Showing 272 of 338 comments.
Thank you for your kind words of encouragement.
Very good points.
I’m not sure what point you’re making here, but perhaps my point wasn’t clear either. Here’s what I meant:
When it comes to behavior, there are always multiple paths to the same point.
“Madness” exists on a continuum, and I think it could be argued that there’s a little madness in everyone.
Drugs, legal and illegal, can make people mad – sometimes slightly mad; other times very mad.
Lots of other things can make people mad.
One of the things that can make a person mad is when he/she is raised to anticipate a bright and glorious future, even though the ability to achieve this is lacking.
Some individuals in these circumstances manage OK. On leaving “the nest”, they adapt readily to the reality, and find skills/occupations in keeping with their abilities. Some, however, become very paranoid. They continue to try to live up to the parental expectations, and interpret their succession of failures as evidence of a vast conspiracy. Sometimes they come within the orbit of the pill-pushers, and it’s usually pretty much downhill from there.
This is not an exhaustive list of all the ways we can become mad.
There’s a lot of evidence that a history of childhood abuse can significantly impact this process.
And, of course, sometimes madness does actually stem from brain illness/damage, and calls for neurological intervention.
I think there can sometimes be a fine line between madness and genius. Almost all the great scientific discoveries of the twentieth century would have been considered, and sometimes were considered, crazy by the scientists of earlier generations.
So, there are many paths to madness, but only one is required. The prescription of psychiatric drugs, especially at a young age, is a major gateway.
Nice alcove, BTW.
And thank you for your clear thinking and ideals.
Absolutely. When one considers the history of philosophy, with its many dead ends, errors, and contradictions, the notion of founding a medical specialty on this is probably ill-advised.
You’re right. They have no solutions. The Emperor Has No Clothes!
That’s a lot to have to deal with. Thanks for reminding me why I write these posts. Psychiatry’s victims live in a pre-civil rights world.
Yes, that whole bag of drivel was way over the top.
I don’t know if it’s 50%. It might be a lot more. I would also include adverse reactions to other drugs. Also, being raised to have extremely unrealistic career expectations can sometimes generate paranoid thinking which can lead to a “diagnosis”.
My understanding is that they must specify a “diagnosis” before getting someone committed or prescribing a drug.
Sure. But the term “mental illness” is in common use. We can discourage its use or put it inside quotation marks, but, in my view, it is only by thoroughly discrediting psychiatry that we can realistically hope to hasten its demise.
Yes – for now.
I’m afraid that “soon” is a relative term. Merriam-Webster’s current criterion for obsolescence is that the word hasn’t been used since 1755. Perhaps we might do better if we strove to have “psychiatrist” designated a term of disparagement akin to con-man or trickster.
Disgust is the absolutely appropriate reaction to the bilge that psychiatry pumps into the system every day, world-wide. It is not a medical profession in any true sense of the term. It has lost all credibility and survives on press releases and bald-faced lies. Let’s keep calling them out.
Good point. The friction is the tangible product of the car’s energy being dissipated.
Yes, but “case closed” doesn’t mean that they’ll go away. They’ll simply re-package their nonsense and go on selling – as they’re doing now with the chemical imbalances. I think we also need to keep hammering away at the invalidity of their concepts and the blatant harm that they have done and continue to do.
Thanks. I hadn’t heard of Thomas Armstrong, but I’ll look him up.
Thanks. Psychiatry certainly is given to distorting reality.
Allen Frances is no friend of the anti-psychiatry movement. But I have to acknowledge that he did call out the akathisia problem long before it was on most people’s radar. In August 1983, he and Katherine Shear and Peter Weiden wrote an essay on akathisia-induced suicide. I wrote a post on it here.. https://www.behaviorismandmentalhealth.com/2016/11/08/neuroleptic-drugs-akathisia-and-suicide-and-violence/
Nice. Gee you’re wonderful, Dr. Murgatroyd!
You’re welcome. Actually, in a perverse way, psychiatry is a perfect system. It has insulated itself from criticism by accusing us of attacking the “patients” about whom they care so much.
I’d forgotten about that post. Thanks for bringing it back.
Thanks for coming in.
Dictionaries try to present all the meanings of a word that are in common usage, including slang and other informal usages. Psychiatry, to our great dismay, has achieved a significant toe-hold in the language, and its terminology often shows up in dictionaries. I don’t think the lexicographers are trying to placate them; they’re just recognizing the reality. Hopefully most of these entries will soon be marked “obs” for obsolete.
Looking forward to hearing from you. My website is still open.
Excellent article. The great tragedy of all this, however, is that according to the psychiatric establishment, it doesn’t’ matter why we are upset or how valid our feelings and fears are. If you’ve got the fears and they meet psychiatry’s simplistic criteria, then you’re mentally ill! Period. It’s charlatanism, pure and simple.
Thanks for exposing it so graphically and clearly.
You’re welcome, and best wishes in your endeavors.
Leg-breaking is a nice analogy, particularly because psychiatry studiously avoids addressing the true causes of the problems they “treat”. It’s called cause-neutrality“: it doesn’t matter how you got this “illness”; now that you’ve got it, we’ll “treat” it for you.
You’re welcome; and thank you for your support.
And thank you for your support and encouragement.
Your points above are nicely put!
Thanks for this clarification.
Thanks for your detailed reply above.
1. The essential message of the DSM is that an ever-widening group of people are sick and need the “care” of psychiatrists.
2. I’m not sure, but I suspect that there is a lot of mutual referral going on. You send him/her to us for drugs. We’ll send him/her back to you for counseling.
3. Probably. It’s easy to agree with a position that increases one’s perceived prestige and earning power.
4. I hesitate to use the word “diagnose”, but those of us in the anti-psychiatry movement are the only real dissenters at present.
5. Tragically, I think that the training you speak of is more likely to encourage collaboration with psychiatry than challenge or dissent.
6. Psychiatric disease-mongering has been a phenomenally successful endeavor largely thanks to pharma-funded advertising and corruption of the regulatory agencies.
None whatsoever. Thanks for pointing this out.
Thanks. The world is indeed a very oppressive place.
And thank you for coming in.
Good points. Thanks.
The surgery metaphor is frighteningly apt!
Absolutely best psychiatric science!
The “urban legend” drivel came from the eminent and scholarly Ronald Pies, MD. And yes, they will say anything to maintain their place in the hierarchy and their earning power.
