Tag: chemical imbalances
Researchers are constantly hunting for chemical variations in people with emotional problems. But even if chemical differences are someday found, why would we assume that these chemical processes cause abnormal behaviors or moods, as opposed to being mere correlates of them at the chemical level?
Generally, most people, even little people, recognise that Santa is just a game. Children perhaps wholeheartedly believe in the story for a while but flaws in the narrative soon become apparent. Unfortunately, not nearly enough people recognise that the chemical imbalance is also a charade.
The assertion that the so-called antidepressants are being over-prescribed implies that there is a correct and appropriate level of prescribing and that depression is a chronic illness (just like diabetes). It has been an integral part of psychiatry's message that although depression might have been triggered by an external event, it is essentially an illness residing within the person's neurochemistry. The issue is not whether people should or shouldn't take pills. The issue is psychiatry pushing these dangerous serotonin-disruptive chemicals on people, under the pretense that they have an illness.
Psychiatry would long since have gone the way of phrenology and mesmerism but for the financial support it receives from the pharmaceutical industry. But the truth has a way of trickling out. Here are five recent stories that buck the psychiatry-friendly stance that has characterized the mainstream media for at least the past 50 years.
A dilemma for all of us who are struggling to broaden our understanding of human distress beyond simplistic, pessimistic, bio-genetic ideology, and to improve our mental health services accordingly, is whether or not to soften our criticisms of psychiatry in the hope of reaching those psychiatrists whose minds are not totally closed. But doing so rests on the assumption that change can come from within the profession. For the last few decades examples of that are few and far between.
Depressed, anxious, and substance-abusing people can beat themselves up for being defective. And psychiatrists and psychologists routinely validate and intensify their sense of defectiveness by telling them that they have, for example, a chemical-imbalance defect, a genetic defect, or a cognitive-behavioral defect. For some of these people, it feels better to believe that they are essentially defective. But the “defect/medical model of mental illness” is counterproductive for many other people—especially those “untalented” in denial and self-deception—for whom there is another model and path that works much better.
There is an enormous irony in a psychiatrist using the epithet "thought police" to express censure, when it is psychiatry itself that routinely incarcerates and forcibly drugs and shocks people on the grounds that their thoughts and speech don't conform to psychiatry's standards of normality.
We have lost our ability to tolerate distress, to find meaning in emotion, and purpose in experience. As the sociologist Nicolas Rose has noted, we have recoded our moods in terms of neurochemistry. Emotions no longer have context. They are aberrations in neurochemistry. I’m no longer hurting because I’m lonely, but because I’m running low on endorphins. Buprenorphine for depressive despair reinforces the belief that emotions should be obliterated, and can only be done so through modulating biochemistry.
This past Saturday, I was on my way back from Europe to Boston, and while on a stop in Iceland, I checked my email and was directed to a new blog by Ronald Pies in Psychiatric Times, in which he once again revisited the question of whether American psychiatry, and the American Psychiatric Association (APA), ever promoted the idea that chemical imbalances caused mental disorders. And just like when I read his 2011 writings on this subject, I found myself wondering what to make of his post. Why was he so intent on maintaining psychiatry’s “innocence?” And why did it matter?