss; inadequate training; traumatic history; painful events; etc.”
I also found her comments insightful and am sorry to hear of her passing.
Thank you for articulating your perspective and for permitting comments.
“I propose that critiquing biological psychiatry is a straw man… as it is but one player in the crowded mental health industrial complex.” I believe that you underestimate the supreme power that psychiatry has in the “mental health industrial complex” based on its purported foundation on biology and physiology. Consistently, I consider “biological psychiatry” to be misleadingly redundant: all medical sciences are considered biological sciences by the community whether psychiatry is based on Freudian theory or is without an underlying theory. Psychiatry may be mocked by other medical science specialties but the community considers it a medical science and considers medical science to be the “holy grail” for addressing health problems. Medical schools are ultimately responsible for the calamity that psychiatry causes the community by accrediting a philosophy of “mind” as a medical (biological) science.
“Does this mean mental illnesses don’t exist?… Are you saying that people aren’t suffering?” People are suffering extreme pain from social, economic and/or spiritual distress (natural, painful emotional suffering) but their suffering is natural rather than a disease. Psychiatry advocates Pollyanna and a fairy tale world of kindness and goodness.
Thank you for your articulate comments about the relationship between emotional distress and pain; I believe that you understand more about pain than most physicians.
At this time of reflection, I salute the community service of this website and its evolving mission statement!
Thank you for the community service of articulately describing the “scientism” of psychiatry.
I agree. Since psychiatry pathologizes natural emotions and behaviors, the alternative is to stop pathologizing natural emotions and behaviors. Existing social services are intended to “support” people with social welfare problems but are totally inadequate to meet the crisis of human suffering caused by the economic and political system.
I consider myself a scientist who is alarmed at the absurdity of the scientism of psychiatry and its advocacy that lived experience hardly affects emotions. Thank you for articulately addressing this issue.
This “psychosis” study concludes that positive social relationships are helpful and negative social experiences are unhelpful; this supports the contention that lived experience affects human psychology. This is an astonishing prerequisite for considering whether “psychosis” pathologizes natural emotional suffering (sadness).
Excellent article. Unfortunately, the New York Times is running a simultaneous article today that celebrates DBS as a potential game changer; it does not mention the failure of research trials.
Depressing life circumstances do not induce depression?
I agree; they are denying our humanity by “relegating personal histories to ‘triggers’ of an underlying genetic time bomb.”
I respectfully disagree; our community considers science to be our best way of understanding ourselves and our environment. Consistently, psychiatry dominates the “mental health” care industry based on its false claim of being a biological science. Hence, I appreciate Joseph’s challenges to their pseudo genetics- to their garbage “science.”
Well said Rachel 777. It seems therapeutic to understand that depression is a natural reaction to depressing experiences so that depressing experiences can be addressed and countered. Consistently, if depression is understood as the natural reaction to depressing experiences, assistance would take the form of empathy and support rather than drugs and coercion.
Real biology explains depression as the natural expression of depressing experiences; psychiatry increases prognosis pessimism by pathologizing natural emotional suffering.
Removed at request of poster.
In 1984, the Thought Police force Happy Pills on everyone; in 2019, the Thought Police only force Happy Pills on people when they act unhappy. Beware.
Steve McCrea is a smart fellow; you could learn a great deal by clicking on his name and reviewing some of his previous comments to other blogs. Steve said that there is no organic criteria for any DSM diagnoses and you disagreed with a link to the National Institute of Health that provides no organic criteria for any DSM diagnoses. The DSM criteria that you referenced are all descriptions of behavior patterns; there are no biological criteria for any DSM diagnoses.
Your satire is funny because it is articulate and painfully true. However, I thought that I understood the blog completely until Slayer questioned how the blog specified “biological” psychiatry; thereafter, I was confused about the distinction. As an accredited medical science (albeit an illegitimate medical science), all psychiatry is “biological” psychiatry. However, most people who use the term intend to make some distinction from “mainstream” psychiatry; what was your intent?
I was supporting this comment “thread” that I understood to address how our culture uses fear to pit people against each other – uses fear to “divide and conquer.” I did not understand this thread to challenge my contention that psychiatry pathologizes natural emotions and behaviors, and that this serves as a political tool to delegitimize criticism of social and economic injustice.
Whitaker and Kindredspirit, Right On!
Thank you for the community service of speaking the truth about your life. Psychiatry is “trauma denial” in support of existing social structures; it falsely advocates that distressful experiences are an anomaly in an otherwise friendly environment. Psychiatry is trauma denial when advocating that people should “recover” from traumatic experiences without justice and often without cessation of the traumatic experiences. Psychiatry shames the victims of trauma by advocating Pollyanna and a fairy tale world of fairness and goodness; the truth about distressful human experience is antipsychiatry.
Your comment is confusing: my comment supports the main theme of the blog that criticizes blaming the “mentally ill” for mass shootings instead of blaming a societal failure. Criticizing a culture does not address the behavior of an individual within a culture. I believe that our epidemic of mass shootings is caused by an increasingly hateful and violent culture- a societal failure that includes sedating natural emotions and non-conforming behaviors with neurotoxins.
Thank you for this articulate and timely blog. It is unfortunate that the obvious truth is currently so difficult for so many people to see: “This blaming ultimately prevents us from acknowledging the obvious truth: the regular presence of mass murders in our society needs to be seen as a societal failure.”
Well said: “Of course all psychiatric terminology is hate speech.”
Thank you for your community service in articulately advocating against how standard “mental health” care harms society by pathologizing suicide.
Since psychiatry pathologizes suicide consistent with other natural behaviors that it pathologizes, I am confused about why psychiatry does not include suicide ideation as another mythical DSM diagnosis.
I am troubled by psychiatry harming the community with the myth of “mental illness”- by pathologizing natural emotional suffering and natural, non-conforming behaviors. I am also trouble by the term “neurodiversity” when it advocates that “mental illness” is a passageway to special spiritual enlightenment; this puts a positive spin on a harmful myth. I support “neurodiversity” in some contexts but not as a new myth that supports a few people while obscuring the source of a calamity for a multitude of others.
Thank you for your response; I believe that I am using the term “neurodiverse” in a different context than others. I now understand you and others to use the term “neurodiverse” in a social context about what is “normal” brain functioning (wherein “normal” is understood as common or average). In contrast, I was focusing on a medical context about what is “natural” brain functioning. I agree that there is no “normal” brain functioning but believe that there is “natural” and “unnatural” brain functioning- natural and pathological functioning. I thought that advocates of “neurodiversity” were trying to put a positive spin on “mental disorders” that pathologize natural behaviors through the myth of “mental illness.” It now seems like the term is gaining a wider usage.
Perhaps victims of psychiatry may rally around the concept of “cognitive liberty”; as you say, time will tell. Most people exclude cognition considered “diseased” when considering “cognitive liberty”; my problem with advocating “cognitive liberty” is that it side-steps addressing the Disease Model that is causing the harm.
I believe that I misunderstood your previous comment; do you mind me asking about whether you believe that the terms “mad” and “neurodiversity” are without connotations of pathology?
Advocating cognitive liberty may be more inclusive of all critics of psychiatry but it does not address my fundamental criticism of psychiatry. Thus I support cognitive liberty but cannot rally behind it to challenge the harm caused by the myth of “mental illness”; it is too intellectually abstract to promote political action. I cannot imagine Jews rallying behind cognitive liberty with reformists to challenge the Holocaust or Abolitionists rallying behind cognitive liberty with reformists to challenge slavery. Isn’t advocating cognitive liberty for those suffering from coerced drugging or imprisonment based on a myth insulting to those without physical liberty?
I consider “neurodiverse” to be similar to “mad”; both terms put a positive spin on a harmful myth that pathologizes natural emotional suffering and other natural “problems in living.” I do not criticize oppressed people for naturally seeking a more positive self-image but doesn’t advocating a positive spin on an oppression detract from a political challenge?
Thank you for all of your community service in challenging psychiatry.
However, I am concerned that your posted advocacy of “cognitive liberty” discounts the context of psychiatry functioning as a medical science. The community supports human rights violations (and violations of “cognitive liberty”) as unfortunate parts of “medical treatment” for those with “cognitive impairments” that interfere with “sound” judgment. The community generally considers psychiatry to be an altruistic enterprise (albeit with problems).
In contrast, I consider psychiatry to be an illegitimate medical science advocating that natural emotional suffering and other natural problems in living are instead unnatural- medical problems. Psychiatry denies our humanity by advocating the myth of “mental illness”- that emotional suffering is unnatural regardless of cruel and unjust life circumstances. I consider the foundation of all of psychiatry’s harm to be the Myth advocating Pollyanna and a fairy tale world of goodness and fairness (in support of existing social structures). Doesn’t a reformist perspective of psychiatry imply that it has a legitimate goal that deserves reforming rather than being an illegitimate medical science pathologizing social welfare problems?
Thank you for this post; I am also uncomfortable with the term “neurodiverse” for all of the reasons that you articulately state.
I agree that it seems critically important to have at least one person in your life who can affirm your personal value, but it also seems important to have some additional luck in navigating through life after such horrific childhood experiences.
Interesting point about free will; psychiatry is illogical, socially-constructed science that shifts positions about free will. Psychiatry implies that behavior it deems prosocial is a function of free will and behavior it deems antisocial is a function of genetics (unless the “antisocial” behavior is deemed criminal wherein it is again a function of free will).
Thank you for your community service in addressing harmful pseudoscience.
When a scientific inquiry is described as “political”, most people think of a disagreement between two different perspectives of an issue, but this is not the case with twin studies. The politics of twin studies is the worst in science because it is one-sided. The politics of twin studies is a “confirmation bias” that is so strong that almost anything passes for scientific support (as you well document in your books on behavioral genetics).
I appreciate Robert Whitaker responding to comments.
My preceding comment about MIA not rejecting the “fundamental legitimacy” of psychiatry references psychiatry’s legitimacy as a medical science. My opinion is based on MIA’s mission statement that seeks the goal of “remaking psychiatry.” Seeking to “remake psychiatry” implies that psychiatry’s goals warrant pursuing- that “mental disorders” are medical problems and the legitimate purview of medical science.
Thank you, Dr. Caplan; this excellent post is a valuable community service. I also want to thank Robert Whitaker for his support in its publication as well as his extremely valuable community service.
However, I believe that Dr. Caplan misunderstands MIA and its policies. Whitaker’s comments in this article and the MIA mission statement are extremely critical of psychiatry but do not describe psychiatry and its DSM as lacking fundamental legitimacy. Consistently, Whitaker is quoted as saying that MIA uses common diagnostic terms without intending to support their validity; he does not say that diagnostic terms completely lack validity. The myth of “mental illness” is a classical paradigm with deep roots; we should expect quotation marks around “psychiatric disorders” in the introduction to the MIA mission statement before expecting quotations in their blog postings.
Psychiatry is “trauma denial”; “trauma informed care” is dishonest. A trauma is a distressful experience of a distressful environment; in contrast, psychiatry implies that a trauma is a distressful experience of an otherwise friendly, supportive environment. Psychiatry denies trauma from bullying, discrimination, poverty and sexual assault by advocating that victims “recover” from their legitimate fears while their environments remain dangerous and hostile. Psychiatry similarly denies trauma from child abuse and the sorrow of war by advocating that victims “recover” from their distressful experiences while the community ostensibly ignores its reality.
Your comments are staggeringly articulate!
Psychiatry believes that they are “working with a body” that is not affected by personal experience. Psychiatry denies our humanity when it relegates lived experience to “triggers of an underlying genetic time bomb.”
Psychiatry is a secondary police force that manages “non-productive, non-conforming and disruptive behaviors” with little legal restraint; it is unusual to obtain legal redress from the abuses of psychiatry. The World Health Organization supports psychiatry by defining “mental health” as a function of productivity- emotional well-being from productivity. The predominance of survivors of psychiatry were seen as “ne’er do wells” in order to qualify for psychiatric abuse.
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Yeah_I_Survived, Szasz’s libertarianism has never been a problem for me; it seems like a natural reaction to his experiences of oppression and authoritarianism. Szasz understood the term “therapeutic state” to describe a secondary police force to manage dissent of authoritarianism; he was addressing social control rather than social welfare. The term “therapeutic state” is now more often used to describe a government that believes in social welfare; this is not how Szasz used the term.
Thank you for allowing me to comment. I believe that you and the book about Szasz misunderstand his greatness and legacy: he is the first to articulate that “mental illness” is a “myth.” The authors deny Szasz’s true legacy by denying that this is a medical issue of catastrophic proportion. Psychiatry has power as science- a medical science; Dr. James Knoll ignores this fact when he claims that psychiatry is “a hybrid profession of clinical science and humanities.” Consistently, Dr. Haldipur does Szasz a disservice when he states that “Szasz’s own writings are best read as philosophy rather than as psychiatry.” This misunderstanding of Szasz’s legacy permits the author to review a book from one of the greatest medical doctors in history as if it was a purview of the humanities. Szasz was the first articulate medical doctor to describe psychiatry as addressing a myth; this challenge to psychiatry’s legitimacy as a medical science will be his legacy!
This is really an excellent comment for two reasons: it articulately addresses Psychiatry’s advocacy of Pollyanna and how the community re-abuses those who have experienced childhood trauma. Psychiatry advocates Pollyanna in a fairy tale world of goodness. Psychiatry falsely implies that Adverse Childhood Experiences are an anomaly in a world of fairness and altruism wherein cruelty and social and economic injustice are successfully redressed through established social structures. Psychiatry denies the reality of trauma; it is an experience of a distressful environment rather than a distressful experience in an otherwise friendly environment. Also, I read an article at this website that described how adults who were “diagnosed” with Adverse Childhood Experiences were considered risky candidates for adoption; the cruelty and injustice are staggering.
Thank you for your painful community service. The thought of attaching electricity machines to children’s foreheads to address emotional suffering or other natural “problem with living” while disrupting needed sleep makes me cry too.
Anatomy of an Epidemic documents the epidemic of “mental illness” associated with an explosion of psychiatric drug prescriptions but does not focus on childhood statistics. The epidemic of autism for younger children and ADHD for older children is a greater epidemic than the epidemic for the general public. This is an iatrogenic public health crisis of historic proportions that lacks a historical perspective; anyone who grew up in the fifties can inform the community that childhood “mental illness” is a substantially modern invention.
Thank you for years of community service in challenging the harm of psychiatry.
Psychiatry has power in the community because it purports to be scientific; in contrast, the “mind-body problem” is a philosophical problem. This blog is an interesting philosophical commentary on human nature but our community considers science to be our best way to understand ourselves and our environment. The power of psychiatry to harm the community with the myth of “mental illness” rests substantially on a community belief that psychiatry is a legitimate biological (medical) science. Unfortunately, as a medical doctor discussing the “mind-body problem”, you create the implication that psychiatry has some legitimacy as a biological science.
“Life events have been relegated to the role of triggers of an underlying genetic time bomb.” I consider this an impactful quote and would like to quote the phrase. Read stated that “I stole that phrase. I have to give credit where credit’s due. That came from the chair of the American Psychiatric Association that year – Steven Sharfstein – who was a very brave psychiatrist and wrote a piece in Psychiatry News.” However, Sharfstein has only one article in Psychiatry News and it does not include the quote.
I believe that there is some truth in your anecdotal evidence but do not understand how the rate of autism has increased disproportionate to the rate and dosage of vaccinations. Trauma causes “problems with living” and a shot of toxins can be traumatic; therefore, I believe that doses of MMR should be reduced with more frequent injections. Thank you for your community service in supporting suffering parents.
Approaching a 100-fold increase in the rate of “Autism Spectrum Disorder” is a staggering epidemic of diagnoses! We have a substantial increase in childhood “problems with living’ but I do not believe that the problems are caused by screen time (or vaccines). I contend that the increase is substantially due to the increase in pediatric intervention in childhood since 1980, the shift in psychiatry to increased medicalization of all “problems with living”, and the substantial increase in childhood stress. Psychiatry and “childhood development” specialists are harming our children; no one can learn anything with someone watching over their shoulder, second-guessing every move!
I oppose the myth of “mental illness” as well as coerced “treatments” and do not believe that coerced treatments can be prevented without challenging the myth. Psychiatry advocates that natural emotional suffering (and other natural “problems with living”) is a medical problem that causes a loss of normal brain function wherein a moral society should intervene to assist. False medical legitimacy promotes the myth of “mental illness” that promotes the standard coercive “treatments” of psychiatry. Get rid of the medical science legitimacy of psychiatry and I have no problem with it operating as a philosophy or theology.
I believe that we will need a Truth and Reconciliation commission to figure how to go forward after Psychiatry has been delegitimized as a medical science.
I definitely believe that our society should provide social services to those who suffer emotionally or struggle with other natural problems with living.
In this Comments section of this blog on this website, this post seems like a troll.
