Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Comments by S82

Showing 2 of 2 comments.

  • I will be honest and say I don’t like the term “anti-psychiatry”. I much prefer the term “critical psychiatry”. Sami Timimi prefers the later term because he isn’t opposed to the existence of his profession, even if he thinks it has greatly gone astray – there is a genuine need for professionals with cross-disciplinary expertise in the interface between medicine and psychology, which is something which ideally a psychiatrist can provide, and doesn’t necessarily have to involve “pill-pushing” or anything else like that.

    A relative of mine is a psychiatrist who specialises in the terminally ill. His primary focus is on psychotherapy rather than medication. I think he does more good than harm, although he is probably not your average psychiatrist. (Also, I think the pros/cons of psychotropic medication can be different for the terminally ill than for the general population – if there is a tradeoff between short-term benefits and long-term harms, well the terminally ill patient quite possibly won’t live to experience those long-term harms.)

  • For me, the big question is this – Is “autism”/”ASD” good science?

    A number of sources convince me the answer is “No”. Sami Timimi, Neil Gardner and Brian McCabe’s 2010 book “The Myth of Autism” – summarised eloquently by Timimi’s 2011 letter to the editors of the BMJ, “Autism is not a scientifically valid or clinically useful diagnosis”; Lynn Waterhouse’s 2013 book “Rethinking Autism: Variation and Complexity”; the 2016 paper she co-authored with Eric London and Christopher Gillberg, “ASD Validity”, and also their 2017 letter to the editors of the journal Autism Research, “The ASD diagnosis has blocked the discovery of valid biological variation in neurodevelopmental social impairment”; Kuskhi et al’s 2019 paper “Examining overlap and homogeneity in ASD, ADHD, and OCD: a data-driven, diagnosis-agnostic approach”, among others.

    Maybe you like “autism” as a (sub)cultural identity for yourself? Well, if instead of being science, it is simply a cultural identity, then we all have the right to choose to adopt whichever culture we want. But other people, who don’t like that culture, and don’t want it for themselves, and/or don’t want it for their children – that is just as legitimate. (Of course, when the children grow up, they can decide for themselves, and may decide differently from their parents – but until then, it is up to each family to decide what (sub)culture(s) their children will be raised in.)

    Some (sub)cultures may be beneficial, others may be harmful. Of course, the balance of benefits and harms posed by a particular (sub)culture may vary for different people, situations, times and places. Obviously, you think “autism” is overall beneficial. Other people don’t agree – going back to the book “The Myth of Autism”, Neil Gardner recounts in it how his life actually got better when he stopped identifying with the label of “Aspergers syndrome”, which is part of why he (and his coauthors) reach the conclusion that the harms outweigh the benefits. But I appreciate your life experiences must be different from his.