I think it is almost always the case that psychiatric pills cause more harm than good. This is especially true in the long term, but devastating reactions can also occur in the short term.
Thanks for this.
Thanks for coming in. Two thoughts come to mind. Firstly, depressive feelings can be relieved by addressing the issues that maintain them. Secondly, have you checked out the long-term consequences of inhibiting serotonin reuptake? Again, thanks for your perspective.
Thanks. But in fact, Dr. Kendler handed it to me on a plate with the “enduring commitment” quote.
Psychiatrists have integrated themselves so well into our culture that parents who refuse to take their child to a psychiatrist can find themselves in serious legal trouble.
I agree. The only source of the stigma is the “diagnosis”.
Thanks for this. We need to continually chip away at their credibility by exposing the hoax and the blatant conflicts of interest.
Yes. There probably are some psychiatrists who believe the hoax. But they should know better. Thanks for coming in.
Thanks for your encouraging words. “A catalog of billing codes” – that’s perfect!
Thanks. You’re correct in pointing out that psychiatric drugs can produce these “psychiatric illnesses”. But the primary psychiatric position is that these “illnesses” arise spontaneously in treatment-naïve individuals.
Thanks for a very compelling, though disturbing, article. It’s always enlightening to read your material.
I don’t idealize real medicine. My general point is that real medicine discovers its illnesses in nature; psychiatry invents its “illnesses”, and its “treatment” of these “illnesses” differs little from street drug pushing. Real medicine is a valid, bona fide profession. Psychiatry is a hoax.
And a very pointed satire. Thanks.
I agree. The good doctor doth protest way too much!
“Trauma defines us all…” That’s a very helpful concept. We need to address these things, not occlude our self-perception with pills. Thanks.
Thanks for coming in and for your encouragement.
You’re right. Chemical imbalance is a marketing slogan.
So the hoax has, literally, gone round the world!
I’m not sure what this means: perhaps that we’re all a little different neurologically? I would agree with that. We’re all a little different in almost every respect.
Thanks for your support.
I don’t, routinely or otherwise, “erase the experiences of those who *have* found meds helpful”, though I do challenge the notion that psychiatric drugs can be considered meds.
I have never claimed that “everyone agrees that other medical diagnoses are entirely homogenous with clear cut etiologies”.
My position is really very simple: that the loose collections of vaguely-defined problems of thinking, feeling, and behaving that psychiatry calls mental illnesses are not illnesses in any ordinary sense of the term, and that the drugs that psychiatry dispenses so liberally to “treat” these so-called illnesses almost always do more harm than good, especially in the long term.
Feel free to critique my work, but please confine your critiques to material that I have actually written. I make myself very clear.
Thanks for coming in. You’re absolutely right – sadness is the natural response to loss and adverse experiences. The distinction between “endogenous depression” and “exogenous depression” was always a hoax. Endogenous depression was, by definition, sadness for which psychiatrists couldn’t identify a precipitating event(s). It was a very pure kind of arrogance (unique, I think, to psychiatry) to conclude that therefore no precipitating source of the sadness exists. As you so correctly say, they didn’t find these sources because they didn’t look hard enough. And they didn’t look hard enough because it suited their purpose not to find them. As you say: money and power.
You’ve identified a major issue. A chemical process is not necessarily pathological.
Yeah, right. Lol.
Very true. Thanks for this important point.
I think that’s a good answer. At present, psychiatry has a stifling effect on these kinds of creative ideas. Psychiatry says: Send them to us – we’ll take care of them. And society shrugs, and says OK. Take psychiatry out of the picture, and we’ll find that there are other non-medical ways to help people.
Helping people to cope with depression is not a hi-tech activity. People have been doing it successfully for thousands of years. As psychiatry fades, I expect we’ll see a return to these ways.
It would also be great if the real doctors would start to point out psychiatry’s flaws.
Slaying the Dragon,
Putting dents in the façade of psychiatry. That’s a perfect description. Enough dents, and the thing breaks.
Thanks for the correction. And yes, the quackery, with its disastrous results, continues.
Psychiatry has lost the intellectual and moral arguments. All they have left is PR – spin. Calling us deniers is just another example of this. But spin can only take one so far.
Thank you for the encouraging words.
Thanks. It’s nice to be back.
Her name is Paula Caplan. She wrote an article titled Diagnosisgate: Conflict of Interest at the Top of the Psychiatric Apparatus, published in Aporia in 2015. http://www.oa.uottawa.ca/journals/aporia/articles/2015_01/commentary.pdf
There’s a link to this in my post.
Thanks for the info and the link.
Nice summary of psychiatric defense strategy!
I do indeed think there will come a time when people will look back on this era and shake their heads in disbelief and horror.
Yes. They make great use of the word “may”.
When they ridicule you, you know you are having an effect.
Yes. And he never came clean about the Risperdal scandal.
Yes. It seems unlikely that he’ll abandon the ship he has sailed so long and for such profit.
Thanks for the link.
You’re probably right.
Thanks for coming in, and for your words of encouragement.
Yes. But I still have hope. Perhaps a deluded hope, but hope nonetheless. The hope that psychiatry, with its fake illnesses and destructive “treatments”, will perish from the land.
“So has society lost its ability to recognize false logic, or are people too intimidated to reveal their inner suspicions when they pick up on any of the disingenuous contradictions permeating such thoroughly mediocre propaganda?”
That’s a great question. How can they continue to get away with this drivel? My hope (belief?) is that as more and more people join the ranks of anti-psychiatry, we’ll reach a sort of critical mass that will be hard for psychiatrists to ignore.
Of course, they’re already positioning themselves for this. Remember the great psychiatrist Ronald Pies, MD, asserting that psychiatry never really promoted the chemical imbalance theory! And currently Allen Frances is busy pushing the fairy tale that it was not psychiatry that was doing all the damage, but rather the mean ol’ GPs, and of course, pharma.
Yes. Some things don’t change.
Sorry to learn of your tardive dyskinesia. Interestingly, virtually every member of the general public with whom I’ve discussed this has expressed the belief that the tardive dyskinesia and the akathisia are “symptoms of the illness”. When I explain that they’re adverse effects of the drugs, the response is invariably one of utter disbelief. But psychiatry has done nothing to dispel this misperception.
Thanks for coming in. Certainly the dogmatism and the spurious nature of the “diagnoses” are dehumanizing, destructive, and disempowering.
