Thursday, February 9, 2023

Comments by Mad As Hell

Showing 4 of 4 comments.

  • Thanks for this informative piece, Jessica. Unfortunately, I am quite disappointed in what appears to have been the main goal of the survey: to simply add a little context and different words to the diagnostic labels which does nothing to expose the arbitrary and stigmatizing labels – many, if not all, of which should not even be considered illnesses but simply part of the spectrum of the human condition that we all share.

    I recall reading a collection of articles by clinicians in a tome titled, “Traumatic Stress Disorder,” many years ago. Many of the authors were European. There are two things stated in that book that still stand out in my mind. The first is that the European medical community, (at least at that time,) regarded “98% of all so-called mental illnesses are symptoms of PTSD.” The second, which I found both funny and tragic, was that the only reason Americans call PTSD “post”-traumatic is because the only times we have ever even looked at it was post- WWI, WWII, Korean War, and Vietnam. Though, I think since the 9/11, the Iraq-Afghanistan wars there has been a definite sea change.

    In any case, I’m disturbed by this survey. It seems, at least on the surface, to be inviting service users to collude in the labeling of people – just with more “acceptable” and easy to understand language. I would denounce it entirely if it weren’t for the recent release of the WHO’s QualityRights initiative. I can see they are seriously addressing the issues facing psychiatry today and I suspect, (or at least I hope,) this survey is a step in gently coaxing the anxious psychiatrists along.
    Regardless, “a change is gonna come”!

    Thanks again. It’s good to know so many scholars and professionals are concerned with the current state of affairs in this field.

  • I agree that this could be misused but the “manic-depression” with regard to artists is not a myth. The fact is that any true artist is, by definition, one who plumbs the depths and scales the heights of the human soul – his/her own – in search of their personal inner truth (“Know Thyself”.) Which, if going deep enough, one discovers universal truths summed up in John Gardner’s quote, “Art begins in a wound, an imperfection–a wound inherent in the nature of life itself–and is an attempt either to live with the wound or heal it. It is the pain of the wound which impels the artist to do his work, and the universality of woundedness in the human condition which makes the work of art significant as medicine or distraction.”

    But, because the majority live in such a deadened/numbed out/zoned out state most of the time they easily see this as an abnormality, a mental illness. Jungian analyst Robert Johnson does an excellent historical overview of this in his book, “Ecstasy,” showing how ecstasy became so suspect. So, for me, the problem is about not wanting to see these states of being labeled as a symptoms of illness at all. Bipolar disorder I’ve heard some clinicians say is a “catch-all” diagnosis for anyone who is intensely alive. And all of nature, of which we are a part, is bipolar in nature. No? In short, it is a crock of b.s.

    So, regardless of any disagreement on the particulars, I totally get your outrage!

  • Thanks for the links. Unfortunately when I tried to find the Thomas Insel piece, after getting an error page, searching the NIH site itself, I found that they had removed his work altogether. I’ve been trying to locate the full text to his comments that year when he exploded over the DSM-V. But I heard he tried to walk it back a few days later.

  • Thank you for sharing your experiences Antonia. I ended up being on three psychotropic meds. I stopped cold-turkey on the most debilitating one after my M.D. made an offhand comment that it was “nothing more than a sedative.” Big mistake as I ended up with protracted withdrawal symptoms – but I began to “wake up” again and feel emotions for the first time in years. I got off the second one slowly.

    I am now taking myself off the last (clonazapem) and have been using melatonin as an aid after reading an article on PubMed Central that recommended further research for its use in withdrawal from benzos. This one is a particularly difficult benzo to get off. It has taken me more than a year to cut down from .5 mg to .25 mg and I just reduced again. But each time I leveled out from a reduction I felt a deep sense of my old self (before the meds) returning.

    Don’t give up! It is worth it! And the long term consequences are devastating. I’m leaving a link for you and anyone else interested where people tell of their experiences withdrawing from this. It really helped me not only because of the encouraging comments but also because I learned that the physical symptoms that were scaring me were just my body’s response to the withdrawal and not some unrelated medical problem. So now, when I reduce I know these symptoms will hit for about a week and then dissipate.

    Oh! Also, Dr. Peter Breggin, a renowned anti-psychotropic meds psychiatrist who has testified in court trials across the globe and who has been referred to as “the conscience of psychiatry,” has written some excellent books — one specifically on withdrawal from psychotropic meds.

    Best of luck to you my fellow traveler!!