Thursday, June 30, 2022

Comments by terry.baranski

Showing 6 of 6 comments.

  • Good stuff, thanks to both of the authors.

    I appreciate Jim’s perspective insofar as it’s always good to hear what ‘the other side’ has to say. Two comments for his piece:

    1) While it could possibly be the case that “most psychiatrists” understand the points that Jim makes in his first few paragraphs, I’d submit that there’s no evidence of this based on how the overall field of psychiatry operates. One need look no further than the widespread use of psychotropic medications in this country, all of which invariably treat symptoms rather than root causes. Simply understanding something isn’t sufficient unless it results in a change in treatment approach.

    2) In this vain, the rest of the article implicitly focuses on treating symptoms rather than identifying (and rectifying) root causes. (This is an issue with western medicine in general – psychiatry is simply the mental health version of what we were already doing for chronic physical ailments.) Let’s look at trauma – how it causes these dis-eases, and how its treatment can resolve them. This stuff has been researched to death, and has been written about for decades by the likes of Gabor Maté. The science isn’t even controversial in a lot of cases – it’s just not taught in medical school.

  • We were just discussing this in the comments of an article last week. While I agree with all of Nassir’s points with respect to psychiatric drugs, he seems to have a very optimistic view, comparatively, of the rest of medicine. The notion that disease-modifying treatments are the norm in western medicine, as implied in this article, is one that I don’t think is supportable. Some major categories of chronic disease and how they’re treated:

    Autoimmune conditions: Treatments are entirely symptomatic as far as I can tell – various types of immune-suppressants all geared towards slowing down (but far from eliminating) a given disease’s progression.

    Chronic Respiratory Disease: Same as above.

    Cardiovascular markers (BP/Cholesterol): Treatments are all focused on reducing the symptom (marker). They then claim to increase life expectancy due to the improved marker – which sure sounds like a disease-modifying effect on the surface – but when you dig deeper you’re ultimately disappointed. Statins for example lower LDL cholesterol and reduce cardiac deaths, but they have only a very tiny effect (if any at all) on overall life expectancy, because deaths increase from other causes (i.e. side effects). So while this is arguably a disease-modifying effect, it’s not much of a life-modifying one.

    Cancer: This one is ‘disease-modifying’ in the sense that cancer cells can be killed directly, but the collateral damage is massive, and there’s little to no effort put into understanding why the disease occurs in the first place, and how to prevent it. As such, merely destroying the cancer cells is essentially a symptomatic approach.

    So while psychiatric meds are a disaster for all the reasons stated by the author, glorifying the rest of medicine seems unwarranted. It’s all of western medicine in my view – both physical and mental health – that suffers from this fundamental issue of treating symptoms rather than causes.

  • Hear hear Birdsong! Such a shame about the over-prescribing that your mother was subjected to. And I’m sure at no point did any of her physicians carefully examine any possible harmful interactions between these drugs. (Then again, we don’t have studies on drug interactions anyway – because why would Pharma pay for such research – so I guess it wouldn’t have made a difference.)

  • Great stuff – thank you for the write-up.

    Taking a step back, I would offer that perhaps our overall “medical model” is the problem – not simply psychiatry’s version of it. The western medical model is all but useless for chronic disease, focusing on symptoms rather than root causes. Some lucky folks with cancer end up cured, but you’d be hard-pressed to name another chronic disease for which a cure via western medicine is possible. Instead we treat symptoms, often quite marginally. That this sounds precisely like psychiatry’s approach isn’t a coincidence.

    Folks like Gabor Maté have convincingly argued that dis-eases such as cancer and autoimmune conditions are the result of childhood trauma – or more specifically, the result of coping patterns (i.e. personality characteristics) which were necessitated by the trauma. Treating the symptoms (e.g. joint inflammation in RA) doesn’t address causality at all.