Thanks for the encouragement.
I’m long retired. But I well remember the time when psychiatrists argued vehemently against “schizophrenics” finding any kind of productive, independent life, on the grounds that they couldn’t cope with the stress. A self-fulfilling prophecy; especially when the hapless individuals were loaded with neuroleptics.
Yes. And a lot more besides.
It would be interesting if someone could conduct a study to see how many psychiatrists or their children/spouses take these pills.
Yes. They are annoying. They won’t take their pills as ordered by THE DOCTOR. The fact that they know intuitively that the pills are destroying them is irrelevant. What a farce!
Dr. Lieberman has also, on another occasion, described us anti-psychiatry activists as “rabid ideologues” (https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/879623). Rationality is not his strong suit.
Yes. Unless he’s a hopeless case!
Nice! The genetically perfect psychiatrists “treating” the genetically flawed “patients”. What next?
Psychiatry is definitely not OK. It is something fundamentally flawed and rotten. But they get away with what they do because the general public can’t believe that a “legitimate” medical specialty could possibly be this destructive.
Thanks for putting it so plainly and succinctly.
I don’t think any reasonable person would interpret my contention that psychiatry is a hoax as implying that every single psychiatrist is complicit in that hoax.
This string began when you questioned/challenged my characterization of psychiatry as a hoax. I responded to this by pointing out the twin deceptions that the vast majority of psychiatrists promote: that depression, and a wide array of other human problems, are caused by neuropathology; and that psychiatric drugs remedy this pathology. The onus, I suggest, was on you at that point to come back with some facts, references, or evidence to the contrary, or at least, a cogent argument.
But in your response, you completely ignored the deception/hoax issue, and instead launched several groundless ad hominem attacks at me.
I responded to each of these attacks, and pointed out that you seemed more interested in scoring points than in substantive debate.
Now you’re back asking me what evidence I have for my accusations of deception. But you’re missing the point. The statements concerned are false. So when psychiatrists promote these statements, they either don’t realize that they’re false (in which case, they’re not too bright), or they are being deceptive. As I don’t consider psychiatrists as a group to be particularly obtuse, the deception conclusion is inevitable. If you wish to read more on my position on this matter, please see my post Psychiatry DID Promote the Chemical Imbalance Theory http://behaviorismandmentalhealth.com/2014/06/06/psychiatry-did-promote-the-chemical-imbalance-theory/
You say that I “foreground drugs”, which I assume means emphasize. This is untrue. I respect the rights of each individual to ingest whatever he or she chooses. What I challenge, and emphatically condemn, is the fact that psychiatry uses blatant deception to induce people to take these drugs. They tell people, who present no indications or evidence of neurological illness, that they have such an illness, and that the drugs are necessary to remedy this disorder.
You have throughout this string failed to address the matter of the twin deceptions, and have consistently avoided substantive debate. But in your response to Phoenix, you “question” whether I really want to have a substantive debate or merely want to “vent a longstanding grudge”. The implication being that my critiques of psychiatry stem, not from any objective assessment of its activities or perspectives, but rather from some personal vituperation of my own. Is it possible that you imagine that this kind of petty retorting constitutes substantive debate? Is it possible that you consider these gratuitous, deprecative attacks as having some value?
If you wish to discuss/debate the hoax issue, or indeed any issue on which I have written, then by all means come back. If your comments are pertinent and objective, I will respond. But if you persist in these vacuous and groundless attacks, I will not respond.
Yes, they lost their insight when they dared to disagree with the psychiatrists as to what they should or should not ingest!
Thank you for these interesting perspectives, and for your encouraging words.
I agree entirely that we should maintain an actively adversarial stance to psychiatry. Psychiatry is not going to “see the light” and abandon their destructive, disempowering, and stigmatizing activities. Nor will they abandon their spurious concepts, because their very existence as “medical practitioners” depends on these concepts.
We need to maintain and support the critiquing of psychiatry as vigorously, and on as many fronts, as possible.
The essence of my response to you (above) was that psychiatry has been actively promoting two enormous deceptions for decades. If you are disputing this, then please send me references to support the illness assertions or the curative assertions concerning the drugs. I would be happy to take a look, and, as I’ve said many times in my posts, if the evidence disproves my position, I will promptly apologize for my errors. In the absence of such proof, or even a convincing argument, however, what kind of “moderation” are you expecting? A destructive, disempowering hoax is a destructive, disempowering hoax.
To the best of my knowledge, there is nothing in my writings that could even remotely be described as Utopian. If you have seen something of that sort, I would be grateful if you could draw it to my attention.
With regards to the assertions that I do, in fact, make, they are eminently testable against reality. For instance, if it were demonstrated that all the individuals whom psychiatry identifies as “having major depression” were found to have a particular neurological pathology in a part of the brain associated with emotions, then my assertion fails, or at the very least is in serious trouble. To date, despite decades of lavishly-funded and highly motivated research, no such findings are to hand.
You assert that I seem to lack sympathy for people who have been damaged by psychiatry. How you can interpret any of my writings in that light is beyond my comprehension. I have enormous sympathy toward the people who have been damaged (some, very severely) by psychiatry. Indeed, my primary motivation in writing these posts, which I’ve been doing for the past nine years, stems precisely from sentiments of that sort.
I assume that your reference to my “lofty” position is sarcasm.
Your leap from my response to the assertion that I believe psychiatrists’ clients deserve their fate because they are too stupid to see through the hoax is groundless. I have never said, or even implied, anything of the sort, and it is difficult to avoid the perception that you are resorting to ad hominem attacks rather than substantive debate.
Thanks for coming in. I agree whole-heartedly that psychiatry needs to go, and I believe that the PTM document will promote that objective.
Thanks for this interesting perspective.
Paradoxically, although I’m very clear about aims, methods, perspectives, and philosophy of the psychiatric profession, I cannot say the same about the profession of psychology. This is because, almost from its beginning, psychology glommed onto psychiatry as a ready-made portal to the “mental health’ business. And in many (perhaps most) cases, psychologists adopted psychiatry’s spurious philosophy whole-heartedly. At present, psychologists in America are lobbying hard at state level for prescribing “privileges”, and in some states have already achieved this. Psychology was co-opted by psychiatry decades ago.
During my own career (I’m long retired), I always opened my discussions with people who came to me for help with a simple question: “How can I help you?” I then shut up and listened.