Psychiatry pathologizes natural emotional suffering (and other natural problems with living); it advocates a Pollyanna World. Pathologizing sadness with the myth of “mental illness” is a crime against humanity; it causes increased emotional suffering (and other natural “problems with living”). Understanding psychiatry as a tool that delegitimizes natural emotional suffering in support of cultural practices is critical for challenging this harmful narrative.
Your comment makes sense; I cannot imagine slaves discussing reparations before they were freed.
Psychiatry pathologizes emotional suffering and other natural “problems with living”; this is a harmful, false narrative that causes more “problems with living” than could possibly be remedied by any “mental health” technology.
I agree; expecting an “alternative” to psychiatry implies that there is a valuable service provided.
Sam and Rachel, my apologies; I state that “The myth of ‘mental illness’ serves the function of social control for a secular world consistent with ‘demonic possession’ for a theological world.” Thereafter, I erroneously (and misleadingly) substituted “exorcism” for “demonic possession”; exorcism is a “cure” for “demonic possession” similar to burning possessed people.
Our community believes in the myth of “mental illness” that advocates a Pollyanna World. Our culture believes that emotional suffering is unnatural regardless of cruel and unjust life experiences- regardless of predominately distressful life circumstances. The myth of a Pollyanna World must be exposed.
The myth of “mental illness” serves the function of social control for a secular world consistent with “demonic possession” for a theological world. Exorcism is difficult to understand as a means of social control for someone who believes in the myth of “demonic possession.” Exorcism is BOTH a “false” theological belief intended to “help people” AND a tool of social control. Consistently, psychiatry is both a false medical science intended to help people and a tool of social control. The myth of a Pollyanna World must be challenged.
I disagree with this post of mine. I defined psychiatry in a way that is both (A) and (B) and thereafter described these two definitions as “perceptions.”
Perhaps my problem comes with the term “assigned” in definition (B) above. I believe that psychiatry is “assigned” to help people but “serves” a controlling and repressive function like exorcism for “demonic possession.” We live in a community that predominately believes in the myth of “mental illness.”
“A key issue to be sorted out is exactly what IS psychiatry? Is it A) A rogue or “failed” branch of medicine meant to help people or B) A parallel police force assigned to control and repress people?” These are two different questions that are confusing because they are posed as one question; the first addresses psychiatry and the second addresses perceptions of psychiatry.
Psychiatry is an illegitimate medical science that pathologizes painful emotional suffering and other natural “problems with living” with the myth of “mental illness”; this serves community leaders as a tool of social control. Most people believe that psychiatry is meant to help people until it is understood as a harmful, false myth. Even when people understand the myth, it is so ingrained that people often have difficulty considering it as having the purpose of delegitimizing suffering for social control.
“Would the anti-psychiatry folks like those who are severely out of it (“mentally ill”) wandering around homeless muttering to themselves?” Psychiatry pathologizes emotional suffering and other natural “problems with living”; it worsens natural problems with living by defining them as diseases. Challenging this erroneous narrative will reduce community problems with living and promote assistance to the most needy in the community.
What a touching tribute; we should all celebrate such community service!
“Failure to replicate” is an often repeated phrase in psychiatry research; perhaps they should reconsider the hypothesis.
Psychiatry is a strong nocebo.
I did not intend to make light of psychiatric abuses prior to 1980.
I do not believe that my comments were an “official narrative” but do agree that pathologizing emotional suffering (and other natural “problems with living”) is a tool of social control (and repression), and should be described within this context.
Thank you for your community service in challenging the harm of psychiatry. I agree that “the huge expansion of the mental health enterprise began in 1980, with the APA adopting its disease model, and that is the enterprise that swept Laura into its midst.” However, I disagree with connotations related to psychiatry’s “medical model” as if its previous model was not a “medical model.”
Prior to 1980, psychiatry advocated a “medical model” based on Freudian theory. Psychiatry is considered a medical profession; their previous model was therefore also a “medical model” albeit less expansive. Psychiatry’s current “medical model” was a response to criticism of its theoretical foundation on Freudian theory. The Freudian model was problematic for psychiatry because it was an indefensible narrative (ids, egos and superegos); it also described the vast majority of “mental disorders” (“neuroses”) as non-medical problems. Psychiatry was rightly criticized for an indefensible narrative and over-reach. Psychiatry was in trouble in 1980; it could stick with Freudian theory and loose domain over “neuroses”, or dump Freud and claim that all “neuroses” were thereafter medical problems (under their purview).
With the DSM-III, psychiatry abandoned an underlying (Freudian) theory and reasserted itself as a medical profession with its “medical model” as if the abandoned “Freudian model” was not a “medical model.” It is true that after 1980, psychiatry and Big Pharma cast a much wider net that is causing catastrophic harm but psychiatry’s model has always been medical; its survival depends upon it. All medical sciences consider themselves to be biological sciences; only “biological psychiatry” uses redundancy to promote legitimacy. Consistently, all medical sciences consider their models to be “medical models”; only psychiatry uses redundancy to promote legitimacy.
This is well written and deserved to be published.
I agree that “if people are being given drugs for fraudulent and deceptive purposes, THAT should be the issue.”
Good point; psychiatry is a powerful nocebo!
“People are living up or down to expectations.” The power of placebos and nocebos is vastly underrated.
The legitimacy of psychiatric coercion is based on the legitimacy of psychiatry as a medical science addressing “broken brains” that cause personal and public harm. Based on the prevailing psychiatric narrative, psychiatric coercion is humane treatment since individuals have lost their ability to make sound judgments about their own behavior. The harm of psychiatric coercion will continue as long as psychiatry is an accredited medical science; only through delegitimizing psychiatry will its coercion become obvious human rights violations.
In reference to “abolishing” psychiatry, I want to delegitimize psychiatry as a medical science. Psychiatry advocates a harmful philosophy of “mind”; it should not be considered a medical, biological science since it does not address the physical world. I have no problem with psychiatry continuing as a philosophy or religion; I have a problem with psychiatry passing as a medical (biological) science.
It seems that initial targets of abolitionists should include the definition of “antipsychiatry” that instead defines “critical psychiatry”; Wikipedia for instance hardly mentions abolition in its definition. It seems difficult to “grow” a “movement” to abolish psychiatry as long as “antipsychiatry” does not mention abolition.
Thank you for this post and allowing comments; you make some good points but miss others. I believe that you misunderstand the problems caused by pathologizing natural emotional suffering. Most of your patients (and the community) believe that anxiety and depression are caused by a mythical “mental illness”; affirmation from a diagnosis is therefore often empowering. People have faith in medical treatments including medicines; a diagnosis is a cause for celebration when patients believe that it is the first step in identifying and resolving the cause of anxiety and depression. This is problematic because anxiety is caused by distressful experiences and depression is caused by depressing experiences rather than medical problems.
Please allow me to join the chorus of those praising this article as a valuable community service; “the message” is important and you are an articulate spokesperson.
My criticism of psychiatry focuses on medical schools who legitimize its harmful “medical model” narrative as medical science; a (harmful) philosophy of “mind” is not a biological, medical science. The “medical model” is actually the “disease model” since it has no medical legitimacy.
Pathologizing natural emotional suffering is a crime against humanity!
I do not understand how “the influence our bacterial makeup (microbiome) has on our thoughts, feelings and behaviors” implies that “the brain is not the sole (or perhaps even the primary) ‘home’ of cognition and affect.” Brain “health” (from nutrition, bacteria balance, rest, etc.) affects thoughts and behaviors.
I disagree with the underlying premise that supports this study; it is a generally accepted foundation for much of Behavioral Neuroscience but should not qualify as real science. Studying animal behavior to glean an understanding of human behavior and human genetic influences is based on two generations of abstractions. First scientists must decide how to model human behavior to study it; modeling human behavior is a difficult abstraction since scientists do not understand human behavior. Thereafter, behavioral scientists often attempt to apply the modeled human behavior to an animal population for research; this is so fraught with wild assumptions that the description of “wild abstraction” is an extreme understatement. Studying human psychology and genetic influences from an animal population is two levels of abstraction from directly studying human psychology and genetic influences; it should not qualify as real science.
“Biological” psychiatry replaced Freudian psychiatry but has now become synonymous with “psychiatry that pushes drugs hard” vs. “psychiatry that pushes drugs with more finesse.” As along as psychiatry is an accredited medical (biological) science, “biological psychiatry” is redundant and all psychiatry is biological psychiatry- a “medical science” that pathologizes natural behaviors.
Well said, Kindredspirit, and great followup Steve.
Yes; I am opposed to psychiatry. Its existence as a medical science promotes the myth of “mental illness” that pathologizes natural emotional suffering or other natural problems with living.”
Consistent with Steve’s comment below, drug abuse from neuroleptics causes “majorly depressing experiences”- majorly depressing iatrogenic harm.
I agree and appreciate the clarification.
“Alarmingly, between 2005 and 2017, the occurrence of a major depressive episode in the last year leapt 52% among adolescents, and 63% among young adults.” This epidemic of “mental illness” represents either an alarming increase in depressing experiences among our adolescents and young adults or an alarming public health crisis. We must immediately consider whether an enemy has released some kind of mysterious pathogen targeting our youth or whether their “major depression” is caused by their “majorly depressing experiences.”
The researchers are unable to replicate any support for genetic causation of depression consistent with their inability to replicate any genetic causation for any “mental illness”; the inability to replicate is the story here. Jay Joseph has written books and blogs on this subject; genetic research is bad science based on failure to do “double-bind studies” and control for the confirmation bias (besides failure to replicate). Depressive experiences cause depression; unfortunately, researchers cannot quantify this hypothesis nor falsify it.
Sounds great… and I’ll definitely check out your Reign of Error; sounds like you’ve been a heavy hitter for decades.
I am sorry that I was slow to realize that you responded here to my letter.
I believe that your blog post is exceptionally articulate and that you speak professionally on your YouTube productions; I want to encourage you further. I believe that there is a problem with publishing on YouTube; once a video is published, there is no opportunity to further edit it. I would like to suggest considering a video streaming website like Vimeo where you can publish, edit and republish for increased impact. You have excellent presentation skills; my criticism of psychiatry (https://vimeo.com/185916512) has improved substantially with editing but would nevertheless be much improved if I possessed your on-camera talent.
I look forward to your MIA interview and hope to discuss psychiatry with you further.
I agree that capitalism causes “problems with living” but you are implying that it is the only cause (and that only people in capitalist countries have “problems with living”).
What is wrong with Szasz’ term “problems with living” and “people experiencing ‘problems with living’?”
I contend that psychiatry pathologizes expressions of natural emotional suffering. The World Health Organization supports psychiatry by defining “mental health” as “emotional well-being” and thereby implying that natural emotional suffering is pathological. I like the term “problems with living” because it is broad enough to go beyond emotional suffering to include other natural problems with living that the DSM pathologizes as unnatural.
I mostly agree with you and admire your approach; it seems valuable for replicating. I believe that all emotional suffering is natural based on personal experience. I specify emotional suffering from “cruel and unjust life circumstances” as a means to challenge psychiatry’s advocacy that emotional suffering is unnatural regardless of life circumstances.
However, you seem to support my point about distressful life circumstances with this concluding remark: “Sometimes, we do it to ourelves, with our own critical and self-judgmental voices, which would be what we carry inside of us due to early trauma.” It seems like a distressful, “unjust life circumstance” to carry critical self-judgement due to early trauma.
Steve just said: “the problem with ‘mental health’ is that it implies that people who are suffering are somehow ‘ill'”; I agree totally. “Mental health” implicitly legitimizes “mental illness” and “mental illness” pathologizes natural emotional suffering (emotional pain) from distressful personal experience- from cruel and unjust life circumstances.
Steve also said that “mental health” “means not being upset in any way with the status quo.” I agree assuming that “the status quo” references the cruel and unjust life circumstances that cause natural emotional suffering.
Steve also said: “controlling language is part of controlling the narrative”; I totally agree. I have experienced extreme emotional suffering from cruel and unjust life circumstances that naturally promoted behaviors that the DSM describes as “bipolar disorder.” My emotional pain caused me to react in ways that others might consider “irrational” but this is unfair focus since expressions of physical pain are generally irrational and not judged as pathological. People experiencing physical torture see visions and hear voices but are not judged as “mentally ill.” Personally, I relate to having been an “emotional sufferer”; I consider terms like “crazy” or “nuts” or “bonkers” to falsely imply that my thinking or behavior was less than natural.
Thank you for this article; it is a community service. I contend that neuroleptics have a sedative affect that naturally causes a loss of brain volume (nervous tissue volume) through atrophy. Neuroleptics have a sedative effect that reduces nervous tissue usage; reduced nervous tissue usage causes atrophy consistent with how reduced usage causes atrophy of all other body tissues. Increased brain activity from cessation of neuroleptics will increase nervous tissue volume (brain volume) consistent with rebuilding muscle tissue when a cast is removed. It is illogical for scientists to attribute loss of brain volume to a mythical disease when it is readily understandable through basic physiology theory.
Steve, well said.
Psychiatry kills more with its nocebo effect than with its drugs.
Psychiatry is a nocebo by advocating the myth of “mental illness”; a nocebo promotes negative health outcomes through negative thinking (consistent with how a placebo promotes positive health outcomes through positive thinking). Testing for “problems with living” that are intended to predict “psychosis” (increased “problems with living” pathologized by psychiatry) creates a “self-fulfilling prophecy” that harms health- real (physical) health.
This is an excellent article; thank you Bruce. I would like to add that psychiatrists are often more authoritarian than other “doctors” because they do not know what they are doing, have little success in their “practice”, and resent their patients for not affirming their medical school “expertise.” This is also the reason psychiatrists have a higher rate of suicide than other “medical” professions.
My previous post was intended for William but I now want it directed to you as well because a note that I emailed to your address at “Nyghtfalcon.com” was rejected by them.
I have a couple ideas that I would like to discuss with you about what I think that individuals can do to challenge the legitimacy of psychiatry. You can contact me through “Contact” information provided at an online therapy program that I administer at UnifiedAlternatives.org
I consider your blog post to be articulate and am interested in more of your work but find it difficult to follow. I expected your website to be collections of your criticisms of psychiatry; instead it looks like a “fabulous” collection of home furnishings for sale. You speak well on your 50 YouTube videos but they do not appear to be categorized or integrated so their relative value is hard to determine. Is there a way to contact you for more information about your work?
Psychiatry has reified the metaphor “mental illness” into a subject addressed by a “medical science”; the “debate” I envision addresses the illogic of reifying a metaphor. “Mental illness” is one of the few metaphors (together with “mental health”) that is considered literally true; this foolishness needs to be identified.
I consider the “debate” about whether human suffering is due to a “neurological problem” or “social conditions” to be equally foolish in nature but also equally important. The disconnect between distressful experiences and emotional suffering seems foolish but this denial of our basic humanity is widely accepted and needs challenging.
Nevertheless, I agree that the most important debate is about “messaging”- how best to expose the truth about psychiatry.
I agree that you are in excellent company in the belief that the biggest problem with psychiatry lies with its police power but the source of that power lies with its false scientific (medical) legitimacy. I agree that psychiatry would collapse from the weight of the truth if it lost its police powers but I do not believe that society will restrain psychiatry as long as medical science legitimizes the myth of “mental illness.” If a medical science tells society that “diagnosed people” are a “danger to themselves and others”, coercive “treatments” are a natural result… to protect “patients” from themselves (as well as protecting society). There may be plenty of situations where an MD might be helpful with “diagnosed people” but the legitimacy of psychiatry and its myth of “mental illness” seem like their biggest problem.
I find this article to be one of the more compelling and articulate that I have read here at MIA; thank you for your community service. Nevertheless, I have some disagreement with your conclusion.
“If it were recognized by our people that science is irrelevant to the debate over whether society’s fears should trump individual rights to liberty, then we could begin what will be the long struggle to win such a debate.”
I do not believe that “the debate” has ever been about whether “society’s fears should trump individual rights to liberty”; the debate is about whether “mental illness” is a real medical problem or a myth. You articulately argue that “mental illness” is a myth but do not advocate for the abolition of the “medical science” that legitimizes the myth. Psychiatry does substantial harm to the community by advocating that natural emotional suffering is a medical problem that inhibits “healthy” thinking and the ability to make “sound” judgments; this legitimizes the coercion. I contend that the issue is about “science”: a harmful narrative about natural emotional suffering that passes for medical “science.”
Please allow me to amend my above statement to: “With psychiatry and its myth of ‘mental illness’, the logic goes that life is fair and just (in the community) and therefore emotional suffering must be caused by a malfunctioning ‘mind’- with a medical (biological) problem.” Pathologizing natural emotional suffering is a tool that delegitimizes personal traumas (like child abuse) as well as political and economic injustice and alienation.
