Sunday, September 19, 2021

Comments by Niall McLaren

Showing 8 of 8 comments.

  • This is actually a very important question: how come this institution holds power, supremely immune to criticism, able to convince everybody from governments to GPs to commentators and parents that drugs are not just the way to go, but the only way to go. It is a critically important question for the sociology of science. I’m trying to work on it but other things, like drivel from the RANZCP, keep getting in the way.

  • Bramble’s comments are correct. As a trainee, I was told “It’s your turn to give the ECT today.” We didn’t know the patients nor why they were getting it, and it would have been impossible to qualify by refusing to do it. I don’t recall that a consultant ever attended, it was always the senior registrars (residents) who instructed but after the first day or two, there was no further supervision. That’s how it was.

  • Try these:
    McLaren N 2013 Psychiatry as Ideology. Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry 15: 7-18.
    McLaren N (2016). Psychiatry as Bullshit. Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry 18: 48-57.

    I practice psychiatry because mental disorder is a real thing and people get trapped in terrible states. Every day, people get better but NOT by relying on drugs and ECT.
    I am perfectly aware that Szasz said there is no such thing as mental disorder, that people who claim to be disturbed are pretending but I disagree. See Chaps. 12-13 of:
    McLaren N 2012. The Mind-Body Problem Explained: The Biocognitive Model for Psychiatry. Ann Arbor, MI: Future Psychiatry Press. ISBN 978-1-61599-171-6

  • “Despite decades of research, the role serotonin plays in depressive phenotypes has not been conclusively determined,” write the researchers, led by Paul Andrews, a professor of evolutionary psychology at McMaster University.

    This is a classic example of bullshit in psychiatry. What Andrews actually meant was “Nobody has the faintest clue of the role of serotonin (or any other of the 100 or so neurotransmitters that have been identified) in generating the experience of normal emotion, let alone of what we like to think of as pathological states.”

  • The notion that the biopsychosocial model doesn’t exist is quite shocking to people who have long relied on it as a counter to reductionist biopsychiatry (remember that Engel used the term biomedicine).
    A model is a series of propositions relating to an hypothesised mechanism which exists one dimension removed from the observations to be explained. The propositions must be in testable form and must be capable of refutation before it qualifies as a scientific model. Engel did not write it. He outlined a case for it but never actually set down the propositions necessary to allow for a model of mind-body interaction. His concept of mind (which he never specified in detail) was essentially Freudian in concept; nobody these days would accept it as valid science.
    That paper is in Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 1998; if you can’t get a copy, email me and I will send one. A revised version is Chap. 8 in my book from 2007, Humanizing Madness.
    The problem for many psychiatrists who endorse Engel’s work is that, without it, what do they have? They use it to fend off the depradations of biopsychiatry but much better models of mind-body interaction are now available, including interaction at the molecular level.

  • This paper was published in “Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry” in June this year. It should now be available through medical and other libraries.
    The goal of this work is to hedge the spurious biopsychiatry industry in using its own methods. They say they want fully indexed, reliable scientific work only? OK, let’s see if they meet their own standards. In fact, as we have all known for decades, they don’t. DSM is a scientific farce and cannot ever be rectified. Drug trials are profoundly dishonest (see the irreplaceable Erick Turner’s latest paper, Publication bias in psychiatry: causes and solutions, CNS Drugs (2013) 27:457–468 DOI 10.1007/s40263-013-0067-9, May 22, 2013), ECT is truly medieval in concept and effect, and so on. I have found the same problems in a variety of other areas of biopsychiatry; the good news is that the rising generation of residents (trainees) and medical students are becoming heartily sick of being told everything is a chemical imbalance of the brain. We need to be able to break through the wall of propaganda emitted by NIMH-Big Pharma-Big Academia and show it for what it is. That requires grassroots activity.