Free ADHD testing goes the way of free lunches at UF

If you thought “stigma” was the only obstacle to seeking mental health treatment, think again, there is also the little matter of costs. The University of Florida, which previously had given free ADHD tests, will soon start charging. Diagnosis is going to cost students money starting this fall.

The story is in the latest edition of the Independent Florida Alligator, under the heading, UF will charge students in Fall for currently free ADHD testing.

The new four-step process will take seven hours and will cost $175 per student.

That’s right! It may now cost you $175 to acquire an ADHD. Consider, too, that this is only the price for purchasing the disorder. Feeding, maintenance, and vet costs follow close behind. An ADHD, with the advent of ADHDs for adults, can last well beyond the lifetime of a single individual.

These tests, despite being more elaborate than previous tests, are designed to determine the aptitude and dedication an individual might display in caring for an ADHD.

First students must be screened because you wouldn’t want a student with an ADHD that couldn’t properly care for that ADHD.

Students will go through two 90-minute screening sessions, one of which costs $25.

As you can see ADHD is a very peculiar animal.

The third step is a three-hour, $150 evaluation including an IQ test, a personality test, an achievement test and a specific test for ADHD.

Reportedly this deal at UF is a very good one as an alive and kicking ADHD can run you as much as 2Gs from a private collector.

ADHDs have gained increasing popularity over the years, especially among school age boys. It is estimated that almost 10 % of the male children in this country are the proud owners of ADHDs.

Those students without the necessary funding to purchase an ADHD may be able to get around this shortcoming by applying for financial aid.

The ‘Mental Illness’ Confidence Game

“Mental illness” per se is only gullibility. “Chronic mental illness” is chronic gullibility. “Serious mental illness” is serious gullibility. All sorts of people can be gulled, and some of them get gulled into believing that there is something seriously wrong with themselves.

Mental health treatment serves the status quo. Mental health is seen as a 9 -5 job performed by some sort of unthinking automaton. Mental health is also seen as the status of politicians and bankers who get us into all kinds of trouble. We say, in their case, that this trouble is not trouble because these fuck ups make megabucks fucking up.

Mental health treatment, given the ascendancy of biological medical model psychiatry, is a drug. Does it make the person dubbed “mentally ill” mentally healthy? No. It doesn’t, in other words, correct the mistake of “mental illness”. It does produce a subservient and obedient toady who has been sedated sans objection though.

The human being dubbed “mentally ill” who resists this social programming regime through chemistry is referred to as noncompliant. The aim of treatment is compliance. Compliance is a synonym for subservient and obedient. Non-compliance leads to mental health, or independence from insurance payments, and the mental health system, and as such it just doesn’t pay.

You have three, maybe four, different industries that need gullible people. These industries are the mental health industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the insurance industry, and the government, federal and state.

If we want to add a fifth, there is also the health care industry. The drugs that sedate mental patients subservient and obedient also ruin their physical health, and keep doctors and nurses in business. As long as they aren’t automatons, they are expendable. Money, in fact, is made on expending them.

The mental health system is where people are sent who don’t fit into the 9-5 automaton money grubbing scheme mold. Somebody has to make money off them, too, and therefore we’ve got mental health workers, insurance salespeople, drug company exes, and politicians.

The “sicker” people are, and the more “sick” people there are among them, the more money these people make off of this “sickness” industry. As this “sickness” is nothing more than a matter of susceptibility, that is, gullibility, the “sickness” is a matter for industry pitchmen to foster.

There are ways around the 9-5 world. It’s just that they aren’t found in the mental health system because the mental health system is built around that world. People spend their entire lives doing stupid little idiotic things because other people are doing the same. We call some of this idiocy mental health treatment.

Let’s not discipline our children, let’s label them “mentally ill” instead

Dr. Thomas Insel, the present malevolent imp in charge of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), is at it again. This time the story is in Science Daily. There is an article in that online news source bearing the heading, Unruly Kids May Have a Mental Disorder.

I would qualify this heading with the addition of the word not.