I disagree with your analogy; I consider psychiatry to be a fear mongering, secular religion that addresses emotional suffering (emotional pain) consistent with the way “demonic possession” is a fear mongering religious belief that addresses emotional suffering. With “demonic possession”, emotional suffering is considered an affront to religion; the logic goes that if people truly believe, then they would not be suffering emotionally. With psychiatry and its myth of “mental illness”, the logic goes that our culture is fair and just and therefore the marginalized and disenfranchised must be malfunctioning “mentally” with a medical (biological) problem.
Antipsychiatry is rejected by most anti-capitalists; it cannot become “closely linked” to anti-capitalism.
“Psychiatry is a harmful narrative, metaphor, oxymoron and pseudo biology”; that is the message that I believe will best promote antipsychiatry (as well as better economics and politics).
How far from an understanding of basic humanity must psychiatry move before it becomes a bad joke? Psychiatry is absurd in proposing that loneliness is a disease that causes isolation (a disconnect from the community) rather than isolation naturally causing loneliness.
I do not know about your experiences of the 1990’s, but it seems obnoxious to claim that “I was never a racist until that decade came along” in commenting about a tribute to Dr. King. Consistently, yes, I believe that racism had something to do with Trump winning.
Painfully true: “a guaranteed income would alleviate the need for many to identify with a “mental illness” label in order to receive receive sustenance.” I spoke with a woman this week who was struggling for sustenance; they would not give her food stamps because she could work even though she could not find employment and was hungry.
“Picking up trash and raking leaves” has not brought the community much justice since Dr. King passed.
Thank you Cat and Steve for your community service.
Open Dialogue is more successful than other “treatments” because it addresses “mental illness” like it is a myth (a social problem with living). It is more successful when addressing emotional suffering within a community that has more empathy for emotional sufferers. It is less successful within the US because the larger community is more hostile, and the program is more “technical” (like it is addressing “mental illness” rather than a problem with living) and therefore more expensive.
It is really hard to understand something when your livelihood depends on not understanding it.
Please consider a different perspective: Your life experiences including your experiences with your “ex” are extremely distressful; your distress causes emotional suffering that is painful. It is natural for people in extreme fatigue and people in extreme pain (both physical and emotional) to have delusions and hallucinations. Unfortunately, you believe the accepted medical model paradigm led by psychiatry that advocates that delusions and hallucinations are symptoms of a pathology. It is hard to understand how psychiatry pathologizes sadness because its “medical model” is a classical paradigm. A classical paradigm is accepted by most people without question; our community generally believes that sadness is unnatural regardless of cruel and unjust life circumstances. The least fortunate 2% of the population have a human right to avoid abuse and a human right to suffer from abusive experiences according to the UN commission on human rights.
All emotions are natural; they are direct reflections of personal experience. Your fear of your ex is natural regardless of an “objective analysis”; you earned your fear the hard way. It is a crime against humanity to pathologize sadness.
Your husband comes from a family rife with emotional suffering from distressful circumstances (rather than “mental illness”). He learned empathy for emotional suffering including the suffering of an uncle who took his own life when the natural emotional pain (and hopelessness for relief) became overwhelming. He understands the value of emotional support for symptoms of emotional suffering rather than treat the behaviors as symptoms of “mental illness.” Supportive environments promote emotional well-being; in contrast, pathologizing natural emotional suffering worsens distress.
It sounds like “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” “Writing a memoir for years” is a great idea and will help you better understand yourself and the world around you. Your courage in addressing hostile comments will serve you well; you will become wiser in “learning to be less offensive” as you better understand views that “are difficult to explain.” I am looking forward to reading more of your perspective. Please feel free to use me for a sounding board if you like; I can be reached through a free therapy program that I administer at UnifiedAlternatives.org.
This website does not appear to welcome “spammers and scammers”; I assume that they would manage the site better with more volunteers.
Also, the moderator seems apolitical; perhaps more than “leftists” found your comments “offensive.”
Thank you for your community service.
Your first post was right on.
I experienced post-trauma stress; I suffered emotionally for years after the trauma. My response was a “normal” reaction to my unique experiences with the wrongful deaths of over a half million people. Instead of acknowledging my natural reaction to my life circumstances, psychiatry invented PTSD. “Personality disorders” exist like PTSD exists; they are made-up diseases that pathologize natural reactions to trauma.
I might add to Steve’s great description of the scientific method that hypotheses are to be stated in advance of research (to be proved or disproved) rather than concluded from research. Research on identical twins that legitimizes behavioral genetics is substantially based on a confirmation bias that accepts coincidences as science.
People seek emotional well-being (positive emotions) and avoid emotional suffering (negative emotions). Happiness and confidence are expressions of emotional well-being while sadness and fear are expressions of emotional suffering (and related coping styles deemed disabling). Consistently, common behavior patterns that express emotional suffering are described in categories by the DSM. Loving someone generally promotes emotional well-being for the person being loved; in contrast, psychiatry generally promotes emotional suffering for clients by pathologizing their natural emotional suffering.
The “scientific method” is the same in “hard science” and “soft science”; the difference is that “social science” applies the method to social philosophy while “real” science applies the method to the “real” (material) world.
This is a discussion of “Hard Science vs. Soft Science.” “Hard Science” is real science; it uses the “scientific method” to address the physical world. “Soft Science” is “sciency”; it uses the “scientific method” to address the non-physical world. Soft science contradicts the most fundamental principle of science (parsimony) and cannot be falsified (in contrast to the philosophy of science). Medical sciences are biological sciences- real science that addresses the physical world; actually, medical science is real science except for psychiatry that addresses a philosophy of “mind.” Psychiatry is soft science (“social science”) that masquerades as hard science- real science.
“If one takes the work of these researches work to ALL its ultimate conclusion (looking at the social and political role of psychiatry in today’s world), there is NO OTHER justice worthy conclusion than to *abolish* psychiatry.”
Richard, this makes perfect sense if the researchers were not hedging their bets with their terminology and thus implying that there is still some kind of medical “disorder” being addressed consistent with KindredSpriit’s larger comment above.
Interesting point; I embraced the term in the sixties as empowering.
Language is about usage; I personally consider the terms “mad” and “crazy” to have negative connotations about experiences that are labeled as such.
I wish that I had saved a post at MIA by a psychiatrist who described the brain volume loss as due to atrophy from under-utilization of nervous tissue. He described how brain volume loss was only common in older institutionalized patients until “biological” psychiatry replaced “Freudian” psychiatry with more drugs. Since then, he is witnessing brain atrophy in “patients” at substantially earlier ages based on sedating nervous tissue with neuroleptics.
I believe that “sad” and “frightened” better describe most people identified as having a “mental disorder”, but I cannot imagine feeling pride in my experience of extreme sadness (regardless of the righteous causation).
“Dementia” is substantially “old age denial”, but who cares about (non-productive) old people?
This may be a valuable intermediary step but the logic is difficult to understand. When the absurdity of PTSD addresses all “mental disorders”, pathologizing natural reactions to trauma should seem wrong. It is unfortunate that “trauma-informed-care” critically ignores the obvious- that distress is the natural (rather than pathological) reaction to trauma.
I would value your feedback.
I am not uncomfortable with what you say; I am a neuroscientist who would love to talk neuroscience with an informed critic. Please consider my criticism of the “neuroscience” of psychiatry at (http://delegitimizepsychiatry.org/pdf/Coalition_Neuroscience.pdf); I seek feedback of the “real” science.
“From the very beginning, psychiatry was co-opted by governments to do the dirty work of eliminating people who are different from some arbitrary “norm.”
Not true: from the very beginning, religion was co-opted by governments to do the dirty work of eliminating people who are different from some arbitrary “norm” through accusations of “demonic possession.”
“It’s easier to call for the destruction of something than to engage in the process of inventing something new.”
I call for the destruction of “arbitrary ‘norms'” (both secular and non-secular); I do not want to “engage in the process of inventing something new” that can define “arbitrary norms.” Psychiatry pathologizes natural emotional suffering (and coping methods deemed disabling- non-conforming, non-productive and/or disruptive) consistent with “exorcist” priests who advocate against “demonic possession.” Actually, destroying psychiatry by exposing the hoax will “invent something new”: an understanding of our humanity (the expression of extreme emotional suffering from extremely distressful experiences).
“Voice hearing simulations” are problematic because they falsely imply that voices do not have personal meaning.
This is a great article for parents who attend your workshop (parents with “regrets” or “shame”); parental honesty about shortcomings and weaknesses empowers children with more truth about their distressful experiences. Parents who care about their children and try to be nurturing deserve sympathy and more resources; parents who promote the myth of “mental illness” as a defense against parental shortcomings do not deserve sympathy.
There is none.
Twin studies are the ultimate support for popular theories about genetic links to behavior; thank you for exposing the pseudoscience of this false, harmful narrative.
And if your life circumstances were traumatically cruel and unjust (creating a living hell for you and “causing severe disabling anxiety”), psychiatry would “gaslight” you by attributing causation to a mythical “mental illness.”
Scientology is an increasingly corrupt cult; conflating antipsychiatry with Scientology is psychiatry’s best defense so I consider any association problematic.
I consider myself a natural scientist so I appreciate the effort by Enrico to consider a natural science perspective of anxiety; I also appreciate his allowing me to offer a different perspective. In contrast to the most fundamental principle of science- parsimony, I believe that Enrico is presenting an “Evolutionary Psychology” perspective of anxiety that lacks “parsimony.” Parsimony is the principle of Ockham’s razor: “all other things being equal, simpler theories are better” (“Fewer assumptions make better science”). “Evolutionary Psychologists” freely move from general evolutionary theory to explaining specific behaviors while they do not understand the process; making broad assumptions about the product of an unknown mental process is not science.
Thereafter, Enrico shifts from a pseudo natural science perspective to a humanistic-existential perspective that describes anxiety as “signifying something of significance that is being emotionally disavowed, or that life-enhancing sources of self-fulfillment are not being attended to.” A simple evolutionary perspective seems like better science: anxiety is the negative feeling (emotion) of distressful experiences that promotes their avoidance.
“So you’ve got a depressed man with delusions and hallucinations – what’s the plan?” Since depression is a naturally painful expression of depressing life circumstances, I would ask if there was anything that I could do to help. I would promote more justice if possible, but since I would probably have little ability to promote more justice, I would generally offer empathy. I would also reference a therapy program that understands emotional suffering as natural consistent with Unified Alternative Therapies (free online at UnifiedAlternatives.org), Open Dialogue and e-CPR.
Psychiatry is the “main”, medical “means” of “dealing” with “mental/emotional distress”; this is harmful since emotional suffering is not a medical problem. An “alternative” to understanding emotional suffering as a medical problem is understanding emotional suffering as a spiritual problem as with “demonic possession.” A more truthful “alternative” to psychiatry and its medical interpretation of emotional suffering is understanding emotional expressions of distress as natural. I think people need to understand this alternative to psychiatry in order to understand psychiatry.
I thought that Abu-Jamal was widely heralded for justifiable homicide in response to racist police violence rather than for mistaken identity; I will investigate further.
I am a US citizen; any specific reason why you considered me to be Canadian?
I understand that Wikipedia is not an academic reference but I was criticized for not knowing “common” knowledge about racial injustice rather than “deeper” knowledge.
Oldhead, I am not a racist for disagreeing about Abu-Jamal; his extensive Wikipedia article does not mention a “passenger in Mumia’s brother’s car.”
Annette’s list of icons all practiced non-violence; I assume that Abu-Jamal endured great injustice but do not believe he was framed for murder (and do not believe that he is white).
Numerous “survivors” may want to promote such a cause. Legal folks might have trouble with Miranda rights for a “psychiatric hold” since Miranda rights address an “arrest” and a “psychiatric hold” is not an “arrest.”
Well said, Out and LavenderSage.
Therapists/counselors “take” money to “give” emotional support to “clients”; this obligates them to cease this business relationship before “taking” emotional support from “clients.”
I used the term “client” to address the “business” obligation of a “therapist/counselor” in our (capitalistic) society. Lawyers and therapists are contracted to put their clients’ interests ahead of their own interests related to the type of work provided. Sexual behavior is about self-interest so this type of relationship should not qualify for “tough love.”
I agree that this should not be about personalities and that Will could improve his “‘therapeutic’ skills” with more insight into psychiatry, but I sought more sensitivity to what I perceived as an expression of deep emotional suffering from a person working hard to do right by others.
I thought that the term “patient” was the worse term because it implied a business relationship based on medical science. I thought that “client” referenced the fact that counselors/therapists have a fiduciary (business) duty to people that they “counsel.” I assume that you dislike the term “client” because it implies a balanced relationship when many (most?) people do not voluntarily seek counseling (and fewer are treated with the respect that “clients” are due and generally are afforded). I believe that I used the term properly in the above context but agree that it hardly applies to most situations as counselors/therapists rarely respect the business relationship. What is your preferred term to reference those in “counseling/therapy”?
You have worked tirelessly in support of the marginalized; I am sorry that your work does not give you more comfort. The abuse that you have experienced in your life seems to make you especially sensitive to the emotional suffering of others. This seems to make you an especially good therapist for everyone but yourself; you are not protecting yourself from abuse.
Abused people often seek pure honesty and fail to notice the standard social practice of criticizing friends and colleagues with a “good cop, bad cop” routine. In other words, when a friend says something objectionable while thinking that you are supportive, people often respond about how others now consider the comment objectionable. This leaves your personal criticism vague while supporting the general criticism of the transgression. “Bold” people may consider this a “weak” approach to conflict resolution but I consider it a communication tool. It is easy to be bold with strangers and others’ companies but difficult to criticize friends and one’s business colleagues.
Abused people also tend to seek redemption for transgressions through public “confession”; I understand your article to promote this policy. I do not believe that most people are willing to avail themselves of honest confessions; it exposes them to more public ridicule. Most people seek redemption through private acts to protect themselves from criticism. Thus standard “office politics” promotes criticizing colleagues (or the company) in private and complimenting them in public. I believe that your old company feels like it provides the community a valuable service that is compromised by your public criticism; I believe it will focus more on protecting itself than on your criticism.
I have admired your work for years and am sorry to hear that you are not comforted more from your legacy of “giving.” I contend that all emotions are natural and that the DSM pathologizes the natural emotional suffering of the marginalized; I am sorry that your suffering has been pathologized and that you are sensitive to these false labels. You deserve to be appreciated for your commitment to justice and to live in a world with more justice.
Will has worked tirelessly to care for the marginalized in the community; he deserves the same respect we afford Dr. Breggin.
I disagree with your support of Frank’s comment- that this post “feels vaguely self-indulgent.” Will emotionally suffers from feeling complicit in working for a counseling company led by someone who denigrated the clientele; he tried to rectify the matter as best he knew how.
I also believe that the “women involved” are being “elevated” to “clients” rather than “reduced” to clients; the term “client” references the professional relationship and legal obligation to provide “professional” care.
I disagree: “Sexuality is ALWAYS going to be a sensitive issue. If one is going to blow the whistle on anything, I’d want it to be on something more important than some minor sexual indiscretion or other.” Sex is USUALLY a sensitive issue EXCEPT between a therapist and a client wherein I believe that it should be criminal- a breach of fiduciary duty.
Emotional suffering is natural but psychiatry claims that it is pathological; psychiatry promotes a harmful narrative that lacks any medical (biological) criteria. Understanding emotional suffering as a natural response to distressful experiences is critical for improving the human social condition.
This hardly seems “sciency”; the hypothesis uses vague, undefined terms and the study does not isolate unidentified variables.
Thank you for this article; it is an articulate solution to a public health epidemic. There are few comments because it seems mainstream and non-controversial; mainstream media should embrace it.
Your post makes sense to me except the paragraph about “antipschiatry”; “antipsychiatry” seeks to abolish psychiatry while “critical psychiatry” seeks to reform psychiatry. Were you exchanging the two terms or were you intending to be critical of abolishing psychiatry?
I believe that the line between a moral injury (a “neurosis”) and an illness (a “psychosis”) is hazy regarding “shell shock.” I believe that shell shock was generally considered a moral injury until it caused “psychosis” (an “illness”) but I generally do not understand these terms. I know that there were hundreds of thousands of allied vets treated in medical hospitals that were “cured” by the ending of the war.
Thank you for this heads-up. Please allow me to amend my post to reflect the fact that enduring heavy bombardment was a major cause of trauma among WWI soldiers.
In 1917, medical wards filled with soldiers traumatized by trench warfare; their “mental illness” was labeled “shell shock.” Freudian theory provided a revolutionary understanding of “mental illness” and was used to treat the “shell shocked.” After the war, Freudian theory proved so “effective” that it emptied the psych wards of the “psychotic”; it was heralded as a miracle understanding of “psychosis” and “therapy.”