And here’s the great heresy: most of what I did that was helpful wasn’t so much a product of specialized training in psychology, as a willingness to listen, an ability to empathize, and some personal experience of life’s vicissitudes and challenges.-
Thanks for this. Please see my response to Frank Blankenship above.
You are, in my view, correct in pointing out that psychiatry will try to co-opt the PTM perspective. Watch for statements like: careful and experienced psychiatrists have always been cognizant of these matters, etc.
My own position has always been that psychiatry’s systematic medicalization of all human problems is a destructive, disempowering hoax which has done and continues to do untold damage to people world-wide.
It is also my position that psychiatry is irremediable, for the simple reason that they cannot let go of their spurious illnesses and their destructive “treatments”. Psychiatry must go, and it is to this end that I direct all my writing.
In my view, the PTM document sets out clearly and in great detail the shortcomings of the psychiatric model, particularly the fact that psychiatric “diagnoses” are routinely used to conceal many of the great flaws and injustices in our society.
For decades, psychiatrists (including psychiatric leaders) have avidly promoted the falsehood that depression which crosses arbitrary and vaguely defined thresholds of severity, duration, and frequency is caused by brain pathology; specifically neurotransmitter imbalance. This is a monstrous deception, but is compounded by the even more appalling suggestion that this supposed pathology is corrected by psychiatric drugs (especially SSRIs). This is a hoax: something intended to deceive or defraud. Similar comments can be made concerning other psychiatric “diagnoses”.
Like you, I am also wary of replacing the psychiatric system with another system. Given the fundamental dynamics of our present society, there is always the possibility that a replacement system can be co-opted by commercial forces. Indeed, I imagine that commercial interests have already set their sights on the PTM framework and the “opportunities” that might lie therein. I like the notion of a get-off-my-back non-system, and I think Lucy’s comment above is apt.
I personally favor a mutually supportive non-system along the AA model, but without the dogmatism and religious overtones that put so many people off AA. But we also need a radical transformation of our societal values and institutions.
In my view, the great value of the PTM framework is not that it provides an alternative system, but rather an alternative perspective. Depression is not an illness, but rather an entirely understandable response to truly dreadful circumstances and oppressive discriminative institutions.
The terms “disorder” and “illness” and “disease” are used interchangeably in general medicine and in psychiatry. Moreover, if the APA had something other than illness in mind when they coined this title in 1952, they’ve had lots of time to clarify the matter.
Yes. In my view, Dr. Pies is a kind of perfect reflection of psychiatry’s errors and self-serving notions.
There is absolutely nothing good about psychiatry!
I agree. The psychiatrists’ medicalization of non-medical problems is a self-serving hoax.
Yes. And the APA hired the services of Porter Novelli, a world-renowned PR company. PR is all they have left.
And the great irony here is that prior to these studies, Nancy Andreasen had invented the term “Broken Brain”. It’s the title of her 1984 book!
Tragically, many psychologists are fully hooked into the psychiatric hoax.
And thank you for your support.
The central problem of psychiatry is that it’s based on a lie – that the problems listed in the DSM are illnesses. Because of this lie, they promote a medical model, which incidentally (or perhaps not) works to their advantage.
Thanks for putting this so well.
It’s hard to argue with any of that. And mindfulness was an incredible reach!
Thanks. Psychiatry really does kill, and I think the link between the mass murders/suicides and SSRI’s, when it’s finally confirmed unequivocally, will be the final nail in the coffin.
Very good point. Thanks.
I’m glad to hear that you’re getting help. But I see no parallel between general medicine and psychiatry. But that’s a long discussion.
I did indeed read How Psychiatry Evolved into a Religion. It’s a beautiful piece, and the historical analysis is 100% accurate. I’ve read several posts that you’ve put up on MIA, and I’m extremely gratified that we have someone of your skill, experience, and forthrightness on our side.
I’m not sure we ever really did. Even during the psychoanalytic period, there was lots of bio-bio-bio back at the asylums.
And thank you also.
Thank you for your kind and encouraging words.
True. Not really extraordinary – psychiatry as usual, perhaps.
Exactly! The fact that they are proposing this kind of shabby advertising is tantamount to admitting that they have nothing of substance to offer.
And tragically, I have to acknowledge that one of these professions is psychology, who hang in for the sake of the crumbs that fall fro the rich man’s table.
Perhaps there are some who’ve seen a romanticized version in a movie or something like that, but I imagine that kind of romance wears off pretty soon.
It’s interesting that some of them are willing to admit the hoax privately, but won’t take the next logical step!
Thanks for coming back. There are few problems in life that psychiatry can’t make a great deal worse.
Thanks for your encouragement.
And thank you for your kind and encouraging words.
Thanks for coming in, and for the link. At the present time, psychiatrists have become so emboldened that they almost don’t care how farcical and deceptive their position is. They seem confident that the people will accept any nonsense that they put out. But times are changing.
I hope thing are good in Australia.
Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll take a look.
Yes. Childhood disobedience is a “mental illness” (oppositional defiant disorder). Crime is a “mental illness” (conduct disorder), etc. Problems that previous generations dealt with now require specialized medical care! Who benefits?
Yes. And, of course, under the cause-neutral umbrella, these kinds of causes are seldom even considered.
How true. And markets they find.
Thank you for coming back.
“You are saying that if we give them plenty of human junk food, so that their diet becomes completely unnatural, the chimp brain will keep functioning as well as on their natural diet. Pardon me, but your position is ridiculous.”
What I actually wrote was the opposite:
“The nutrition issue is more complicated, and I would concede that poor nutrition could deprive the brain or other organs of materials they need, which could cause the ‘feeling-apparatus’ to malfunction and the individual to feel depressed.”
This is the exact opposite of what you attribute to me. In your earlier comment, you had combined “bad nutrition” and “lack of physical exercise” and had made statements about this combination of factors. In my response, I separated these, because I felt they were different kinds of issues. I accepted your position concerning nutrition, but disagreed with you concerning the lack of physical exercise.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
“There is plenty of evidence of subtle brain abnormalities for many DSM labels, including depression and schizophrenia. These deviations are not statistically significant, but they exist, for example, greater levels of blood cortisol and inflammation markers in depression. Note that you can’t say that these subtle differences do not exist. They are small and cannot be used for diagnosis, but they do exist. You COULD say that they don’t exist if the average values did not differ between depression and no depression, but the average values differ consistently, in many studies. We can call it ‘a mental disorder caused by a subclinical general deterioration of health’. My position is that this subclinical general medical condition is caused by a bad lifestyle. Most modern psychiatrists are saying that the primary cause is a ‘chemical imbalance’ which has some small physical manifestations. This is the influence of the pharmaceutical industry and their cronies.”