When children behave badly, it’s easy to blame their parents. Sometimes, however, such behavior may be due to a mental disorder. Mental illnesses are the No. 1 cause of medical disability in youths ages 15 and older in the United States and Canada, according to the World Health Organization.

Apparently it’s a lot easier to blame children for childish behavior than it is to blame parents for possessing few or inadequate parenting skills.

After this introduction it’s mostly a matter of Dr. Insel mouthing off about how we have to catch these “mental disorders” early.

The same NIMH that Dr. Insel is the director of finds that ½ of the people labeled with lifetime “mental illness” were labeled by the time they were 14 years old.

One reason we haven’t made greater progress helping people recover from mental disorders is that we get on the scene too late,” said Thomas R. Insel, MD, director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the featured speaker at the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Presidential Plenary during the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Boston.

I don’t think he is trying to tell us here that after the age of 14 it is too late for a person to recover his or her wits. So what is he trying to say?

In addition to serving as director of the NIMH, Dr. Insel is acting director of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, a new arm of the National Institutes of Health that aims to accelerate the development of diagnostics and therapeutics.

Now we know.

Sometimes, in my view, misbehavior is just misbehavior. At other times, my view again, adult misbehavior can be seen in the pathologising of children. This is medicalization that, as you can see, may lead to a medicalized adulthood for the child so labeled.

Given an epidemic increase in “mental illness” labeling, you wouldn’t expect a dramatic decline in “mental illness” label rates anytime soon. You have even less reason to expect a decline with the likes of Dr. Insel pursuing easier ways to label childhood a certifiable “mental illness”.

Why the label? Drug companies need to make their profit quotas, and thanks to folks like Dr. Insel, they now have the psychiatrist puppets to help them do so.

The Bogus Disease Industry Is Booming

Imaginary diseases are easy to over-diagnose. The mental health field is chock full of imaginary diseases. How can it not be? The DSM, the psychiatrist label bible, is loaded with diseases that were voted into existence by committee. Two of these imaginary diseases are attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Bogus diseases also have bogus criteria for diagnosis. Science 2.0 has released a story with the blunt but true headline, You Knew This: ADD And ADHD Over-Diagnosed.

The researchers surveyed altogether 1,000 child and adolescent psychotherapists and psychiatrists across Germany. 473 participated in the study. They received one of four available case vignettes, and were asked to give a diagnoses and a recommendation for therapy. In three out of the four case vignettes, the described symptoms and circumstances did not fulfill ADHD criteria. Only one of the cases fulfilled ADHD criteria based strictly on the valid diagnostic criteria. In addition, the gender of the child was included as a variable resulting in eight different case vignettes. As the result, when comparing two identical cases with a different gender, the difference was clear: Leon has ADHD but Lea does not.

Not only are boys more likely to be perceived as “having it”, but male doctors are more likely to diagnose it than female doctors according to the same study.

It looks like the drug companies have found many ways to profit from this ADHD and ADD misdiagnosis racket though.

As media attention increased, ADHD diagnoses also became inflationary. Between 1989 and 2001, the number of diagnoses in German clinical practice increased by 381 percent. The costs for ADHD medication, such as for the performance-enhancer Methylphenidate, have increased 9 times between 1993 and 2003. The German health insurance company, Techniker, reports an increase of 30 percent in Methylphenidate prescriptions for its clients between the ages of 6 and 18. Similarly, the daily dosage has increased by 10 percent on average.

ADHD labeling has increased in the USA as well. The Daily Northwestern from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, has a story on research conducted at that University, NU study finds ADHD diagnoses on the rise.

From 2000 to 2010, the total number of national ADHD cases among children under 18 increased by 66 percent, from 6.2 million to 10.4 million, the study found.

This same article harks back to the German study mentioned above.

Others, however, have hypothesized that doctors are overdiagnosing ADHD in children. In February, researchers from Germany published data in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology showing that 16.7 percent of 1,000 psychiatrists diagnosed ADHD in non-ADHD patients.

I would suspect that the actual figure is much higher. If ADHD is as I have concluded an imaginary disease then 100 % of these children don’t have ADHD. In such case, it follows that diagnosing even a single example of the disorder would be a matter of over-diagnosis.