The history of the “shell shocked” should teach us that “psychosis” is caused by trauma and that placebos are about hope. “Shell shocked” soldiers returned home as “cured” from a “common illness” rather than “cowards” from the trauma of orders to charge an entrenched enemy in trench warfare. Instead the history of the “shell shocked” was lost to the context of the War in Vietnam and the failure of Freudian theory to explain human psychology and “psychosis.” PTSD replaced “shell shocked” because the trauma had a different specific cause and PTSD enabled psychiatry to include other types of adult trauma as causation for their myth of “mental illness.”
PTSD pathologizes natural reactions to trauma.
All medicines cause some harm while treating diseases. Psychiatrists believe in the myth of “mental illness”- that emotional suffering is a disease causing a lack of “sound judgment.” This false foundation is the root of all their harm.
Love is about abolishing psychiatry since psychiatry harms the community by pathologizing natural sadness through the myth of “mental illness.” Psychiatrists can be great counselors when they disconnect from the principles of psychiatry but psychiatry is causing tremendous social harm by promoting the myth of “mental illness.”
And sorry that you can identify with such pain Rachel.
Natural science theory 101: species evolve based on “the survival of the fittest.” However, Darwin (The Descent of Man) and many other “evolutionists” consider cooperation to be a better survival “tool” than competition; the “biggest, baddest ass” is no longer the “fittest.”
I experienced a reversal of fortune from experiences of extreme emotional well-being during my childhood to extreme emotional suffering following trauma during early adulthood. Since I have experienced the two extremes of emotions, I have experienced two different worlds. I did not know that I lived in a privileged world of emotional well-being because I worked so hard for my “successes” and advocated for the marginalized. I believed that I had empathy for the marginalized until I became marginalized. Thereafter, I realized that natural sadness (anxiety and depression) can be far more constant and painful than I could had imagined (and can promote suicide ideation from hopelessness about alleviating the pain). Emotional suffering can be far more painful than most people realize because most people cannot imagine emotional suffering greater than they have experienced (or distressful experiences more distressful than they experience).
I contend that psychiatry has reified sadness (emotional suffering) into a disease- that psychiatry is “trauma denial.” I assume that the “trauma-informed thing” will become increasingly popular because it is closer to the truth and pushed by most Critical Psychiatrists. I seek to understand why “trauma-informed care” does not equate to the abolition of psychiatry (“trauma denial”). I believe that emotional suffering will be understood as natural after exposing the myth of “mental illness” as the philosophical equivalent of the theological myth of “demonic possession.”
“Dr. Breggin has said abusive families and trauma cause the “break” which causes people to be psychiatrized.” I understand Dr. Breggin’s concept of “the break” to refer to the “medical model.” I experienced emotional suffering from trauma so intense that I could no longer sense physical pain as adverse, but it was all a natural reaction to unbelievably distressful experiences.
Physiology 101: under-utilized body tissue will atrophy. This is true for the brains of sedated adults as well as sedated children. Psychiatry’s new “brain volume” hypothesis is wrong to label evidence of this iatrogenic HARM as a symptom of a mythical disease.
It was wrong of me to speculate about what Dr. Breggin can imagine. I was projecting from my own experience; I had no idea how painful emotional suffering could be until I experienced trauma. I thought trauma was just about a distressful experience; thereafter I realized that trauma is about a distressful environment.
Good nutrition may be better than psychotherapy but neither can “fortify” a child against traumatic abuse.
Doctor, thank you for allowing me to respond and for your community service. You describe happiness more specifically as “love” and then describe all “emotional disorders” as “disorders” of “love”; you are pathologizing sadness. There are no emotional “disorders”; all emotions are natural and valid. Consistent with most cultural leaders, you are unable to imagine true misfortune (unfortunate life circumstances). Natural emotional suffering can be as painful as any real pathology but is not a medical problem; psychiatry is “trauma denial.”
Thank you for this articulate description of the abuse that you have endured; your story is an unusually powerful condemnation of our current “system of care.”
It is sad to understand that social and economic justice is limited by expense and that injustice is promoted by the myth of “mental illness.”
Thank you for this valuable, articulate post.
Ms. Hurford heard a youth express pain and confusion after childhood abuse; Ms. Hurford suggests drugs, you suggest vitamins, and I suggest justice. Good nutrition is far better “therapy” than drugs but pales in comparison to justice which was obviously lacking for this confused youth as he tries to transition from childhood to adulthood.
Noel describes adversity impacting “mental health” as well as “overall well-being” and driving people to a “state” of “madness.” This implies that adversity causes more than a lack of overall well-being and I seek clarification.
Thank you for your community service and for this blog. My only disagreement pertains to confusion with your term “madness.”
“There is a pressing need to understand how things such as abuse, poverty, oppression, injustice, racism, and other adversity impact our mental health and overall well-being. Common sense, of course, would tell us that it essentially drives a person mad over time… Regardless, it’s imperative that any person or system in a helping position consider the context of suffering and what has happened in a person’s life that led to his or her current state of mind.”
I thought that “trauma-informed” care was about understanding how traumas cause mental distress (natural emotional suffering or coping styles deemed disabling) rather than about a “context of suffering” within a “mental state” of “madness.” How does a “mental state” of “madness” differ from other concepts of “mental disorders?”
Thank you for your community service; I am sorry that it is causing you hardship.
I am also a biologist and disagree with your belief that biology can address a philosophy (a philosophical concept of a “hero”); “evolutionary psychology” is too abstract to pass for biology.
Thank you for exposing the pseudo science of behavioral genetics; it causes the community tremendous harm.
I salute a great idea including its ability to offer people a chance to express their feelings about the harm that they have experienced.
Szasz articulately explains “mental illness” as a metaphor and a myth; this was a valuable public service. He was also a libertarian so some of his perspective may seem to lack compassion unless you were raised in an authoritarian environment.
What a great community service; there is no group more deserving of support.
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.
Good point: a warning is not a warning when it is common to ignore it.
My eighth grade science teacher explained science as based on transparency; otherwise, “scientific research” can prove the health benefits of smoking cigarettes for years before the corruption and pseudoscience is exposed. Consistently, medical journals are corrupted science- pseudoscience.
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.
I do not understand how my comments could be considered ridicule (or scapegoating) and am sorry if you understand them as such.
Yes, and I believe that Chaya is local to the area as well; we should consider meeting to discuss our views on psychiatry… at OHSU.
I agree more. Psychiatry’s false legitimacy as a medical science is the foundation of all of its harm; I blame medical schools for giving credibility to this “priesthood of the mind.” I plan to protest this calamity at my local medical school (OHSU).
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.
Thank you for this insightful article; it is good to hear your voice again.
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.
I agree. Psychiatry’s legitimacy is based on its acceptance as a biological (medical) science by medical schools; “biological psychiatry” is a redundant attempt to disavow wacky Freudian psychiatry and commit to biological pseudoscience.
I agree, except I consider this understated: “The whole concept presented here, that “side effects” can even be measured by clinicians, seems ridiculous.”
There is an anachronism for that: TLDR (Too Long, Didn’t Read).
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).
Thank you for this critically important community service!
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.
Thank you for this excellent article; consistently, I worry about “autism” when addressing the harm of pathologizing childhood. The statistics on “autism” are tragic (from 1:2000 in 1990 to 1:59 in 2018); “autism” is a childhood health epidemic of historic proportion.
All societies teach the avoidance of failure; unfortunately, western society is currently promoting lots of it. Nevertheless, it seems a bit arrogant for Steve Jobs to romanticize about failure as if luck played no role in his extraordinary business success.
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.
I was trying to say that I believe that psychiatrists believe their BS but you are correct that the larger issue is about money and defending the socioeconomic system by pathologizing dissent.
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.
Szasz describes mental distress as a spiritual problem while I consider it a social welfare (natural) problem. Seeking emotional well-being is accepted natural science motivation; cruel and/or otherwise unjust experiences (and physiological deficits) naturally cause painful emotional suffering (emotional distress).
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.
Thank you for the community service of your work with MIA and good luck on your future endeavors!
I became disenfranchised from the community over the War in Vietnam (“the American War”); the world looked and felt much different afterwards.
You seem to have responded to the vulnerability and injustice by dedicating much of your life to defending the marginalized against bullies; sounds like reason for hope.
Suicide is about hopelessness (typically about injustice); people get angry about injustice when they envision a path towards justice.
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.
I agree; the “medical model” of mental distress (the Disease Model) describes the obvious problem of a “cycle of abuse” as instead “evidence” of problematic family genetics!
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 understood the biggest myth about Maslow’s concept of self-actualization to be its universality; it is tied to western cultures with eastern cultures seeking more communal aspirations.
Thanks for clarifying. We seem to mostly agree if we can get beyond different perspectives of the world whereby I consider everyone “normal” and you considering no one “normal.” I’ll stick with my perspective for now but do not want to debate this issue since your perspective seems easier to defend.
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.
I respectfully disagree with the implication that “mental distress” is not “normal”- natural; “mental distress” may not be typical but neither are the experiences (or life circumstances) that cause mental distress.
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.
Excellent, articulate article describing one aspect of how psychiatry is creating a staggering epidemic of disabilities.
Good point; the subconscious mantra of psychiatry is “fake it till you make it.” Psychiatrists are trying to be “sciency” until real science supports their BS; they can ignore numerous scientific fallacies because they have “faith” in their religion.
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.
Thank you; this is a valuable community service! However, I now worry that your scholarship students may face an uphill battle at school (may be targeted for abuse); you may need to consider supportive services.
I agree, but I also believe that it is the accepted paradigm; it is promoted by cultural leaders and many others besides psychiatrists and Big Pharma. Moreover, I believe that the general public has no idea about the BS that currently passes for science.
Thank you Jim (and Bonnie) for your community service.
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.”
Thank you Leon Kamin (and Jay Joseph) for challenging the harmful pseudoscience of genetic determinism. It is staggering how a strong confirmation bias can obscure any semblance of scientific methodology in studies of twins rear apart and still pass for science.
Doctor, thank you for making a logical medical (biological) analysis about the correlation between reduced brain volume and mental distress: it is the normal physiology of atrophy. Neuroleptic drugs have a sedative effect that reduces brain functioning; like all body tissues, nervous tissue will atrophy from reduced usage.
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 the community service of challenging the harmful pseudoscience of psychiatric drug therapy.
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.”
Emotional suffering and other natural “problems with living” are predominately solved with more social and economic justice. However, this is a far more monumental task than you imply in your article. Our society is often cruel and unjust at the bottom of our “social pecking order;” we lack the will to address social welfare problems far more than the means.
Frank, I understand the “Biomedical Model” to be the prevailing model of medical care throughout the western world, and to have different connotations than the “Medical Model” when it is used in psychiatry.
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.
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.
I guess that I was “projecting” about my problems in life; I am sorry for intruding.
“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.
Psychiatry using Adverse Childhood Experiences to support harmful prejudice against victims is absurdly cruel.
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.
“Mental illness” is “pathologized unhappiness?”
I describe “anti-psychotics” as “neuroleptics” when I want to address the lie that they are “anti-psychotic.” “Neuroleptics” seems to address the tranquilizing affect of “anti-psychotics” that differentiates them from other neurotoxins like alcohol (depressants) or ADHD drugs (stimulants).
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.”
It has taken me a minute to concede the primary definition of “scientism” to the establishment; the old definition had valuable connotations. Nevertheless, this does seem like a minor issue; hereafter I will describe psychiatry as “pseudoscience.”
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!”
I understand “scientism” to describe “the uncritical application of scientific or quasi-scientific methods to inappropriate fields of study or investigation” rather than describing a belief that “science is the best way to understand ourselves and our environment.”
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).
This is why I describe “mainstream ‘mental health’ care” as a classical paradigm in my video lecture; common terms have interrelated connotations and contexts that reinforce the false status quo.
I was contending that all emotions are natural and therefore “healthy,” but you are correct that addressing emotions in terms of “health” erroneously implies that some emotions are “healthier” than others.
And what is the official way to demystify the situation when someone says that they think that Bill has a “mental health” problem? How about a “psychological” problem? I understand you to advocate that “mental disorders” address “nothing;” this response does not seem demystifying.
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 agree Slayer, but at least neurology addresses a biological/medical subject; psychiatry addresses a philosophical (non-physical, non-medical) subject.
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.
Well said… except I do not understand why you directed your criticism at “Biological Psychiatry” as if there is a different kind of psychiatry that is not legitimized by medical science as based on biology.
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).
Are you saying that what we eat and breath predominately causes depressed moods rather than depressing social experiences?
“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.
The contempt for the “mentally ill” began as the world shifted to a secular perspective of the previous (religious) contempt for witches- “demonic possession.”
Well said, especially about “The unwillingness of the psychiatric profession to admit that such abuse is common and harmful, and is responsible for much of what is called “mental illness.” This is an important point; psychiatry promotes an erroneous, skewed concept of the general level of civility of our culture that denies the reality of the distressful experiences of the disenfranchised.
Thank you for this article; I agree that Freud advances great psychology theory especially with exposing repressed traumas. However, I understood Freud to advocate that psychosis is a medical problem (the “purview” of psychiatry) unlike neuroses (most mental distress that he considered symptomatic of natural problems with living). Moreover, it is difficult to consider Freud to be an Antipsychiatrist while his followers consider Freudian theory to be psychiatry.
Thank you for this article; I agree with most of it. However… “Sadly, there is no sign that the field is ready or willing to adopt a non-biological explanation of schizophrenia:” Psychiatry seeks legitimacy as a medical/biological science so it will never adopt a non-biological explanation of its subject matter.
I totally agree with your criticism of this article (together with Steve); however, I am slightly less supportive of your criticism of Rossa. I agree that Rossa over-hypes the value of nutrition based on the placebo effect, but I also believe that physical health has critical value in promoting “mental health” (emotional well-being) . Emotional crises are often exasperated by biological problems with sleep (and worsened when people get sucked into the “system” while seeking sleep medication), nutritional deficits (“garbage in, garbage out”), and environmental allergens and toxins (the “mad” hatter). Consistently, better nutrition, regular sleep, reduced environmental toxins and regular exercise are biologically helpful in promoting “mental health.” It is the placebo effect supports the erroneous belief that exercise alone or improved nutrition alone can reverse the effects of distressful life circumstances.
Psychoanalysis is extremely valuable therapy but it is not a medical intervention. I consider psychoanalysis invaluable “psychology theory” but harmful “medical theory” because I believe psychiatry pathologizes natural problems with living (including emotional suffering). Unfortunately, the value of psychoanalysis is rapidly becoming “forgotten knowledge” as Freudian psychiatrists retire and psychiatry seeks legitimacy through a stronger connection to medical science. Nevertheless, Freudian psychiatrists could offer valuable healing services to the community by promoting psychoanalysis through creating a new field: “Therapists with a Medical Degree.” As noted by Richard, dissident psychiatrists could also address the drug epidemic that was promoted by mainstream medical science.
I believe that psychiatry promotes a “disease model” rather than a “medical model.” Pathologizing natural problems with living is not real medical (biological) science; the “medical model” is a misnomer- a PR victory for psychiatry.
Psychiatry addresses a philosophy of “mind” and is thus “anti-biology” by definition; I advocate for neurobiology so I am an Antipsychiatrist.
Yes, renaming “senility” did not make it any more pathological.
I contend that this article is biological, medical science until it switches to philosophy: “However, there are some situations that we universally think of as brain diseases that do not have characteristic and distinguishing bodily features. Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is one of these.” This statement describes our cultural ageism and a universal lack of empathy for the emotional suffering of the elderly. I agree with Szasz and do not understand how “Alzheimer’s disease” can prove him wrong.
You are an articulate advocate for social justice; thank you for your community service.
This is a critically important topic that may be easier to understand in the reverse- through investigating nocebos. While placebos describe the affect of positive outcome expectations, nocebos describe the impact of negative outcome expectations. I believe that most suicides are caused by nocebos (including Matt Stevenson); negative outcome expectations are powerful.
I agree… but the value of science is that it is based on “scientific methodology” that is structured to reduce the confirmation bias; this includes the demand for transparency. I greatly appreciate this article for calling bullshit on what is currently passing for the scientific method in “mental health” care and for proposals to correct the pseudoscience.
Yeah, this is a great discussion about an important article; it deserves a bigger audience.
It seems basic to our humanity that physical health (especially nutrition) directly affects brain health and that “brain health” directly affects “mental health.” However, after basic physical needs are met, it is far more human to advocate that distressful experiences cause emotional suffering rather than maintain a singular focus on physical health (either nutrition or exercise) and ignore the social experiences of the disenfranchised.
Thank you for this article; these are startling statistics that deserve proper attention.
The fact that white American “mental health” is dramatically worse than others is a critical point for Psychiatry to address; why are they silent on this issue? Psychiatry proposes that “mental health” problems are medical (biological); why are white psychiatrists not primarily investigating (or apparently even concerned) about their own biological (or genetic) failings?
