Tag: biomedical model of mental illness
In my experience, episodes of anxiety and depression dwindle in the face of hope and empowerment, while broken-brain narratives lead to deeper despair.
Going into psychiatry as a naïve 25-year-old, I had no idea what I would discover. If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have chosen this field.
The metaphor of “mental disease” is doing more harm than good. Rather than being a tool for communication, it has crossed the boundary from a metaphor to a theory that underpins much of what happens within public mental health services. This places psychiatrists in a position of dutiful compliance with what is essentially a fallacious model.
Anti-psychiatry writers have devoted a good deal of time and energy to highlighting the distinction between general medicine, which I call real medicine, and psychiatry, which I call a hoax. The basic theme of Dr. Huda's book is that this distinction is not valid, and that psychiatry's claim to medical status is as well-founded as any bona fide medical specialty.
Why we should be deeply disturbed by the largely fictional ‘mental illness’ narrative and its resultant system, why we should be suspicious of who actually benefits from the whole enterprise, and, most importantly, why we can no longer countenance the unconscionable toll it takes on the health and well-being of ordinary citizens.
It was February 2016, the UK-EU referendum debate was beginning to warm up and my tolerance for absorbing toxic tweets and frustrating Facebook posts was dwindling fast. What then pushed me over the edge was yet another celebrity-inspired media frenzy about a psychiatric “illness.”
“Overall, this study showed that the information and awareness campaign had almost no significant effects on the general public's attitudes toward people affected by either schizophrenia or depression,” the researchers, led by German medical sociologist Anna Makowski, wrote. “One could assume that deeply rooted convictions cannot be modified by rather time-limited and general activities targeted at the public.”
How are we going to get anywhere at all if people believe that speaking to alternatives just means occasionally putting something out there that isn’t about psychiatric drugs? Assuming that the Mental Health Channel folks genuinely believe they’re offering a product that’s ‘well-rounded,’ how do we even get to a point where they understand why it’s not, and can make a well-reasoned decision about where to go from there? Yes, it’s about the drugs. But, in some ways, no, it’s not at all about them. It’s about the damage we do by convincing people that there’s no other choice than to take the drugs because of a ‘chemical imbalance’ or ‘chronic brain disease’ that, just like cancer, will only get worse if it goes untreated. It's about the inescapable nature of the boxes people put us in (even some of those boxes not filled up with pills).
That was the emphatic response from my grad school psychopathology professor 35 years ago, after I'd stated in her class that anyone could become psychotic given sufficient life stressors, losses and trauma. How many current mental health professionals, especially psychiatrists, also believe they have such strong egos that they never could experience extreme states?
In recent years, we've seen an increasing number of articles and papers from psychiatrists in which they seem to be accepting at least some of the antipsychiatry criticisms, and appear interested in reforms. It is tempting to see this development as an indication of progress, but as in many aspects of life, things aren't always what they seem.