Subtle brain abnormalities sounds a lot like chemical imbalances with the difference that they are too small to detect reliably. Psychiatry has been pushing the chemical imbalance notion for decades and telling us that the nature of these imbalances will be discovered soon. Of course, this is now discredited, but what you’re doing is unassailable – asserting that the imbalances are too small to ever be reliably identified.
“But you are denying the subtle physical manifestations of mental disorders (despite plentiful evidence), and you don’t tell these people that they need to review their lifestyle.”
In the previous paragraph you had presented these subtle brain abnormalities as the causes of mental disorders. Now you’re describing them as manifestations (i.e. effects) of mental disorders. Roget gives symptom as one of the synonyms of manifestation. So are the subtle brain abnormalities the causes of “mental disorders” as you had indicated earlier, or the effects?
“Your claim that he [your friend] does not have a mental disorder is preposterous to say the least. Your position must be especially laughable for psychiatrists who see patients everyday.”
You’re missing the point. The individual concerned may indeed have some problems, but it is dangerous to assume brain pathology based only on the vague and arbitrary DSM checklist. My position is eminently simple: assertions of brain pathology should be based on evidence of brain pathology in every case. Perhaps your psychiatric colleagues would find this laughable. I don’t know. But I don’t find their readiness to dispense with this safeguard at all funny. I think it’s a tragic and destructive hoax.
“Regarding ADHD, there are tests, e.g. sustained attention test, which show deficiencies in patients with ADHD. There are numerous physical signs of protein malnutrition among patients with ADHD, including smaller brain size.”
Here again, you’re missing the point. The assertion that people whom psychiatry labels as ADHD do poorly on sustained attention tests is not surprising, because habitually low sustained attention is the primary gateway to that label! Nor is protein malnutrition surprising, since stimulant drugs, which are prescribed extensively for this so-called illness, are known to suppress appetite.
“I am sorry, but your concepts of ‘feeling apparatus’ and ‘adaptive response’ seem like personal opinions unsupported by scientific evidence.”
I’m not sure what kind of evidence you have in mind. Can you provide evidence that the hunger response is adaptive? Or the sensation of pain on touching a hot stove? Or the unpleasant sensation when exposed to extreme cold? Or the urge to flee when confronted by extreme danger?
There’s not much wasted space in the human organism, and in my view, it is reasonable to regard a response as adaptive unless there is good evidence to the contrary. Why should the human feeling-apparatus be exempt from the general rule that every organ serves an adaptive purpose?
“As I mentioned above, I was depressed for many years in my teens. It was not an ‘adaptive response’ to a bad social environment. It was a boring, unpleasant, and pointless existence associated with many small personal problems without any big negative life events, in a GOOD social environment. Therefore, your theory of depression is incorrect or requires a major revision.”
Actually, your personal account provides support for my ideas. Firstly, let me clarify my position. I have never stated that depression stems exclusively from “a bad social environment” or “big negative life events.” The phrase I used in my first response to you was “…an adaptive response to loss or to enduring adverse circumstances.” And you quoted this phrase back to me earlier in your reply. But now you morph this into “bad social environment” or “big negative life events”. Social difficulties and major negative life events would be included in my phrase, but so would “…”a boring, unpleasant, and pointless existence, associated with many small personal problems”, which is how you described the situation that brought on your teenage sadness.
It is not possible in the limited space here to go into this in detail. But in 2009, I wrote a post title Depression Is Not An Illness: It is An Adaptive Mechanism. http://behaviorismandmentalhealth.com/2009/07/28/depression/#.URp1BKVEEeU
If you have time to read it, I would be interested in your thoughts/feedback.
Earlier in your response you expressed the belief that people go to a psychiatrist partly because they believe they have a mental disorder. And this is undoubtedly true. But if we ask the more basic question: why go to anyone at all, the answer is clearly because they are motivated by the negative feelings to initiate some changes. Which is precisely the point of my position. The actual changes that people pursue is highly individualized – some start going to a gym; others might change their diet; others might take long walks; and others, as you point out, go to see a psychiatrist. In my view, learning is the primary determinant of the precise form that the changes take. But the basic drive to pursue change is a direct product of the unpleasant feelings, and is adaptive. Pleasant feelings, of course, are the opposite: a signal that all is well, and that we should stay on our present course.
Or, to address the matter from another direction, can you suggest any other function that our feeling-apparatus might serve?
Incidentally, I’m sorry to learn that my writing comes across to you as preaching. This is emphatically no part of my agenda, but I appreciate the feedback, and will certainly try to avoid such pitfalls in the future.
Thanks for coming back.
In my view, you’re confusing the essence of an illness with the measurement of its severity. The essence of diabetes is damage/malfunction of the pancreas, of which the excess sugar in the blood is a symptom. Similarly, the essence of pneumonia is the successful colonization of lung tissue by germs. The essence of peritonitis is infection of the peritoneum by germs. Etc.
All illnesses admit of degrees of severity. In former times, simple severity scales were used, e.g. prodromal, mild, moderate, severe, terminal. Today, more formal measures are usually found. These measures, and their administratively delineated cut-offs, are provided by the specialties concerned to clarify the point at which an illness becomes treat-worthy, and perhaps more to the point, reimbursable. They involve a measure of arbitrariness to be sure, but not entirely. Progressive kidney failure, for instance, is often measured in terms of percentage of kidney function remaining. Around fifteen percent is generally accepted as the point where active treatment interventions begin. This is because, above 15%, an individual can get by, but below that level, the adverse effects become more pronounced, and active treatment becomes warranted and, again, reimbursable.
The difference between this and psychiatry is profound, in that, apart from those DSM entries labeled as due to a general medical condition or due to a substance, there is no DSM label that has an identified essence or biological pathology.
In general medicine, there is a straightforward causal relationship between the essence of the illness and its symptoms. This is actually the meaning of the word symptom – the visible, testable, tangible manifestation of the essence of the illness – of the biological pathology.