These statistics prove “mental health” problems are not biological (or support an extreme anti-white prejudice).
“These questions would heal. They would bring us back together with the truth…” is an extremely articulate description of causation for most “mental health” problems. Psychiatry is currently deemed a medical science and thereby advocates that “mental health” problems are medical problems rather than social problems; this obscures the truth and thereby worsens “mental health” problems.
Excellent list Steve; I believe you only missed improved nutrition (and avoiding toxins).
The UN Resolution on Human Rights (1948) addresses the right to a unique interpretation of one’s environment; this seems to cover “cognitive liberty” as a human rights issue. Psychiatry seeks complexity to obscure human rights violations; I believe that it is more in our interest to focus on UN human rights violations than invent a new concept.
Thank you for this articulate description of the harmful hoax of “mental disorders.”
Science has lost its way: anything can now pass. Parsimony is the most basic principle of science: fewer assumptions make better science. Hence, the most basic principle of the philosophy of science is falsifiablility: a science theory must identify its assumptions by explaining how to disprove itself. This “science” makes so many assumptions that it is pure philosophy; prestigious science journals now let any philosophy pass for science.
There is nothing biological about the current bio model; it is pure pseudoscience. The most fundamental principle of biology is biological reductionism (an organism is understandable through its physical mechanisms); biology cannot investigate a philosophy of “mind” by definition.
I believe that the biopsychosocial model is standard psychology (economic and political issues are included); my problem is with what passes for biology and neuroscience. Psychiatry’s neuroscience contradicts the most fundamental principle of every science that informs it (biology, physiology, natural science and general science); it also contradicts the most basic principle of the philosophy of science.
I consider emotional pain to be a natural response to painfully distressful experiences; I support drug therapy for emotional pain managed by general practitioners consistent with medical science guidelines for addressing physical pain.
Yes, I understand physicalism and materialism to be synonymous.
Thank you for your response and again for your community service. Perhaps it is me that is misunderstanding “labels;” somehow I understood you to consider yourself a “Critical Psychiatrist.” I understand Critical Psychiatry to criticize the practice of psychiatry but support its legitimacy in addressing “madness.” I am an “Antipsychiatrist” because I am more critical of the harm caused by the illegitimacy of psychiatry in addressing natural problems with living than the resulting harmful practices.
Thank you for all of your community service in support of the disenfranchised; however, not so much in this post. I contend that psychiatry is a (harmful) philosophy that masquerades as a medical science and that it is illogical to defend psychiatry (or any medical science) based on philosophy. Wittgenstein implicitly rejects psychiatry and other “real” medical sciences when challenging “physicalism” because physicalism is the foundation of medical science. You explain how the DSM categorizes social welfare problems, but thereafter you continue to assume that they are somehow medical problems anyway (the subject of psychiatry). It is difficult for cultural leaders to imagine the natural emotional suffering (pain) of the disenfranchised; they have different experiences. However, tagging social welfare problems as medical problems is staggeringly oppressive for the disenfranchised; it promotes suicide. “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive (C.S. Lewis).”
Well said… again.
This is a great tribute; Matt was an articulate defender of the disenfranchised and will be sorely missed.
“The question becomes why, if both mental ‘illnesses’ and physical illnesses are equivalent, only the ‘mental’ ones justify force.” Your answer (and Szasz’ answer) has a great deal of truth to it (psychiatry plays a major role of social control) but it is not the most understandable answer. “Mental illnesses” are believed to cause a lack of “normal, healthy” judgment; thus, society (led by psychiatry) protects patients (and society) from themselves. This is consistent with the “insanity” defense against criminal prosecution and how we portend to treat children. “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive (C.S. Lewis).”
Matt was an articulate voice defending the disenfranchised; he will be sorely missed by many.
Thank you for this blog; it is an excellent tribute.
Thank you for your in-depth scientific analysis; I always appreciate truth.
The power of placebos and especially nocebos is greatly underestimated/misunderstood.
Moreover, all studies shorter than 5-10 years are predicated on the assumption that depression is a disease. Otherwise, it would be assumed that any study shorter than 5 years would be unable to assess whether outcomes were due to the effects of the drugs or a reduction of depression. Light doses of morphine can outperform “antidepressants” during most trial periods but will worsen depression significantly over time.
This is an excellent article; “schizophrenia” cannot be genetic if you kill all “schizophrenics” in a population and the number doubles thereafter.
Well said; I always appreciate your comments.
I believe that the only way to undermine the DSM (psychiatry) without “running afoul of the worship of ‘medical science'” is to challenge its legitimacy as a medical science. A medical science is (by definition) a biological science and a biological science that addresses a philosophy of “mind” is pseudoscience by definition. I believe that our greatest allies are medical students who “bash” psychiatry as “not a real medical science;” they have credibility. Medical students will defend the integrity of medical science (before they become more vested in its defense); students are more reverent of the truth. I am planning to take my protest against psychiatry to the local medical school and protest near the student union.
And told by a “medical science” that his brain was malfunctioning.
It is shameful that the US abandoned the Geneva Conventions by supporting the “Nuremberg defense” with impunity for war crimes (Raul v. Rumsfeld).
Nothing has changed. “The emerging view is that the more overt psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia…often reflect underlying issues and conflicts in the lives of the sufferers. Most mental health experts today reject classical Freudian explanations for mental illness, such as repressed sexuality or a domineering mother or father.” I rarely defend Freud but a childhood environment of trauma (physical and sexual) remain the largest cause of “mental health” problems (if Freud’s “domineering” parents are today’s “abusive” parents).
It seems wrong to abstractly judge who has more of a right to suffer emotionally. Economic privilege certainly is of great value in a materialistic society but emotionally supportive parents seems like a greater privilege.
It seems unconscionable to put a positive spin on child abuse based on an unknown theory of adaptation.
I am cheering: congratulations on bringing some tiny bit of justice to those abused at Oak Ridge and others similarly treated; their “‘treatments” have now been “officially” explained as “torture!”
I am also cheering because all legal briefs used to support a legal challenge to solitary confinement as torture in prisons should be stronger legal support for a challenge to its use as coerced “therapy!”
Does the public have access to archive photos of the torture?
When I think about problems with psychiatric drugs, I think about someone in a fog from a heavy dose; when I think about anecdotal advocates for psychiatric drugs, I think about someone taking a light dose. It seems like a discussion about drug therapies should include information about dosages.
Thank you for forty years of community service and the formation of the Coalition against Psychiatric Assault.
This is a great article in introducing significant problems caused by different definitions of “antipsychiatry.” I understand “antipsychiatry” to have two meanings; the first is related to being “against” the field of psychiatry (as lacking legitimacy as a medical science) and the second is being “against” the practice of psychiatry (for coercion and pushing drugs). Unfortunately, linguistics is about usage (and the power to define usage) and the power currently seems in the hands of reformists; Dictionary.com defines “antipsychiatry” as “an approach to mental disorders that makes use of concepts derived from existentialism, psychoanalysis, and sociological theory.” I advocate against the legitimacy of psychiatry as a medical science and will continue to use “antipsychiatry” to connote abolition rather than reform.
I have followed your work and wanted to join the Coalition against Psychiatric Assault because the organization’s name is the most articulate (and I agree with the website). However, while you contend that CAPA is open to everyone who advocates abolishing psychiatry, the guidelines (being voted into the group after attending two meetings) restrict most abolitionists.
The research categories are vague (and rely on subjective interpretation) and it is impossible to isolate the variables; it is troubling to see such pseudoscience pass for research.
I agree with your original comment; I do not accept the term “mad” to describe my mental distress. The first definition of “mad” at Dictionary.com is “mentally disturbed; deranged; insane; demented;” none of this describes my natural reaction to traumatic injustice.
However, I did review the MindFreedom manifesto and believe that it needs revising. It does not clearly state that the medical model is a false narrative and it is too long (and redundant).
You are an articulate advocate for the disenfranchised; you deserve admiration for your community service. It is extremely valuable to “bear witness” to the cruelty of our current “mental health care” system and comforting the disenfranchised. Your story is an inspiration.
“So little compassion, understanding and humanity. When and how is the system going to change?” I contend that the system will change with the advocacy of thousands of people working independently to create a critical mass that de-legitimizes psychiatry and its medical model. I believe that your writing supports a “social welfare model” of mental distress- a natural response to social injustice (I blogged about the “social welfare model” here at MIA on 1/17/17). Consistently, “delusional thinking” is “a protective coping strategy which has been helpful and adaptive for this patient.”
Understanding natural emotions is difficult in our cultures. I had no idea emotions were physical until the warm energy that motivated my happy youth slowly turned to a nondescript aversion after experiencing extreme traumatic injustice. The mental aversion of extremely distressful experiences is naturally painful; emotional suffering is not a disease.
PS- A single caveat: psychiatry only purports “biological reductionism.” Psychiatry lacks any scientific validity; its “biological reductionism” is pure pseudoscience and any reference to psychiatry should be placed in quotes.
Thank you for this article; “forgotten knowledge” is a problem in psychology/psychiatry. I consider dream interpretation (based on simile and metaphor) to be an extremely valuable tool in retrieving memories of extremely traumatic injustices that are typically too painful for recall. I consider it extremely important to “mental health” to recall traumatic injustices in order to neutralize and counter them. I believe that the value of dream interpretation is forgotten knowledge because it is part of Freudian theory that is no longer accepted. It is also forgotten knowledge because the “false memory syndrome” fad of the nineties damaged the credibility of dream interpretation.
Thank you for your community service. I believe that mental distress is a social welfare problem rather than a medical problem; a medical (biological) science that addresses a social “philosophy of mind” is fundamentally pseudoscience. Pathologizing natural emotional suffering worsens outcomes; counselors and social workers should lead “mental health” care with family physicians prescribing drugs (that address the emotional pain and sleep problems caused by emotional suffering). Psychiatry only makes sense if mental distress is a medical problem; psychiatry is THE problem if mental distress is not a medical (biological) problem.
Thank you for your community service and this eloquent, engaging, insightful essay.
However, I believe that you are creating a false dichotomy when juxtaposing “accepting responsibility for overcoming distress” against “identifying as having a biological, chemical brain disease.” I believe that accepting responsibility for personal “mental health care” is critical but that is not the same as taking responsibility for traumatic injustices. The disenfranchised are rarely responsible for the “life circumstances” that cause emotional suffering- mental distress; emotional suffering is not a brain disease (psychiatry has no scientific validity). I agree with Thomas Szasz who advocated that “mental illness” is a tool used to subjugate the disenfranchised (blaming the victims of cultural abuse).
Thank you for promoting civil dialogue among critics of “mental health care” and forty years of service to the community. While I agree that deep polarization is harming our country, I respectfully disagree with a basic assumption of your article. Although you describe most critics on the “other side” of DJ Jaffe’s world, a large number of critics have a more fundamental, theoretical criticism of psychiatry. Many critics contend that psychiatry addresses social welfare problems and thus lacks any validity as a medical science. They contend that it significantly harms community “mental health” to treat the social welfare problems of the disenfranchised (“problems with living”) as if addressing diseases. More to the point, many critics contend that the legitimacy of psychiatry and its concept of “mental illness” is the main problem with “mental health care.”
Well said… except I believe that you omitted that educated women (people) often struggle to understand the perspective of uneducated women (who are far more likely to be victims of sexual assault than college colleagues).
I agree with Steve.
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.”
Well said Steve; the current mental health system’s focus on mythical diseases rather than traumatic injustices is the largest obstacle to suicide prevention.
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?
Autism: The Anatomy of an Epidemic!!! The autism rate has increased from 3 per 10,000 in 1970 to 150-220 per 10,000 today (depending on the government study). The statistics are staggering and deserve a book of their own!!!
I do not understand why the most obvious answer is never considered: atrophy of nervous tissue causes brain shrinkage in “diagnosed people” from depression and especially from sedation reducing brain activity.
“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.
The video seems to (correctly) imply that the DSM is a Cultural Moral Code rather than exclusively an Atheist Moral Code.
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.
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).
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.
I meant daily physical assaults of a control group; they currently allow daily physical assaults of patients in their “care.”
Thankfully, ethics panels prohibit the academic investigation of whether daily assaults promote anxiety.
It seems like you two should put quotes around your usage of the term “communism” if your definition is so idealistic that no examples exist.
I believe that the practice of psychotherapy is valuable (substantially underrated) but that its context as addressing medical (psychiatric) problems causes more harm than it can solve.
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.
Same old BS from psychiatry: label people “‘pathological’ worriers” with only support from a strong affirmation bias and without any biological support. Same old BS from psychiatry: assume that unusual worrying is a medical problem instead of natural emotional suffering from (natural) fear of repetitive (unresolved) distressful experiences (a social welfare problem).
Certainly the desire to avoid painfully “gloomy, pessimistic thoughts” can motivate a hyperactive drive for relief. Promoting experiences of emotional well-being is therapeutic; drugging natural emotions hardly seems therapeutic.
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.
Correction: search for “DSM & Medical Model” at Vimeo website.
Correction: sixty years ago.
The distressful experiences of First Nations are staggering; they cannot watch a world series without witnessing unequaled racist caricatures of themselves. The Cleveland Indians mascot (“Chief Wahoo”) is a vulgarity that has no equal since they removed “Little Black Sambo” from my grade school classroom fifty years ago.
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!
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.
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.
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.
I intended to include behaviors that distress others when describing behaviors that the APA considers “anti-social.” Certainly, psychiatry can induce distress where there was none.
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.
Excellent point; thank you for reiterating it! It is a glaring omission to fail to reference leading critics of mainstream mental health care for further reading at the conclusion of the video. I will seek your advice for a reference page before re-editing.
My comment below was intended to affirm the neuroplasticity of the brain responding to personal experiences that include “mindfulness.” However, trying to think differently about personal injustices has little therapeutic value compared to confronting or countering the injustices.
The video does not address mental health care within a social welfare narrative, but it is a critically important subject that you understand something about.
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.
The power of psychiatry lies with its false claim of biological reductionism. It is problematic to imply that psychiatry is biologically reductive since hard science will always be respected by the community more than soft science.
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.
The author describes his own addiction as a “compulsion;” I consider “compulsion” to be a habit and the most accurate term for “addiction.”
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.
Psychiatry’s power lies with their claim of biological support for their medical model narrative; thank you for clearly deconstructing their pseudoscience.
This is an important statistic; can you site it?
Also, there are no holes in “Anatomy of an Epidemic;” it is pure science. Dr. Pies and Allen Frances attacked the book (in their own defense); their criticisms were weak and obscure.
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.
I meant a medical field needing reform consistent with the Wikipedia definition of “anti-psychiatry” and consistent with most of the bloggers at this website. Only a minority of “anti-psychiatrists” believe that “mental illness” is a myth.
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.
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).
Thank you for your community service. Philip Hickey’s December 6 post is also encouraging; he rightfully criticized a psychiatrist’s effort to defend her occupation. A psychiatrist would not defend her occupation in public if she did not believe that there is a growing public criticism of psychiatry.
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 success of Open Dialogue is a function of treating mental distress as a social welfare problem rather than a medical problem; “inpatient therapy” is an oxymoron.
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.
The movie “The last Samurai” explains our culture to boys; the glorious success of one is produced by the failure of multitudes.
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.
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.
Right on! Unfortunately, I bet there were numerous reforms to the explanation of witchcraft before drowning witches was criminalized.
I also have a hard time accepting lesson #6; the more positive client and family responses referenced will translate to better outcomes and less disability costs. A one year study of a new may show increased costs but a ten year study would show much lower costs. I believe that lesson #6 undersells an important mental health program.
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.
Thank you for clearly stating an important point; constant sadness and anger are natural reactions to constantly distressful experiences. Our culture believes that a person must be “mentally ill” to suffer emotionally; consistently, the DSM permits only two weeks to mourn the death of a spouse or child.
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.
The confirmation bias is well vested; your real science is an important community service.
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.
Intent matters; the intent to murder a population should not be confused with the intent to help a population while causing far more harm and death. However, I do not know a term with enough impact to describe the harm caused by treating a social welfare problem as a medical problem.
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.
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.
The distressful experiences of his life and the fact that it was a suicidal attack seem more telling to me than the fact that it was a terrorist attack.
I believe that these mass shootings can be best understood as a form of suicide- as an effort to find more comfort in suicide.
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 .
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 thought that the main job of a therapist is to promote agency, empowerment and self-advocacy; it seems like your therapist does not understand her job.
I am glad that you validated the suffering of “a Jew in Israel” but she is refusing to validate her husband’s suffering; her husband is a human too.
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.
This political overview of a social problem is right on the money!
You are strikingly articulate telling an important story; thank you for your community service.
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.
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.
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.
But do not forget to mention the musical background while the side-effects are described in commercials; soothing, comforting music reduces the negative impact of the warnings.
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.
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.