My ten-cents on the DSM-5 debate debacle, part 2

I was going to drop the DSM-5 discussion last week, but another article came to light, and I just couldn’t do it. Sorry. This time its an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times, Not Diseases But Categories of Suffering.

It’s not the current A.P.A.’s fault. The fault lies with its predecessors. The D.S.M. is the offspring of odd bedfellows: the medical industry, with its focus on germs and other biochemical causes of disease, and psychoanalysis, the now-largely-discredited discipline that attributes our psychological suffering to our individual and collective history.

Actually the delusion of the APA is that the DSM will resolve this conflict, it’s revisionist editors from the very beginning have been the very people behind ‘the discrediting’, mentioned in the above paragraph, of psychoanalysis.

The American Psychiatric Association has been trying to do just that ever since, mostly by leaving behind ideas about the meaning of our suffering in favor of observation and treatment of its symptoms. In 1980, it hit on the strategy of adopting a medical rhetoric, organizing those symptoms into neat disease categories and checklists of precisely described criteria and publishing them in the hefty — and, according to its chief author, “very scientific-looking” — D.S.M.-III.

The pathologizing of human suffering, and not suffering symptomatic of any known physical disease, but rather that suffering which can be said to have arisen from emoting and thinking. Types of suffering are seen as disease manifested through a variety of symptoms.

Previously I stated that this process was a matter of normalizing medicalization, and this is so, what we’ve got here is medicine’s incursion into areas that, strictly speaking, are specifically not medical, and specifically not science.

In this Op-Ed piece we read the following, “And as any psychiatrist involved in the making of the D.S.M. will freely tell you, the disorders listed in the book are not “real diseases,” at least not like measles or hepatitis. Instead, they are useful constructs that capture the ways that people commonly suffer.” I wonder why does so much of the mental health industry rhetoric and literature insist then on stating that “mental illnesses” are real, that they are real diseases, and not only that they are real diseases, but that they are diseases of the brain. We’re stuck with an either/or that would be a both/and, but…Hey, whatever stretch you can come up to resolve that one has got to break on close examination.

My feeling has always been that this clamor is going to fizzle to a uncomfortable grumble once the volume is released in 2013. If such is the case it will be unfortunate indeed. For years now we’ve been uncomfortably enduring the fruits of the DSM-IV. Those fruits are these growing epidemics of autism, bipolar disorder, ADHD, and depression. My feeling is that as the DSM usually works by division and addition rather than subtraction (starting with 28 mental disorders, now you’ve got something like 374) the 20 % USA labeled “mentally ill” rate is likely to go up rather than down.

The DSM has been referred to as the psychiatrists’ bible. The bible is the number 1 best selling book of all time. The DSM is doing none too poorly itself.

On the other hand, given that the current edition of the D.S.M. has earned the association — which holds and tightly guards its naming rights to our pain — more than $100 million, we might want to temper our sympathy. It may not be dancing at the ball, but once every mental health worker, psychology student and forensic lawyer in the country buys the new book, it will be laughing all the way to the bank.

‘Laughing all the way to the bank’ together with drug company executives riding piggyback on this volume of sheer non-sense. The mortality gap for people in treatment labeled with psychosis is widening, not narrowing. This mortality gap is the direct result of our societies over reliance on the quick and chemical fix. The quick and chemical fix is one of the results of using this balderdash to treat people who suffer. At one time we as a nation were a lot better off where our emotional stability was concerned, and at that time there was no DSM. We could be a lot better off again if we were to chuck the present volume into the trash heap now, and call off any future revisions. The internal national enemy of a rising “mental illness” rate is not going away anytime soon as long as this book is used to alienate, marginalize, and disempower an increasingly large segment of the American populace.

Putting Up With The Antics Of Rebecca And A Couple Of Other Crazies

Oh no, I found another one! Here’s an article from Kansas, from The Topeka Capital-Journal to be exact. The heading of this article reads, Topekan talks about living with schizophrenia.