In psychiatry, all we get are the symptoms – there’s nothing behind the symptom to even warrant calling them such. The delineations and cutoffs used in general medicine draw their meaning and their validity by reference to the biological pathologies that constitute the true definitions of the illnesses. In contrast, the delineations and cutoffs in psychiatry have no validity. There is nothing to which psychiatry can point to justify one month rather than two; three “symptoms” rather than four; etc.
But it’s actually much worse than even that. Because in psychiatry, it’s not just the “symptoms” that contain arbitrariness, it’s the very “diagnoses” themselves. Psychiatrists, through the votes of their committees, made childhood inattention an illness without the slightest evidence of an underlying biological pathology. Similarly, shyness became social anxiety disorder; criminality became conduct disorder; childhood disobedience became oppositional defiant disorder; road rage has become intermittent explosive disorder; habitual childhood bad-temperedness has become disruptive mood dysregulation disorder. The list goes on and on: arbitrary, and incidentally self-serving, transformation of non-medical human problems into illnesses, with no statement of the essential underlying biological pathology. You assert, in response to Steve McCrea, that “diabetes was invented by doctors…” This, I suggest, is not true. Diabetes was discovered by doctors, but has existed as a disease entity that sickened and killed people, probably since prehistoric times.
“Your basic assumption is that psychiatrists have no right to define illnesses and are not to be trusted, but MDs of non-psychiatric kind have a right to define illnesses and should be trusted.”
I have never written anything remotely like this. I don’t think psychiatrists can be trusted because they routinely lie to their customers, the public, other doctors, the media, politicians, etc. As a recent example, see Columbia University Psychiatry Department’s press release of May 12, 2017. https://www.columbiapsychiatry.org/news/benefits-antipsychotics-outweigh-risks-find-experts
It contains the statement:
“An international group of experts has concluded that, for patients with schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders, antipsychotic medications do not have negative long-term effects on patients’ outcomes or the brain.”
Neuroleptics do not have negative long-term effects on the brain!
I have never said or written that mental suffering and mental disability do not exist.
I have never said or written anything like the circular argument that you attribute to me.
I find your introduction of the concept of psychiatrists’ right to define mental illnesses puzzling. I have the right to stand on a street corner and proclaim that the Earth is being taken over by Martians, but that doesn’t make it true. Similarly, psychiatrists have I suppose the right to sit in their committees and assert that childhood bad-temperedness is an illness; but that does not make it so.
I do indeed say that there are no mental illnesses. My reasoning is that the “symptoms” of the so-called mental illnesses do not arise from biological pathology. And if it were ever established that they did,
the illness in question would become a neurological or endocrinological illness.
Your theory of “subtle physical problems in the brain” which cause mental suffering or disability is, in my view, problematic because of the averaging and overlapping issues that you yourself concede.
My own position, which I sketched out in my earlier response, is that depression is not a pathological state, but is rather a signal from the deepest core of our consciousness that something is amiss – either in our lifestyle, context, relationships, safety, etc. just as hunger is a message to eat, depression is a message to make some changes. I think your quest for a pathological underpinning, interesting as it may be, is a wild goose chase. There is no pathological underpinning! Or at least several decades of highly motivated and lavishly funded research have yielded nothing. The chemical imbalance hoax is long discredited, and psychiatry has nothing to put in its place. This is not to say that our “feeling –apparatus” cannot malfunction. Obviously it can. Every organ can malfunction. But this does not establish the general principle that all negative feelings spring from neurological malfunction.
In addition, recognizing depression as essentially normal and adaptive is more parsimonious than insisting, without evidence, that it is pathological.
“…all significant problems of thinking, feeling, and behaving…” is a paraphrase of the APA’s definition of a mental disorder in DSM-III, IV, and 5. The definition in DSM-5 has some additional verbiage, but the content is essentially the same.
“Bad nutrition or a lack of physical exercise can make a person depressed because the brain is not functioning well and this suboptimal functioning leads to various personal problems, which make the person feel depressed. Antipsychiatrists here would say that the low mood is a response to personal problems and no biological problem exists, whereas modern psychiatrists (DSM) would say that low mood is a functional mental disorder caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, which appeared out of nowhere. On the other hand, critical psychiatrists who believe in biological psychiatry (such as myself) would say that the low mood is caused by the bad lifestyle, and correction of the lifestyle will improve functioning of the brain, and thus resolve personal problems, and the mood will improve when the problems are gone.”
There is, I suggest, an interesting fallacy here. The opening statement is true: “Bad nutrition or a lack of physical exercise can make a person depressed…” The fallacy is in the next phrase: “…because the brain is not functioning well…” You don’t have evidence to support the causal assertion. My position is that the human organism thrives on physical activity, especially purposeful activity. And when this doesn’t occur, our “feeling apparatus” sends us negative messages using the only “language” at its disposal. Inactivity-induced depression is not an indication of neurological malfunction, but rather the opposite – the brain and other feeling-related organs working in harmony to encourage us to get moving. It’s an adaptive response, no more pathological than the experience of a fear response if confronted with a lion rampant.
The nutrition issue is more complicated, and I would concede that poor nutrition could deprive the brain or other organs of materials they need, which could cause the “feeling-apparatus” to malfunction and the individual to feel depressed. But wouldn’t this fall under the category that psychiatrists call depression due to a general medical condition? It is well established that various genuine medical conditions (e.g. hypothyroidism) can have these kinds of effects, but as stated earlier, this does not establish the general position that all, or even most, depression is caused by biological malfunction.
Your references to functional mental disorder are interesting and nostalgic. I haven’t heard the term used since psychiatry started going cause-neutral in the late 70’s. The idea here is that a person who is depressed because his wife of fifty years has just died “has the same illness” as a person who is depressed because his feeling apparatus has malfunctioned for whatever reason. And this assertion is considered warranted because – and this is psychiatry’s supreme inanity – the two presentations meet the inherently vague and arbitrary criteria set out in the DSM checklist. This is about on a par with the assertion that all small bright objects in the night sky are stars!
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Concerning ADHD, here again, my position is, I suggest, more parsimonious. Children are born distractible. We train them to focus on the things that we consider attention-worthy. This is an integral part of parenting. When we encounter a child – or for that matter an adult – who doesn’t display an age-appropriate level of focusing, it is reasonable to conclude – in the absence of any other obvious causal factor – that the training didn’t occur or was insufficient. And incidentally, parents who are neglecting to train their children to focus and sit still when required may also be neglecting to train them in other areas.