I am anti-psychiatry because mental distress is a social welfare problem of naturally painful emotional distress (from distressful experiences) rather than a medical problem of a brain (or “mental”) disorder. Psychiatry is a medical science based on the philosophy of mental distress as a medical problem; this erroneous perspective causes great harm to the community.
This article is a great community service; thank you.
I believe that mental distress is emotional distress- naturally painful emotional suffering caused by distressful experiences. I consider mental distress to be a social welfare problem substantially caused by social injustice. This is very consistent with your theory of the Social Justice Model.
My foul…”sophisticated” was a poor choice of words. I do believe that the film has impact as it portends to be a documentary supported by a love story.
I agree with you that this film is problematic since it has a sophisticated appeal while passing harmful messages hidden by sibling love.
However, I believe that Harry Lynch was “shinning you on” when he said that he would remove the film if he heard enough complaints; the MHC is prominently awarding the film on their website.
Mental distress is reduced when painfully distressful experiences are addressed with support compared to forced drugging and imprisonment in a mental institution; who’d a thought?
Good focus Steve; 1400% improvement should demand more attention!
Although the writer genuinely loves her brother, portraying him as “mentally ill” to a national audience has given her fame at his expense. I hope that he finds the voice to tell the same story from his perspective including his feelings about anosognosia and coercive therapies.
This is a sad story about a loving sister “gaslighting” her brother with a false diagnosis of a “mental illness.” She may love her brother but she lacks any appreciation for the distressful experiences that cause his painful emotional suffering.
I thought that it was a simple question; will an inherited disease breed out of existence in a few generations if those affected have a 20% reproductive rate?
This article is an important community service; thank you for the real science!
It is frustrating that science writers have no memory of the history of past failed promises to temper enthusiasm for repeated “breakthroughs;” I wish that there was a directory of all the failed promises.
I thought that heredity theory proves that “schizophrenia” cannot be an inherited problem because it does not “breed true.” With the low (20%) reproductive rate of people diagnosed with “schizophrenia”, I understood that any heredity component would breed out of existence after a few generations. Is this a fair criticism of behavioral genetics?
This is a great, articulate article; thank you for your community service.
I have read about biological breakthroughs for understanding schizophrenia for forty years; none have been replicated over time. It is frustrating that science writers have no memory of the history of past failed promises to temper enthusiasm for pills to correct natural mental distress.
I thought that heredity theory proves that schizophrenia cannot be an inherited problem because it does not “breed true.” With the low reproductive rate of people diagnosed with “schizophrenia” (20%), I understood that any heredity component would breed out of existence after a few generations.
Thanks again for this article, Steve
Thank you for the clarification; I agree with you again.
I agree that we create our own realities from a personal perspective but we interact socially and our culture currently considers emotional distress to be a “mental illness.” I do not believe that we can effectively challenge the dominant cultural view of emotional suffering without a challenging narrative. I am trying to create a consensus around an opposing narrative to offer the public for consideration.
I am a big fan of yours since you are one of the few who understands that no “mental disorder” is a medical problem. I contend that we are discussing a social welfare problem that is created or worsened when politicized as a medical problem. Are you suggesting that we are discussing a political problem about nothing?
I have a different take on reductionism. Our culture generally considers doctors authorative; psychiatry is a medical science generally based on biological reductionism. Some monism as a physical body that incorporates “spirituality” in contrast to dualism that describes a “spirit” separate from the body. So it is not outlandish to describe doctors as monist even though most are dualists. Nevertheless, I do not understand how the author could say that psychiatry is not required to prove that mental distress is a disorder if one is a biological reductionist. It seems like the opposite is true; psychiatry investigates an abstract philosophy of mind is hardly biological reductionism. Real biological reductionism shows mental distress as emotional distress- the natural, normal neurobiology of painfully distressful experiences.
I do not know you but I know science and Jay is advocating real science in contrast to the pseudoscience pushed by careers and an unbelievably strong confirmation bias. A confirmation bias is a powerful force in support of our social construction of “mental disorders;” only an intense confirmation bias allows twin studies to pass for real science.
I always appreciate the real science that you provide to challenge the pseudoscience of the medical model.
I understand the fear of “psychosis” in our culture but the narrative is wrong; psychosis is a social welfare problem rather than a medical problem. Psychosis is predominately scary for all who have not experienced it (and many who have) because it varies widely from an erroneous concept of “normal” human psychology. However, psychosis is the normal, natural neurobiology of painfully distressful experiences; psychosis is emotional distress- emotional pain from distressful experiences. Assuming emotional suffering to be a medical problem is counter-productive and “treatment recommendations” based on this assumption are counter-productive. An emotional crisis is alleviated by understanding and resolving causation from real social problems; treating emotional sufferers as if they are crazy only exasperates their situation. Sedating people in an emotional crisis may assist in the short term but long-term medicinal therapy reduces the physical energy and mental acuity necessary for resolving real social problems. Considering painful emotional suffering to be a medical problem causes much suffering in our culture and is a leading cause of suicide.
Perhaps I was a bit cavalier in my criticism of Freud. However, it hardly seems defensible to know that patients are being raped and thereafter make up a theory about how they are only fantasizing about it.
Thank you for this articulate article and your community service.
I believe that your article is an objective criticism of Spitzer’s legacy but misses why his work is so valued by the field of psychiatry. Before the DSM III, psychiatry was in the awkward position of claiming to be a medical science while being based on the imaginary world of Sigmund Freud. Freud’s subconscious battle between a primitive “id” and a moral “superego” was an absurd foundation for a medical science; besides public criticism, other medical professions mocked psychiatry. Spitzer gave psychiatry the appearance of a scientific foundation; the “movement” will eventually succeed in exposing the fraud.
This “breakthrough” in understanding “mental disorders” will proceed like the rest of them; it cannot be replicated over time and will slowly loose the spotlight as another angle is pursued. This is the problem with abandoning the scientific methodology of stating a hypothesis before research to prevent fishing for coincidences and unscientific correlations.
It seems important to document this and the multitude of other potential “breakthroughs” in understanding “mental disorders” to establish an unending pattern of abandoned “breakthr0ughs” especially abandoned bio-markers. Jay Joseph has listed multiple failures to identify the pattern of failed promises but there should be a website for a collection of failed promises to identify the severity of the problem.
This is an area of disagreement between psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry; the drug companies want to expand their market while psychiatry wants to protect is fledgling credibility. It makes no sense that problems with behavior are “mental illnesses” unless they are bad enough to be criminal whereupon it is debatable depending upon who pays for the diagnosis.
Diagnosing criminal behavior may be a touchy topic for this website since it seems that most people on this website do not want their emotional distress identified with criminal behavior. Most people with lived experience of emotional distress want to defend themselves from a loss of their human rights that is based on fear of criminal behavior.
It seems like the “movement” against the medical model should advocate an abolition of the “insanity” defense to reject the validity of the DSM.
It easily becomes difficult to discuss behaviors and experiences with a vocabulary that supports the medical model; I do not define thoughts and behaviors as “manic” if the person is comfortable with them.
The current narrative is about a medical problem from a “mental” disorder; I believe that a more truthful narrative is about a social welfare problem of painful emotional suffering from distressful experiences.
I believe that “emotional distress” better describes “mental distress” and is inclusive of people whose behaviors are labeled “manic.” I believe that manic behaviors are “driven” by a desperate search for relief from intense emotional pain (from painfully distressful experiences). It is now coupled with depression because it describes behaviors that desperately seek relief from the hopelessness of depression. A perceived solution to extremely painful hopelessness creates a superficial happiness and intense motivation. Unfortunately, solutions to extreme hopelessness are rarely produced in a short enough period of time to provide the desired relief. Manic episodes are distressful for family and friends who believe that the “solution” appears desperate and unlikely.
Thank you for identifying the inherent stigma in the false terms describing mental distress; I consider the proper term to be “emotional distress” from painfully distressful experiences. Emotions become difficult to manage when distressful experiences become too painful and too difficult to manage; emotions are expressions of experiences of well-being or distress. The brain is resilient and operates properly most of the time; neurologists are involved when there are brain problems.
PS- It is difficult to understand the experiences of other; I do not believe that there is a genetic pre-disposition to react to distress beyond a history of personal experiences.
I disagree with the study; stigmas are generally considered harmful and a “mental health” stigma is generally considered the worse. I assume that the study did not focus on employers where stigmas are most problematic. The stigma is also perceived differently depending upon whether emotional suffering from painfully distressful experiences is erroneously defined as a brain or mental “disorder.” The stigma of “mental health concerns” appears less harmful to people who consider the DSM to be a valid document. Most people erroneously assume that mental distress expresses a biological failing because of difficulty imaging their experiences becoming a living nightmare. More importantly, it is difficult to imagine distressful experiences becoming extremely distressful and the related emotional pain becoming constant, excruciating pain.
A little told story is the effect of the false stigma on suicides. Most people who kill themselves refuse professional assistance because the false stigma of a “mental disorder” would worsen their plight.
Thank you for your valuable, historic work. Your point is evidenced; medicinal therapy and the medical model is creating an epidemic of problems that they profess to be curing.
I am glad that they are beginning to research the effects of long-term medicinal therapy but was surprised they consider two years to be a “long-term.” Two years may be a “long-term” to study neuroleptic drugs affecting a biological problem but it seems like a short term for a social welfare problem. Two years is not much time to change the course of unbelievably distressful experiences.
Thank you for your response (and again for your community service). So “non compos mentis” is no longer a meaningful legal term?
Thank you for your community service and this update on human rights. It is inspiring that the UN Human Rights Commission is advocating for the rights of people struggling with emotional distress.
However, I am confused by the success of the CRPD since it labels emotional distress as a mental “disability.” Lived experiences taught me that “mental disorders” are emotional distress and that my thoughts and behaviors were the natural, normal neurobiology of my painfully distressful experiences. I consider psychiatry fundamentally flawed in its understanding of emotional distress as a reflection of a “mental disorder”- of “non compos mentis.” Perceiving of natural emotional suffering as a reflection of a mental “disability” seems like the foundation of psychiatry and its harmful human rights violations.
I disagree with Margaret but do not question her motivation. I assume that Margaret advocates for the “mental health” of prisoners and those they have harmed; I believe that her perspective is important. Advocating for good people who have committed horrible acts often leads to supporting a mythical concept of “mental illness” and all of the harmful repercussions (including the “catch 22” of “anosognosia”). Similarly, losing a loved one or friend from suicide after ignoring “warning signs” often lends support to mythical “mental illness” and harmful repercussions. Margaret’s experiences seem to be focusing on a “minority report” based on an inconvenient truth; some people do act on their voices and cause great harm to the community. This does not negate a “majority report” about how harmful it is to deny people their civil rights based on innocent thoughts. As correctly stated, the vast majority of people who hear voices directing harm have no intention of acting on the voices. Voices are a natural, meaningful reaction to distressful experiences; it is the common misconception about voices being a sign of “non compos mentis” that harms emotionally distressed people.
Thank you for your insightful comments and this GREAT reference.
Thank you for articulately identifying the BS of bio-markers for emotional distress and the insanity of drugging babies; the numbers are alarming.
Excellent point; thank you for giving voice to quiet sufferers.
I totally agreed with you until I experienced an extended period of extremely distressful experiences; thereafter, I realized that we have little understanding of the experiences of others. Prior to trauma, I believe that my experiences were “average” and that my successes in life were substantially attributable to a better “inherited” mind/brain. I considered distressful “events” as small hurdles to overcome in an exciting journey through life. After trauma, my experiences took a different path and became predominately distressful. Distressful “events” became part of a pattern of painfully distressful experiences that exemplified my painful plight with an increase in emotional pain. People perceive of distressful “events” differently because of personal histories of experiences that are impossible to qualify or quantify for research.
Understanding that distressful experiences cause of mental distress (emotional distress) is the key to improving “mental health” care. Believing that emotional distress is a “mental illness” is the reason that mental health “care” is so harmful.
Thank you for stating your definition of “psychosis” but for me there was nothing existential about my emotional distress; my experience were a living nightmare and caused unbelievably painful emotional distress.
I think that distressful experiences cause “psychosis” and that parents are a primary cause of distressful experiences but they are not the only source of distress. Good parents are getting involved in harmful support groups with good intentions defend themselves from blame along with bad parents who are there doing the same.
That was the intent of my comment about childhood during the “happy days” of the fifties; before life became stressful for kids, “mental health” problems were almost non-existent. As life became more stressful for kids and the DSM III labeled the distress as a disorder of the brain (or the mind), we started drugging emotional distress. The result is an epidemic of emotional suffering for our youth.
These statistics may raise the question of “true increase” versus over-diagnosis, but if you are an older person and remember classrooms in the fifties, this is a staggering epidemic!
Thank you for the community service of researching the harm of the “medical model.”
However, I do not believe that it is important to identify “’essentialist’ views” of biological etiologies to directly connect biological etiologies with prognosis pessimism and worse outcomes. A brain dysfunction or disease causes far greater prognosis pessimism than any other etiology.
I believe that the trouble with mental health care starts with the definition of the problem. Emotional distress is not a “mental disorder” or a “psychological disorder;” no theory of a mental “disorder” is “falsifiable” as per the philosophy of science requisite. I contend that we are describing naturally painful emotional suffering from distressful experiences; extremes of distressful experiences and related emotional pain are unimaginable for most people.
Pseudoscience legitimizes the medical model; only real science can stop its substantial harm. Thank you again for your real science.
Thank you for your consideration. I agree that the “mind” is “an intellectual construct used to identify the processes …which are not easily attributable to any…physiological process.” However, I contend that I can explain human psychology with known physiological processes and that the “mind” is extraneous to a scientific explanation.
One cannot understand my thesis without understanding my criticism of the failure of current theory to follow the principles of biology, natural science, physiology and the philosophy of science. The first chapter of my thesis identifies and corrects these four scientific failures. The mind is a widely accepted intellectual construct (as Oldhead stated) but it contracts the basic principle of biology- biological reductionism. This is a complete paradigm shift so it is not easy to understand even though I am describing logical deductions from accepted, elemental neurobiology. .
My website (NaturalPsychology.org) explains all human psychology with elemental neuroscience; a philosophy of mind is extraneous. I agree that philosophy is the foundation of science; thus, unlike other scientific theories in psychology, my thesis is falsifiable (as per Karl Popper). Thank you for your civil tone in response to my bold statements; I seek criticism (a vetting) of my science thesis.
How we label mental distress is important because it controls the narrative; this question should be the subject of a blog for a wider discussion. I believe that “emotional suffering” is the most accurate term but use the term “mental distress” because “emotional suffering” has connotations that seem less problematic.
Frank & Steve,
Your arguments are philosophical rather than scientific. I agree that thinking is what the brain does but I do not understand what is meant by thinking is “not what the brain is.” The thought of a car is not a car but that does not prove that the brain cannot think about cars or needs a “mind” to interpret. I do not believe in a mind/body split so I disagree with all attempts to change an abstract philosophy of mind into matter. I understand thinking solely in terms of neuroscience and believe that the process is elegant- glorious.
I am a natural scientist so I believe that the “mind” and the brain are the same thing. I do not believe that there is such a thing as a “psychological state” beyond what might be described as resulting from psychotropic drugs. I believe that distressful experiences produce stress hormones to promote motivation and that anger is a learned response to distressful experiences (as opposed to meekness). Stress hormones and anger are correlated but neither causes the other; both are caused by distressful experiences.
I also do not believe in emotional “states;” extreme emotions result from extremely distressful experiences on a continuum. Extremely distressful experiences cause extreme emotional pain that is often misunderstood as an “emotional state” because extreme emotional pain is hardly understood.
This is a great post; thank you for your community service.
This is an important statement: “In reality, psychiatry and the medical model of mental illness are less defined by psychotropics themselves than they are by the concept that extreme emotions and altered mental states are based purely in biology.” It is totally correct if you consider biology as describing a disorder. However, it is a confusing statement if you consider biology to be the foundation of all thinking and mental distress as the natural neurobiology of emotional suffering from painfully distressful experiences.
I am a natural scientist who experienced post-trauma stress but understood that there was no disorder about it; my experiences were torturing me. Unbelievably distressful experiences caused endless, excruciatingly painful emotional suffering. Extremely distressful experiences produce behaviors that may appear to be an altered “state” but constant, extreme emotional pain can drive anyone to behaviors that aren’t cool. I became an independent neurophysiologist because the pros did not understand something critical about mental distress; it is the natural, normal neurophysiology of painfully distressful experiences.
Pseudoscience convinces our culture that mental distress is a mental disorder; I believe that only an alternative based on real science can convince them otherwise. My theory of Natural Psychology (published free online at NaturalPsychology.org) explains emotional suffering with real science and exposes the scientific failings of the medical model.