A Topeka woman is sharing what it is like to live with schizophrenia in a 30-minute documentary that will air Sunday on Topeka’s public television station.

I wonder why people so seldom talk about living without schizophrenia? Ditto, bipolar disorder? Why don’t we have stories starting, ‘I once had a pet schizophrenia, but I got rid of mine. I Just didn’t care for it that much.’

Oh, I know…because they’ve got a drug to help people manage the symptoms now.

“Living with Schizophrenia: A Call for Hope and Recovery,” featuring Topekan Rebecca Phillips and two other people diagnosed with the chronic brain disorder, will air at 3 p.m. on KTWU, Channel 11.

“The chronic brain disorder”, say people who want to sell you a drug “treatment”.

“It’s been a long journey,” Phillips, 37, said of her recovery.

What kind of “recovery” can there be to a “chronic brain disorder“? Isn’t this sort of like talking about seeking the “cure” for “incurable insanity”?

“Someone with schizophrenia can be active in the community. They can make a difference in other people’s lives,” she said. “There’s hope for people with schizophrenia. The end doesn’t have to be bad. They can be just like anyone.”

Anyone? Even people without a pet schizophrenia? Now here comes the scary part…

Phillips said she was asked to do the film in 2010 by officials at Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., which funded and produced the film. She previously had taken part in a shorter film about schizophrenia the company made for its sales representatives.

Jenssen Pharmaceuticals, if you don’t know, is owned by Johnson & Johnson. They are the not so wonderful people who brought you the neuroleptic drug Risperal.

Uh, considering the following, this isn’t the accident you might think it is, is it?

The years that followed were a mix of hospitalizations and medications to try to control the schizophrenia. That changed when she went to The University of Kansas Hospital and was prescribed risperdal consta, a drug she takes by injection every two weeks.

Living with Schizophrenia, the documentary, brought to you by Johnson & Johnson, the makers of Risperal.

This is the same Johnson & Johnson that just got sued for fraud to the tune of 158,000,000 smackeroos by the state of Texas for ‘off label’ prescription practices, notably of their neuroleptic drug Risperal.

I’m thinking about making my own film, Living without Schizophrenia. A film of which it could be said that no drug company, neither Eli Lilly, nor Johnson & Johnson, nor Pfizer, nor Bristol-Myer Squibb, nor Asta Zeneca, had any hand in the production.

Madness At The Top

Three statistics pertaining to the “mental illness” label in the USA that have recently come to light stand out. As I reported, the Medco report showed that 1 in every 5 Americans are now on a psychiatric drug. What I didn’t mention is that the rate of women to men on these prescription drugs is much higher, and so actually 25 % of women, or 1 out of every 4 women, are on a psychiatric drug at the present time. Then there was the recent study showing, as of a couple of years ago, fully 11 % of the population is taking an antidepressant drug. These statistics, of course, apply only to the USA, the current epicenter of the worldwide epidemic in “mental illness” labeling.

This is one more reason why I’d be irked by any article with the heading, as the article I ran across at Psych Central does, Do You Have “Complete” Mental Health? This article was published in the Adventures in Positive Psychology column, and positive psychology just happens to be one of my pet peeves.

The absence of mental illness does not necessarily constitute complete mental health. Someone may not have any mental illness but they may not be satisfied with their life or striving to reach their potential. They may be surviving but not thriving.

I’m offended by any definition that would equate completeness in mental health with satisfaction and an abstract potential. I feel that such a definition tends to serve the rich and powerful, and that it is based primarily upon falsehood and misconception. Given such a definition, the most “mentally healthy” people in the world are also going to be the richest and the most powerful people as well. People in impoverished situations would, by this definition, of course, be the most afflicted.

Someone who is flourishing is living with optimal mental health and may be experiencing subjective well-being in most or all of three general domains.

We are then given 3 general domains: Emotional well-being, psychological well-being, and social well-being. Emotional well-being is described as having “positive affect and a high-level of positive emotion”. Psychological well-being is described as having “a sense of purpose and meaning in life”. Social well-being is described as having “a sense of belonging and accepting the world around us”.