If the “symptoms” of ADHD are caused by brain malfunction, I think the onus is on psychiatry to state the nature of this malfunction and diagnose it by brain test. Until then, it’s just another unsubstantiated, self-serving assertion.
I also am optimistic that we can topple this sandcastle.
When the hoax is finally recognized, the death toll will be dutifully tallied, and the numbers will be truly staggering.
That is a great question. Evil often masquerades as good, and almost always tells itself that it is good.
Thanks for coming in. Where is this fountain?
I think you’re overstating my contribution, but thank you.
Thanks for this analysis.
I think they meant to say “discovered”, but it’s an interesting error – dare I say a Freudian slip. Because develop does imply create or invent!
That’s an interesting strategy, and may ultimately prove more successful than an overtly anti stance. However, I think psychiatry will be as dismissive of critical statements as they are of anti statements. Remember, Dr. Lieberman once referred to you as “menace to society”!
Yes. Becoming antipsychiatry is a kind of journey.
Thanks for coming in. My own reasons for adopting an antipsychiatry stance are two-fold. Firstly, psychiatry is so rotten, destructive, and disempowering, that it warrants nothing less than complete condemnation. Secondly, if we give them an inch, they will take a mile; if we concede the remotest possibility of reform, they will latch onto that, make some cosmetic changes, and continue as usual.
And by the way, thanks for Mad in America, which has done so much to advance our cause.
I agree completely. Poverty and injustice induce feelings of depression and anxiety. Psychiatry’s “answer” is drugging the individual into a state of acceptance. But unless we address the causes of poverty and injustice, these problems will continue.
Yes. Rising costs will have an impact. As will the lawsuits that are being won more frequently.
Definitely! Psychiatry is a hoax.
Yes. And psychiatrists who embraced her “broken brain” concept, now reject her shrinkage findings. How convenient!
Psychiatrists are extraordinarily resistant to any notion that runs counter to their doctrines.
Good point. Tardive dyskinesia, and also akathisia, can occur even after short-term use.
You’re absolutely correct. Neuroleptic drugs do indeed inflict brain damage, despite Dr. Lieberman’s assertion to the contrary.
Thanks for the insight.
Nice analysis! Truth will out.
Yes. One can only keep a scam going for so long. Ask Bernie Madoff.
1. I think there are a great many young people active in the antipsychiatry movement who will, I feel confident, carry the struggle to a successful conclusion.
2. Antipsychiatry has always been an uphill battle. At present , it’s doing better than ever, so-called skeptic movement not withstanding.
Thanks for coming in. I will respond to your points as you have numbered them.
1. “If the sufferer decides that he/she lost the ability to function normally and that mental suffering is bad enough that he/she needs some kind of help, then psychiatrists would agree that we are dealing with a “mental illness.”
I think your concepts here are a bit vague. “Lost the ability to function normally” cannot be applied in any kind of reliable or consistent fashion.
The arbitrariness is also evident in the actual criteria items. The DSM-5 “diagnostic” criteria for major depressive disorder, for instance, include:
“A. Five (or more) of the following symptoms have been present during the same two-week period and represent change from previous functioning; at least one of the symptoms is either (1) depressed mood or (2) loss of interest or pleasure.”
Five is arbitrary (why not four or six?). There is no actual evidence that the presence of five of the items indicates the presence of an illness. It’s just a decision that psychiatrists have made in one of their committees.
Two week period is arbitrary. Why not three or four?
The requirement that either (1) or (2) be present is arbitrary; why not number (8) or number (9)?
These criteria are decided, and even voted on, by committees. There is no solid research to support these decisions. The notion that the DSM checklists are the symptoms of illness in the way that real medicine has lists of symptoms is simply false.
Similar considerations apply to all psychiatric diagnoses, with the exception of those that are clearly identified as being due to a substance or to a general medical condition.
2. The fundamental principle of biological psychiatry is that all significant problems of thinking, feeling, and behaving are biological illnesses that need to be treated with psychiatric drugs.
Nobody disputes that biological factors such as diet, temperature, oxygen levels, etc., can affect people’s thoughts, feelings, and actions, but this does not establish the general principle that all problems of thinking, feeling, and behaving stem from biological malfunctions. Earthquakes cause buildings to collapse, but the presence of a collapsed building is not proof that an earthquake has occurred.
All thoughts, feelings, and actions have neural underpinning. Again, nobody denies this. But a person with a perfectly normal functioning brain can acquire counterproductive habits.
Depression is not an illness. Rather, it is the normal adaptive response to loss or to enduring adverse circumstances. It is essentially a message from the most primitive core of our consciousness, that some changes are needed; just as hunger is a message to eat. Depression is no more an illness than hunger.
3. Here, I think, we just have to agree to differ. In my experience, psychiatry is essentially drug-pushing, just like the street variety. What psychiatry offers is a temporary feeling of comfort/well-being/control, but always at the expense of long-term damage.
Tragically at this point, the government (NIMH) is mostly funding research on brain pathology and the quest for “new and improved” drugs.
4. We’ve seen over the past 30 years, lots of “evidence” that ADHD is caused by this or that, but the claims never seem to survive close scrutiny.
In my view, there is no such entity as ADHD. Children focus their attention to differing degrees, of course, but that, in my experience, is largely a function of discipline and training. But the notion that once some arbitrary threshold of severity is passed, the problem becomes an illness is not warranted.
Again, thanks for coming in. Although I don’t agree with the positions that you present, I do appreciate your comment and the opportunity for dialogue. My responses here are necessarily brief, but I have discussed all of these issues at great length on my website, Behaviorism and Mental Health (http://behaviorismandmentalhealth.com/). Feel free to browse around.
H’m! But they assure us that they’re real doctors!
Thanks. That’s worth thinking about!
Nice! But don’t give them ideas!
Spot on! Psychiatric “diagnoses” are just loose collections of vaguely defined problems.
What are they to do with the pills? That’s a good point. They locked themselves into the pill-pushing role for the sake of the money and the prestige (we’re real doctors now!). And there’s just no way out.
Thanks. I’ll try.
Yes. Psychiatrists need illnesses as a drowning man needs a life-jacket. But the problems they purport to treat aren’t illnesses. So they go on saying that they are, and stamping their feet at those of us who say otherwise. But that changes nothing.