That is a good question; I was hoping that someone with a medical school background would have responded by now. I assume that imaging dark spots described as “organic” loss of gray matter include problems from strokes or trauma. With strokes, I assume that blood clots block blood to areas of the brain and cause a reduction of gray matter from lack of nourishment beyond the blockage. With trauma, I assume trauma tears established pathways of neural connections (neural communication) and thereby causes inactivity beyond the point of trauma and a reduction of gray matter from atrophy. But I do not know it there is agreement on this or if I am missing something significant; can anyone else comment?
If you chemically paralyze a frog’s legs, they will atrophy over time. There is nothing diseased about chemically paralyzed legs but the volume of muscle tissue will decrease from lack of use just as nervous tissue will decrease from lack of use.
Nervous tissue is divided into “gray matter” and “white matter.” “White matter” is nervous tissue that guides the flow of neural communication through the peripheral nervous system and much of the brain; it creates common pathways fixed by hereditary. “Gray matter” is predominately found in the brain; our interaction with the environment creates our unique patterns of neural communication that creates unique thinking by “gray matter.”
There is no scientific agreement on the significance of decreases of gray matter in “functional areas” of the brains of psychiatric patients. Neuroscientists cannot understand an obvious explanation because they investigate the absurd; they investigate how a mystical (invisible) disease is causing an abstract concept of a “mind” to malfunction. Instead, real science would assume that chemically paralyzing the brain with heavy sedatives will naturally cause patterns of atrophy- a decrease in gray matter. Neurology investigates brains with functional problems; psychiatry is causing functional problems by medicating natural emotional pain from distressful experiences as if it was a disease.
I assume that we are discussing atrophy from lack of use rather than some mystical (invisible) disease eating our brains. Hence I agree that long-term neuroleptic abuse would be the predominate cause of atrophy in some areas of the brain because it causes a reduction of brain activity.
I agree that it is absurd to discuss the neuroscience of an abstract concept like the mind and that this article is more pseudoscientific support for the medical model.
However, real science explains human psychology and mental distress; examine this study closely and the pseudoscience becomes evident. This study examines areas of the brain that have atypical decreases in gray matter between neurological patients vs. psychiatric patients. Neurological patients are defined as having “organic” problems- identifiable problems with brain neurobiology; the decreases in gray matter (brain volume) are logical products of recognizable biological problems. In contrast, psychiatric patients are defined as having “functional” problems- without identifiable problems with brain neurobiology; these decreases in gray matter are logical products of emotional distress or neuroleptic drug abuse. The decrease in areas of brain functioning (and a correlated decrease in gray matter- brain volume) is a logical product of long-term depression, anxiety and/or neuroleptic drug abuse. Since neuroleptics reduce brain functioning, it is logical that they cause a correlated reduction of gray matter.
“Mental illness” is a myth. There is nothing functionally wrong with the brains of psychiatric patients; only pseudoscience supports the medical model. Distressful experiences naturally cause painful emotional distress; emotional suffering is not a brain or (mental) disorder.
Thank you for your community service and this excellent article about terms used by the “movement” to describe helpful vs. unhelpful attitudes towards a person in “crisis.”
However, I believe that you overlooked the underlying difference in understanding mental distress and the role that plays in attitudes. Does a “crisis” exemplify “mental illness” (operating with a brain or “mind” disorder) or does a “crisis” exemplify the natural neurobiology of unbearably intense emotional pain from unusually distressful experiences? If a “crisis” is believed to express “mental Illness,” then medicine seems logical, and the meaning of a “crisis” or voices is unfathomable and judgment about oneself is poor (including “anosognosia”). But if a “crisis” is understood as expressing emotional pain from distressful experiences, then it all has meaning and the individual is best able to guide their journey to emotional well-being.
I assumed that a “crisis” expressed insanity before experiencing the symptoms because I could not imagine experiences as distressful and painful; I thought that I was too “centered.” More importantly, I previously assumed that a “crisis” expresses a mental or brain disorder because it appears so contrary to previous assumptions about “normal” mental or brain functions. Assuming that a “crisis” expresses a brain or mental disorder is a logical deduction from false assumptions about how a “normal” brain functions.
Experiencing mental distress taught me that our culture is wrong about “mental illness” and “mental disorders;” they are the natural neurobiology of painful emotional suffering from distressful experiences. My experiences with mental distress initiated an exploration of the pseudoscience of the popular paradigm and the real science of human psychology. I explain the normal function of the brain and the nature of mental distress online at NaturalPsychology.org; it is true, elemental science. I believe that understanding mental distress is the key to reversing a history of disenfranchising those among us struggling with painfully distressful experiences.
Thank you again for your community service, Steve
Thank you for this insightful article about the pseudo-science of the psychology/psychiatry paradigm. It is staggering what passes for science (including influence peddling, disregard for scientific methodology, lack of replication studies and a lack of transparency) when it supports cultural expectations.
I commented because I thought that the conversation degenerated from important points about sexual exploitation that I supported to bullying a fellow human being. The last few comments have been some of the most eloquent and powerful; I am embarrassed to be considered a voice against justice. I will reconsider my words.
I am glad that Sera identified how many male movement leaders are causing distressful social experiences and related painful emotional suffering for many women. Her original blog was articulate and I assume that it had a significant impact on transgressors. However, moving from the problem of male sexism in the leadership of the movement to male sexism in general invited a minority report describing female sexism against men. Saying that women cannot be in a position of power over men is a dishonest attempt to silence a minority report because it is considered detracting from the majority report. In a political arena I might accept the concept of proportionality and let this slide but on a mental health website it is emotionally abusive to deny the reality of someone’s experiences.
Thank you for your real science and its challenge to the pseudoscience of behavioral genetics and its harmfulness to the community. I was confused about how the studies on identical twins reared apart could support behavioral genetics until I read some of the original research. I was shocked by what passes for science when a legitimate sampling is impossible and a strong confirmation bias is ignored. Only a strong confirmation bias could describe the samplings as reared-apart when they were reared with so much contact and only a strong confirmation could accept such a blatant lie. Moreover, only a strong confirmation bias prevents those studies from being widely considered unscientific based on their stated methodology and their secrecy about the data.
Thank you Jeffrey Lacasse, Jonathon Leo, and Philip Hickey for the community service of challenging the pseudoscience of the harmful medical model.
The chemical imbalance theory is a “little white lie” to Dr. Pies because it is the main support for psychiatry and it is a lie. The legitimacy of psychiatry hangs in the balance between this discounted theory and an effort to craft a better biological theory of mental distress.
Best wished, Steve
Thank you for your community service; this is a pointed and articulate article exposing details about the unethical relationship between the powerful pharmaceutical industry and psychiatry. This unethical relationship fosters a rationalization for unrestrained greed; more importantly, it harms community mental health.
Thank you for pushing back against the pseudoscience that supports the medical model. the blatant anti-science of the research of pharmaceutical companies attests to the power of money to corrupt science.
Great article; thank you for your defense of the disenfranchised.
Prior to the DSM III, when psychiatry predominately provided social welfare counseling through psychotherapy, other medical sciences chastised psychiatry for failing to be a real medical science. The criticism was pointed; all other medical sciences pay primary homage to biology and biological reductionism. The move to redefine mental distress as a biological problem in the DSM III was a leap in scientific respectability for psychiatry. Although the scientific respectability is waning with increasing criticism of its pseudoscience; the chemical imbalance theory is a logical effort by psychiatrists to explain mental distress with biology. When the pseudoscience of the chemical imbalance theory reaches critical mass, psychiatrists will migrate to another theory of biological causation that is more complex and more difficult to challenge.
Isn’t the term “biological psychiatry” redundant; isn’t psychiatry a medical science and isn’t medical science based on biology?
Behavioral genetics is at the foundation of the erroneous, harmful medical model and pseudoscience is at the foundation of behavioral genetics; thank you for your real science!
Thank you for the community service of seeking to improve the social welfare of the community.
Your article is excellent; it is difficult to understand personal prejudices and it does “take a village.”
I have been working without criticism for a long time and seek feedback of my natural science theory of human psychology. I identify four scientific principles that derail psychology/psychiatry theory; solving these scientific failings explains human psychology including mental distress (emotional suffering). I would greatly appreciate any feedback; my theory is published at NaturalPsychology.org.
Exercise should be an integral part of assisting most children with behaviors that cause them to be labeled with the erroneous concept of ADHD. This would promote healthier children (and some real athletes) instead of promoting a belief that drugs solve social problems. Athleticism is highly regarded in our culture and may assist some children with social acceptance problems caused by problematic behaviors.
I might detest my comments if I were the parent of a child with behaviors described as ADHD since I do not have the patience of a saint and do not see social services that could assist me (it takes a village).
Well said: you understand that mental distress (emotional suffering) is the natural, normal reaction (neurobiology) to distressful experiences.
Poorly said: some of your best points including your substantial support for Ron’s position are hidden because your post is so long.
Another great article Jay; I appreciate scientific criticism of the pseudoscience of psychology and psychiatry.
It is hard for me to consider behavioral genetics past is foundation on the “equal environment assumption” of twin studies. Identical twins and fraternal twins obviously create different environments for themselves. Your work debunking this pseudoscience is classic.
This is the unfortunate power of rhetoric; Evidence Based Care falsely implies that the therapy is proven to work best. Psychiatrists similarly worked their rhetoric with “biological psychiatry” to imply that there is a real biological foundation to their advocacy of “mental disorders.” We need to challenge the current psychology paradigm with more accurate terms like “Big Pharma Based Care” and “Pseudo-scientific Psychiatry.”
PS- Emotional suffering is always (rather than “frequently”) caused by adverse life experiences.
You are an articulate advocate of the truth; thank you for your community service.
I have investigated the pseudoscience foundation of the popular psychology/psychiatry paradigm and identified four anomalies of scientific principles that support current theory. Solving these four scientific failings explains human psychology including mental distress. Please consider the real science of human psychology at NaturalPsychology.org; criticism is greatly appreciated.
Behavioral genetics is founded on an absurd premise; the social construction of science is evident in the acceptance of the ridiculous concept of the EEA. The harmful concept of “mental disorders” is widely considered to be based on science; thank you for exposing the pseudo-scientific foundation of popular psychology theory.
You are a very articulate advocate for the disenfranchised; thank you for your community service!
I also believe that your idea for an ad challenging the Murphy Bill is a great idea! Being gaslighted into a mental institution is a classic horror movie plot (I see the ad shot in black and white).
Thank you for the community service of challenging the erroneous disease-centered model; it is harmful to community mental health to consider natural emotional suffering to be a disease.
However, my experiences with extreme emotional suffering taught me two things about the painful irrationality of mental distress that are difficult to understand without experiencing them. First, the painfulness of extreme mental trauma is beyond description; people experiencing similar pain from physical trauma are commonly prescribed morphine. Second, the irrational symptoms of extreme mental distress are the natural, normal neurobiology of distressful experiences; they are not symptoms of a disease. Before experiencing extreme emotional suffering, I would have assumed that my presented symptoms were symptoms of a disease because they contradicted common (albeit ambiguous) assumptions about how the brain works.
Drug therapies have a sedative affect that can be helpful/comforting short-term but harmful long-term; this is difficult to quantify. Only reducing distressful experiences and promoting therapeutic experiences of wellbeing promotes mental health. Long-term drug therapies are counterproductive because their sedative affect reduces the physical energy and mental acuity necessary to desensitize traumatic experiences and promote experiences of wellbeing.
The problem returns to common assumptions about how the brain works; experiencing emotional trauma gave me an uncommon perspective that explained mental distress (and all human psychology) with elemental empirical neuroscience. The pseudoscience of popular psychology/psychiatry theory is founded on anomalies of four basic principles of science; solving these four scientific failings explains human psychology. Please consider the real science of human psychology at NaturalPsychology.org; criticism is greatly appreciated.
Thank you for your community service; I will look for your book at the end of the month.
Madness is emotional distress- the natural neurobiology of distressful experiences. Natural Psychology explains the paradox of how emotional distress is painfully irrational while simultaneously normal brain functioning. Natural Psychology identifies the scientific anomalies at the foundation of the popular paradigm and explains human psychology by solving these scientific failings with elemental neuroscience. It is published online at NaturalPsychology.org; criticism of its science is greatly appreciated.
Thank you for articulately advocating for indigenous people; it is an important community service!
I contend that mental distress (including suicide) is predominately caused by distressful experiences; mental health problems are significant among American Indians because of a distressful history of racism and genocide. The Pine Ridge Reservation may have increased mental health problems because it was the location of conspicuous genocide in 1890 and a defeat for American Indian rights in 1973.
Mental health problems (including suicide) among American Indian youths would improve substantially if they felt hopeful about the future rather than hopelessness about the future. So how can American Indian youth feel hopeful about the future? One suggestion would be for them to counter their loss of Mother earth by advocating for the land- by taking over the leadership of the environmental movement. Who better to advocate for better stewardship of the land? It can be a real struggle to reclaim lost land but it is totally fair for American Indians to reprimand those who took their land for poor stewardship. Advocating for better stewardship of Mother earth is a way of empowering American Indians to confront the American public over some distressful issues. This is important cultural heritage that American Indians can share with the larger community.
PS- I advocate a mental health therapy program that classifies seven types of alternative therapies to drugs; it is published online at NaturalPsychologyTherapy.org. I would greatly appreciate any criticism or comments about the program.
You are a gifted writer advocating for the disenfranchised; thank you for your community service.
Psychiatry relies on smoke and mirrors because its premise is wrong; mental distress is not a medical problem. Psychiatrists are considered omnipotent because our culture also believes that mental distress (at least severe mental distress) is a medical problem. Our culture believes that the painful irrationality of mental distress (emotional distress) is a disorder or defect of a normal mental process. This is a logical deduction from a false premise about normal mental processes- about brain functioning.
Natural Psychology explains the scientific anomalies at the foundation of psychiatry (and our current psychology paradigm) and explains human psychology by solving these scientific failings. Natural Psychology explains mental distress with elemental neuroscience; mental distress is emotional distress- the natural neurophysiology of distressful experiences. Natural Psychology is published online at NaturalPsychology.org; criticism of this scientific thesis is greatly appreciated.
Behavioral genetics is at the foundation of the pseudoscientific support for the medical model; your debunking of this pseudoscience is historically important.
Thank you for your community service, Steve
I am referring to failures of fundamental principles of biology and physiology that psychiatry is founded upon.
Thank you. Natural Psychology explains the real science of mental distress and the pseudoscience of current theory. It explains how mental distress is a social problem rather than a medical problem; it will change the paradigm.
Great article; thank you for your community service! I believe that science is our best argument against psychiatry; real science proves that mental distress is a social problem rather than a medical problem. Psychiatry dominates the mental health industry based on their claim of biology but true (basic) neurobiology proves that mental distress is emotional distress from distressful experiences.
Please consider the real science of mental distress at NaturalPsychology.org; any criticism of its science would be greatly appreciated.
Compassion Focused Therapy seems similar to Breggin’s Empathetic Therapy but Compassion Therapy seems more therapeutic with its focus on making a human connection.
Thank you for this post and your community service.
Thank you for this great article and your community service; psychiatry is counterproductive to mental health. Psychiatry is destructive because it advocates that mental distress is a medical problem rather than a social problem. Mental distress is natural emotional suffering- emotional distress from distressful experiences. The erroneous concept of “mental disorders” is based on the logical deduction that the generally painful irrationality of mental distress is a disorder of a “normal” mental process. Natural Psychology explains this paradox; please consider Natural Psychology- the real science of mental distress. It is published online at NaturalPsychology.org; I would appreciate any feedback.
Thank you for this great article and overview of the ISPS conference!
Psychosis is mental distress caused by distressful experiences; I am an anti-psychiatrist because mental distress is a social problem rather than a medical problem. I believe that mental distress is considered a “mental disorder” because it is generally considered painfully irrational, and hence a disorder of a “normal” mental process (that is generally considered rational without pain). Natural Psychology explains this paradox; it also explains the scientific anomalies that support the current paradigm and the real science of psychology and mental distress. Please consider Natural Psychology at NaturalPsychology.org; I would appreciate any feedback.
My foul if I sounded rude.
I would appreciate any feedback.
No, that is a philosophy of psychology that someone is selling; Natural Psychology at NaturalPsychology.org is a free, online explanation of the real science of psychology and mental distress. I seek a scientific criticism of this breakthrough new paradigm.
I consider myself a scientist so I like your scientific presentation but I am amazed that anyone would consider it scientific to hide information.
Support for the medical model is pure pseudoscience; the real science of psychology and mental distress is at NaturalPsychology.org. I would appreciate your scientific criticism.
Thank you for your community service and support for the disenfranchised.
My concern with academic research of mental health is that it generally accepts the prevailing paradigm of natural emotional distress from distressful experiences being a mental disorder. My research was purposely outside the academic community so that I could focus on the paradox of how painfully irrational emotional distress could also be natural, normal neurobiology. I do not believe that such a radical departure from accepted theory would be tolerated in academia.