What is to be done? For me, the answer to this question is to keep critiquing psychiatry in whatever venues I can.
There are indeed a number of genuine medical conditions (including hypothyroidism) that can induce feelings of depression. Psychiatrists actually call it “295.86: depression disorder due to hypothyroidism, with depressive features”. Although this is listed in the DSM, it is not what psychiatrists usually mean by “a psychiatric illness”.
And thank you for the pointers on the artwork. I’m sure that Mark and Sara will be reading them carefully.
Yes. Psychiatry will never get it, but it threatens their very existence as a medical specialty.
Thanks. I’ll give it some thought.
I’m no expert on artwork, but I thought the contrast between the two trees was compelling.
As you know, my primary position is that psychiatry is fundamentally rotten and destructive, and that the mental health system is the primary instrument of their activities. For this reason, I had some qualms about show-casing the work in question, but ultimately the notion of validating people vs. the opposite, and asking people what they might find helpful vs. telling them to take drugs, seemed important enough to warrant attention. This was particularly the case in that most of the people involved either stopped or reduced their use of psychiatric drugs.
I think Mark and Sarah showed that people who had been severely repressed by the psychiatric system for many years, far from being the victims of an incurable disease as psychiatrists tell us, were able to articulate their needs/desires, and achieve objectives, not with the help of some hi-tech “medical breakthrough” (such as smart pills, brain shocks, magnetic stimulation, etc.), but merely by being treated with respect and dignity.
On the broader front, I don’t believe that psychiatry, or the mental health system, can be reformed in any meaningful sense of the term. But I think it is possible for some individuals who work in the system to help some individuals escape the system. And the way they go about this is useful information.
Thanks for this interesting and wide-ranging comment. Your insights into the “overwhelmed” doctor are particularly telling. In reality, all psychiatrists should be overwhelmed, because they’re trying to resolve human problems with completely inappropriate methods. But most of them learn to just fake it, and fall back on Doctor knows best when challenged.
Terrific. Let’s get them out there.
Thanks for these great ideas – none of which are crazy!
You’re opening up huge issues here, and I think that’s great. I hope to do a post soon on the critical vs. anti issue, and another on the issue of coerced drugging.
Thanks for the links.
Psychiatry is a growth industry worldwide.
It does indeed.
I’m sorry if my words seemed to imply pressure to do more than you reasonably can.
Thanks for this reminder. I’m certainly not trying to guilt-trip anyone into doing something that they feel is beyond them, but many survivors are active in this area, and do great work. Incidentally, take a look at Mark Bertram’s and Sarah McDonald’s paper at http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/JMHTEP-06-2015-0027
Thanks for this. I agree that many, perhaps most, human problems stem from economic and political injustice, and that these issues will have to be addressed.
Thanks for this. Sometimes it’s difficult to find the right words. I would never call a person a problem, but frequently we people have problems. And as you point out, these need to be solved, not treated.
I agree. Virtually all mental health systems embrace the psychiatric model and, at least here in the US, do more harm than good.
Thanks for coming in and for the ballad.
Yes. And even the psychosocial-economic stressors are infinitely varied. The notion of shoe-horning all these reactions into one or two neat categories and then doing research on them is just nonsense. It’s similar to an astronomer doing research on all the small bright objects in the night sky.
Yes. I think the critical point is the one you made initially – that even with all the chicanery and research fraud, the best they’ve been able to show for all their lavishly-funded research is a very minimal result.
Weakness, as in total and utter rubbish!
Psychiatry has promised us the answer to that question any decade now!
That’s a great question!
Thanks for clarifying this.
Yes. There are huge parallels between psychiatry-pharma today and big tobacco in previous years.
I agree with the points you make, but in the meta-analysis in question, the authors found no significant differences in the trials that used a washout period and those that did not.
But, because of the overall poor quality of the source studies, I don’t think we can conclude from this that withdrawal was not an issue. As you point out, it’s easy to distort research findings to achieve one’s desired result.
Yes. This is one of the perennial problems in critiquing psychiatry. If psychiatry says: our pills help people who have “major depressive disorder”, one can reply that there is no valid entity by that name, and that’s a sound criticism. But one can also say: your pills aren’t working even in the people you say are helped.. It’s difficult to write a paper of that sort without using psychiatric language.
Weight gain was noted in one trial at a rate of 3 per 124 SSRI participants and 5 per 124 placebo participants.
Obviously, any of these could be extremely serious, but the authors used a particular definition of serious which included only the very serious effects – life-threatening, etc.
Almost all of the studies were short-term, so it is unlikely that withdrawal as such would have emerged as an issue.
I agree. The extent to which psychiatrists have convinced the GPs to buy into the hoax is alarming. The GPs should have been protectors!
Absolutely right. They’ve locked themselves into a hoax from which they can find no exit.
Yes and yes. Ask any meth addict.
It’s a bit like being a foreigner in a hostile land. Careful what you say!
Well sure! A parent who refuses to allow his/her child to have needed medical treatment! What a hoax!
Yes. That’s what it’s all about. More customers.
Psychiatry is like a tsunami. It has started to come ashore and its damage is evident, but it hasn’t nearly crested yet. We’re going to see a great deal more damage before things start getting better. We’ll see elderly people dying earlier in nursing homes and young people growing up drugged and unready for life’s demands. And yet pharma/psychiatry wants more.
Yes; and bad metaphors at that.
Career Psych Subject,
Well put. But psychiatry doesn’t see all this as misuse of psychiatric terminology. They see this as good. Note how they constantly bandy the statistics that ¼ of the population has a “mental illness” at any given time, and ½ will have one in their lifetime!
Yes. Psychiatrists are particularly concerned about status and prestige, because in the 60’s, they were a laughing stock in medical circles. They imagined that formalizing their “diagnoses” and prescribing lots of drugs would make them real doctors. But they let it go to their heads, and even the real medics are beginning to be skeptical.
I agree with your assessment of psychiatry, though I’m still hopeful for America.
Thanks for coming in. Good points.
Thanks for clarifying these points.
Thanks for this. There is one thing that psychiatrists are really good at: mental gymnastics!
Non-medical problems of thinking, feeling, and/or behaving.
Thanks for coming in. I think they label people with medical sounding “diagnoses” in order to justify their existence.
“Sanctuary” is a nice word, with implications of safety, tranquility, etc… But I don’t think we’ll get anything like that as long as psychiatrists are holding the reins.