However, the problem with independent research is that I have now completed a comprehensive theory of biological psychology (systems neuroscience) and I lack colleagues to criticize its science. I contend that I have identified and solved anomalies of the scientific principles of current psychology theory and that my scientific understanding of mental distress is real science- better science. I hope that you will critique my science theory or offer an opinion on how to gain a critique; it is published online at NaturalPsychology.org.
As I stated in my original comment, organs are only explained at the tissue level- with four kinds of body tissues. Nervous tissue is comprised of neuron cells and glial cells, and we understand the basic functions of each. Hence, we have all the information we need to understand the brain.
Physiologists understand organs like the heart and lungs at the tissue level. For instance, the heart nourishes the body by muscle tissue creating a pump with valves created by connective tissue; nourishment is carried throughout the body with pipes created by epithelial tissue. Consistently, the lungs create respiration (absorbing oxygen and dispelling carbon dioxide) with chambers made of epithelial tissue (that mediate between the environment and the body) and muscle tissue to force the exchange.
Physiologists understand the general function of cells and how they create tissues (systems of cells). Cells are systems of molecules; it is true that we are far from understanding how cells function at the molecular level.
I agree that only pseudoscience supports psychiatry and their concept of “mental distress” but take exception to abandoning science in favor of a philosophy of mind. Molecular neuroscience is absurd since molecular physiology is far too complex to explain any organ of the body; all other organs are only explained at the tissue level. Molecular physiology explains cellular physiology that explains tissues and tissue systems that explain organs. Since we have a basic understanding of neuron cells, we have all the information necessary to understand the brain. The problem is that scientists model the brain after computers that work on a principle of binary science and thereafter ignore binary neuroscience; this is illogical. The cerebral cortex is nervous tissue structured for thinking and the limbic system is nervous tissue structured for motivation; motivation directing thinking is binary neuroscience. Binary neuroscience explains all consciousness, cognition and behavior; mental distress is emotional distress- the natural, normal neurobiology of distressful experiences. Please consider Natural Psychology at NaturalPsychology.org.
PS- Any criticism of Natural Psychology is appreciated.
This is another great post that exposes the confirmation bias in behavioral genetics; this strong bias allows “scientists” to ignore their continuing history of false claims. Thank you for your list of these grandiose, unsupportable claims; they make a strong case against behavioral genetics.
Thank you for digging into the truth about studies of “twins reared apart” because they are indeed extremely influential support for erroneous behavioral genetics. It is astonishing that important “scientific” studies of twins reared apart are not transparent and more astonishing that they do not study twins that are actually reared apart. It seems like blatant fraud to label a study “twins reared apart” and not study twins reared apart. Thank you for your real science.
Thank you for another articulate post challenging the pseudoscience of behavioral genetics!
My biggest criticism of the equal environment assumption is that it ignores how twins are part of their own environment- that twins have a cultural bias that is typically stronger than researchers. In reality, identical twins predominately expect their behavior and mental health to be similar while fraternal twins expect their behavior and mental health to be different. Research never compensates for this bias.
Looking forward to your new book, Steve
Thank you for Mad Science; it is destined to be a classic.
I agree with most of your article but respectfully disagree that coercion is the main source of legitimacy for psychiatry. Psychiatry is supported by a logical deduction from a false premise; deductive logic is considered stronger than inductive logic. If mental distress is considered a mental disorder, then, by definition, something is wrong with the mental process. Since our culture considers science to be our best tool for understanding the environment, a dysfunction of the mental process is logically considered biological. Biological problems are medical problems; a medical model is our best tool for remedying biological problems.
However, mental distress is not a mental disorder. Mental distress is considered a mental disorder because we assume that the mental process operates on a principle of neo-rationalism and mental distress is painfully irrational. However, this premise is untrue; mental distress is natural emotional suffering- the normal biology of distressful experiences. Please consider Natural Psychology at NaturalPsychology.org; it explains the paradox of mental distress being painfully irrational while simultaneously also being the natural neurobiology of distressful experiences.
Thanks for your community service and for another articulate post.
The World Health Organization defines mental health as well-being. It is impossible for forced mental health services to promote well-being; agency and empowerment promote well-being. Forced hospitalization and forced drugging are the plots of horror movies; they cannot be therapeutic.
Best regards, Steve
Understanding a problem is critical for a solution; I appreciate psychiatrists for leading a medical investigation of mental distress but their premise is fundamentally flawed. Mental distress is not a medical problem- not a “mental disorder;” mental distress is normal emotional suffering from distressful experiences. Mental distress is not a biological dysfunction; it is the normal neurobiology of distressful experiences. I oppose psychiatry because it is a medical profession that assumes that emotional suffering is a medical problem. Most of the harm caused to emotional sufferers by the mental health care industry stems from this basic misunderstanding of the nature of mental distress. The erroneous assumption that emotional distress is a mental disorder is based on its painfully irrationality that is inconsistent with our assumption of a neo-rational mental process. Natural Psychology explains this paradox.
Natural Psychology explains human psychology including mental distress with elemental empirical neuroscience. Natural Psychology also identifies and solves anomalies of the scientific principles that support the current paradigm. I hope that you will consider Natural Psychology at NaturalPsychology.org; I would appreciate any comments.
Best regards, Steve Spiegel
I am sorry to hear that you are depressed again.
I believe that extreme depression is caused by extremely depressing experiences. I believe that depression is relieved by creating habits that neutralize depressing experiences and promote socially acceptable experiences of well-being. Most therapy programs are long on how you perceive of personal experiences and short on working to improve personal experiences. Please consider the Natural Psychology Therapy program published online at NaturalPsychologyTherapy.org; it is based on seven types of actions that promote therapeutic well-being.
What a gut-wrenching story! You are an articulate writer with an astonishing story that needs to be published and widely read. It smacks of a true crime against humanity- against defenseless children. I too will write the governor and wish you the best…you deserve it.
Thank you for this articulate article with your usual great insight and thank you for a long history of community service in mental health care.
I agree that a historical perspective can teach us a great deal about our mental process; a consideration of the original debate in psychology explains emotional distress. Psychology split from philosophy to move a debate about the nature of thinking from a philosophy of mind to a science of the mental process and behavior. Associationists founded psychology with Rationalists; Associationists advocated associative thinking while Rationalists argued for a mental process based on rationalism. The Associationists were the legacy of classical British empiricists; the empiricists were the legacy of Aristotle and Plato who also advocate associative thinking.
The original debate in psychology remains unresolved and still the most important but subsequent discoveries in elementary neuroscience now explain associative thinking which also explains emotional distress.
Basic empirical neuroscience now explains the historical thinking theory of associative thinking; please consider a new paradigm of emotional distress at NaturalPsychology.org.
I agree; you have special writing skills that articulate the experience of institutional mental health care.
Thank you for the community service.
Thank you for your community service in articulately describing anxiety; it is the natural, normal neurobiology of distressful experiences.
Please consider the elementary neuroscience that supports your premise; it is published online at NaturalPsychology.org.
I am excited to check out your website.
This is an excellent, articulate description of life from the perspective of a healthy child; sedating healthy children should be a crime. It’s unnatural for children (especially boys) to sit still for long periods of time; schools should provide disruptive students frequent opportunities to exercise- burn off excess energy. This would create healthier children for the community instead of an epidemic of drugged kids.
I am anti-psychiatry because its fundamental premise is false; psychiatry is a medical science and emotional distress is not a medical problem. Emotional distress is the normal, natural biology of distressful experiences.
Psychiatry is based on the false assumption that the mental process operates on a biological principle of rationality, and that since emotional distress is painfully irrational, it is therefore a biological dysfunction. A mental principle of rationality has been challenged throughout history by intellectuals advocating associative thinking. Plato and Aristotle, classical British empiricists, Associationists (who founded psychology with Rationalists) and early behaviorists (Pavlov and Skinner) all advocate associative thinking. Associative thinking has never been disproved. More importantly, basic empirical neuroscience now explains associative thinking.
Drug therapies may temporarily alleviate symptoms of emotional distress but it is harmful to the community to falsely advocate that they cure emotional distress. The false stigma of a mental disorder and the coercion of forced hospitalization, forced ECTs and forced drug therapies increase emotional distress; they are therefore counter-productive.
Psychiatry will only be replaced by a new psychology paradigm that focuses on reducing distressful experiences for sufferers.
Another excellent post! Thank you for articulately identifying a social environment that is harmful for the mental health of our youth.
I worry that the increasing push for achievement in our culture is also creating problems for younger children. I believe that the dramatic increase in autism spectrum among our children is a direct result of increasing pressure for young children to excel at learning instead of excel at being a child.
Thanks again, Steve
Excellent article; thank you for the community service of articulating the pseudoscience of the medical model of emotional distress.
My only concern is about the title to your article; you satirize empowerment when this seems like a serious issue in mental health care. Biological psychiatry does substantial harm to the community when convincing the public that emotional distress is biological and beyond the ability of sufferers to affect change.
Articulate truth; thank you for your community service.
I am also one who has participated in several meetings and events sponsored by Rethinking Psychiatry; the organization provides a valuable community service. Rethinking Psychiatry is valuable support for people harmed by psychiatry and their families, as well as an important forum for improving mental health care.
It is sad that emotional distress and mental health care are such touchy issues that such a liberal organization like the Unitarian Church has decided to stifle discussion.
I hope that Rethinking Psychiatry can regroup elsewhere.
blatant human rights violations against sufferers of emotional distress is considered different than human rights violations against other groups.
Excellent article; articulate and informative.
Thank you for this excellent article!
Biological psychiatry is a (pseudo) medical science that is heavily vested in a medical interpretation of emotional distress, but emotional distress is the natural, normal biology of distressful experiences. The effort to support this erroneous position causes great lapses in logic and science that you articulately address. Unfortunately, biological psychiatry causes great harm to the community with their popular but erroneous paradigm of emotional distress.
Drugging toddlers for acting childish is so absurd and harmful to our children that it seems to foreshadow the beginning of the end for the medical model.
Thank you again for a great article, Dr. Hickey.
Thank you again for the community service of articulating the pseudoscience of psychiatry. Psychiatry paying a PR firm to improve its image epitomizes the bankruptcy of this “medical profession.”
Emotional distress is the natural biology of distressful experiences; psychiatry is a medical profession and thus psychiatrists try to cure distressful experiences with their main tool- medicine. Drugs don’t cure distressful experiences; they cause additional distress.
Excellent article; thank you for your community service!
It’s wrong to prescribe medicine to “cure” normal biology; depression is the natural, normal response to depressing experiences. My biggest criticism of psychotropic drugs is that the drugs cause fatigue that reduce the ability to work through the real problems that cause emotional distress.
Psychiatry is a medical profession that naturally seeks a medical solution to emotional distress; its perspective and the livelihood of its practitioners is not conducive to understanding emotional distress. The powerful interests of the pharmaceutical industry and vested interests of other groups also promotes the erroneous medical model. I believe that only through understanding the natural biology of emotional distress will the tide shift.
You are wise and caring; the smartest thing that a psychiatrists can tell a client is that their emotional distress makes sense considering their distressful experiences. What distressed people need most is an empathetic ear and a path forward; you kindly provided “Julie” with both.
Empathy is impossible for most psychiatrists because they erroneously believe that emotional distress is a medical problem rather than an experiential problem. I applaud your empathy for the suffering of your clients.
Thank you for your community service; this is a great article exposing the pseudo-science of another effort to link genetics with behavior.
The massive quantity of bad “science” in support of the medical model of mental distress is truly amazing. The community can’t be blamed for believing that so many scientific studies can’t ALL be wrong. But they ARE all wrong! The mental health care industry will eventually be embarrassed by how a strong confirmation bias can produce such a large volume of pseudo-science from people who should know better.
It’s important to challenge the science of the erroneous medical model because it causes so much human suffering; Jay Jacobs’ work is similarly valuable for this reason.
It’s great to read real science about the connection of specific genes and specific behaviors; there isn’t any connection. Thank you for challenging the tsunami of pseudoscience supporting the status quo; your work is destined to be part of a classical paradigm shift about the way we understand human behavior.
I’ve admired your movies and now admire you’re work as a therapist.
It’s emotionally draining to (really) empathize with people who are struggling with distressful life experiences; it can give a person ulcers. However, it is exactly what distressed people need; life can be really hard and people often need emotional support to weather a storm. That is why a good friend can often be more therapeutic than a professional.
Reversing a history of distressful experiences is typically a slow and tedious process; we would all prefer a magic bullet. Unfortunately, there are no magic bullets. Mental “disorders” are not disorders; mental distress is the natural, normal biology of distressful experiences. Please consider the real biology of human psychology and mental distress at NaturalPsychology.org.
Thank you again for your community service.
Another great article Laura; it’s wonderful to hear you articulate the truth about the counter-productivity of the psychiatric view of the world!
Emotional distress is the natural biology of distressful experiences, and it is painful. Emotional pain is similar to physical pain; emotional pain is pain without an identifiable source. I had suicidal thoughts during a period of extreme emotional distress; the pain was constant and unbelievably intense, and I eventually just wanted the pain to stop.
My experiences taught me that people can gain a healthy sense of wellbeing over time if they feel empowered to work at it.
Psychiatry is currently counterproductive with its paradigm of mental disorders caused by a malfunctioning mind; this promotes powerlessness and thereby reduces the ability to change (real) distressful experiences. Mental health care will dramatically improve when psychiatry assists clients in reducing emotional distress and empowers them to change their experiences.
PS- Please consider the real science of biological psychology at NaturalPsychology.org
It is easy for me to understand why you found an alternative to the current “science” of psychology; it is fundamentally wrong. Neuroscientists wrongly assume that the brain is malfunctioning when it expresses distress; they also wrongly assume that they can describe what’s malfunctioning with a mental process unknown to them. My criticism of your philosophy is expressed in the reply by “cpmorely” (above); it seems to discount the problems and painfulness of mental distress. I am a scientist who is convinced that real science proves that mental distress is the natural, normal biology of distressful experiences.
Great article! It is the beginning of the end for biological psychiatry and their medical model when they complain about critiques of their pseudoscience. It seems like an opportunity for real science to emerge from the truth about biological psychiatry.
This is a great community service!
It’s amazing that drug companies have been able to hide unfavorable drug trials from the public record; it is hard to imagine who’d oppose such a proposal (besides the drug companies).
Thank you Jill for introducing this subject; this article introduces an important issue. Much of the value of psychotherapy lies in a therapist assisting in creating a catharsis for emotional distress. Your description of four aspects of a client discussing an emotional trauma with a therapist is void of an attempt to reach a catharsis so it isn’t therapeutic. Hopefully this isn’t indicative of most psychotherapy.
What a pathetic defense of psychiatry!!!
First it’s a small group of critiques who don’t want people who are mentally distressed to get better. Then its foolish mental health care workers who are fooled to align with their enemies. And then it’s a colleague who contradicts his point: the colleague both mocks psychiatry and wants his spouse to have better mental health.
What a different tune from yesterday when it was all bullshit about the greatness of psychiatry; this is a defense of an embattled profession. This is an encouraging sign of a brighter future for mental health care!
“Bullshit is unavoidable whenever circumstances require someone to talk without knowing what he is talking about.”
Dear Dr. Steingard,
This is a great post! I also seek an exploration of mental distress on all fronts. I am not afraid of neuroscience; I contend that we can understand human nature with empirical neuroscience and that it proves that mental distress is the normal biology of distressful experiences. Consistently, I support a social science perspective of psychology; we currently have little understanding of others’ unique, personal experiences (distressful experiences cause mental distress).
Thank you again for your open-minded search for the truth.
Thank you for the community service of making such an honest statement about your life!
Although each person has unique experiences (and I wouldn’t presume to understand your experiences), it seems that each kind of trauma offers a corresponding opportunity to connect to our common humanity. It took me a long time to recover from my trauma, but what guided me was my focus on working to prevent others from experiencing a similar (painful) lack of wellbeing. Working regularly towards the goal of preventing trauma for others eventually alleviated the pain of my sense of isolation.
I believe that we should teach children the value of cooperation (as well as competitiveness); civics/ethics classes should be taught in schools, as well as an intolerance to bullying.
I believe that we each can encourage civility in our daily interactions with the conviction that it is an admirable human trait. Class consciousness is in poor taste and should be mocked; it is ludicrous that Republicans successfully argue that rich people should pay a lower tax rate.
Personally, I advocate a new paradigm of biological psychology that explains our common humanity and the significant value of a more supportive social environment.
Thank you for introducing a tough subject.
I believe that distressful experiences cause a painful lack of wellbeing and that extremely distressful experiences cause an excruciatingly painful lack of wellbeing. Unfortunately, if there is no expectation of relief, some people stop the pain through suicide.
We need a more caring, supportive, civil society.