Well-being is further broken down, by a certain theoretical model, into 4 further divisions.

Flourishing – Someone who are high on subjective well-being and low on mental illness.

Languishing – Someone who is low on subjective well-being and low on mental illness.

Struggling – Someone who is high of subjective well-being but also high on mental illness.

Floundering – Someone who is low on subjective well-being and high on mental illness.

The only thing I think this model serves is an arrogant and deluded sense of smug self-satisfaction. I don’t think it has a whole lot to do with reality. When “complete” success is judged by some stock exchange figure flashed over Times Square, relative success is going to be relevant in other places. I certainly wouldn’t measure success in terms of material accumulation in this fashion, and even spiritual accumulation doesn’t quite cut the grade.

I, for example, don’t think it a good idea to praise people for flourishing when those very same people dump oil off the coasts of Alaska, Louisiana, and New Zealand. I don’t think of dumping oil as very healthy, mentally or physically. I certainly don’t think it to be very healthy to wildlife. You dump oil into the ocean, and that’s bad karma, for yourself, for the wildlife you impact so disastrously, and for everybody else. I don’t think it “mentally healthy” to ignore this fact.

99 % of the population is struggling, lanquishing, or floundering, by this definition, while 1 % of population is flourishing in a more objective sense. I want to point out again that there is something wrong with flourishing at the expense of life on this planet, and that apparently we’re still locking up the wrong people for being disturbed and disturbing. Were we to lock up, if not psychiatrists, then maybe a few drug company CEOs, it is my belief that the rate of psychiatric drug abuse in this country would go down appreciably.

Dramatic Rise In Psychiatric Drug Abuse Over The Last Decade

Medco Health Solutions Inc., a pharmacy benefit manager, just released a report finding that psychiatric drug abuse in the USA has risen starkly in the past decade. The Wall Street Journal did a story on this report, Psychiatric Drug Use Spreading. The most startling figure to come out of this report is the fact that fully 20 %, or 1 in every 5 Americans, are on a psychiatric drug at this point in time. That’s a lot of ‘mental illness’, that’s a lot of drug abuse!

Among the most striking findings was a big increase in the use of powerful antipsychotic drugs across all ages, as well as growth in adult use of drugs for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder—a condition typically diagnosed in childhood. Use of ADHD drugs such as Concerta and Vyvanse tripled among those aged 20 to 44 between 2001 and 2010, and it doubled over that time among women in the 45-to-65 group, according to the report.

A big rise then was found in the use of harmful neuroleptic drugs. Neuroleptic drugs are drugs that change metabolism and they are drugs that cause neurological problems; neuroleptic drugs are known to shorten life spans. Also, it’s not just children and adolescents taking the lion’s share of the ADHD drugs any more, now it’s going to adults. Although there aren’t a lot of seniors on speed, just let these adults age, and see where that lands us.

Overall use of psychiatric drugs grew 21 % between the years 2001 and 2010 according to the report. Despite the increase, declines, probably due to increasing awareness of the dangers, were reported in anti-depressant drug use in children, and in anti-anxiety drug use on the elderly.

One thing this article doesn’t go into is whether this decline in the use of anti-anxiety drugs on the elderly has meant a corresponding rise in the use of neuroleptic drugs on them. Drugs that are, as pointed out previously, known to shorten life spans.

Drug sales speak for themselves with the sale of neuroleptic drugs raking in the most profits of the bunch.

Psychiatric medications are among the most widely prescribed and biggest-selling class of drugs in the U.S. In 2010, Americans spent $16.1 billion on antipsychotics to treat depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, $11.6 billion on antidepressants and $7.2 billion on treatment for ADHD, according to IMS Health, which tracks prescription-drug sales.

When people speak of gains in the mental health treatment, I can only see using these statistics to argue that, no, we haven’t made progress, quite the reverse. The mental health system is getting worse.

Shire PLC, maker of Vyvanse and Adderall, pointed to an increased recognition of ADHD as a lifelong disorder as a main factor for growth in treatment in adults, as well as marketing and awareness campaigns have led to the awareness that this is a real entity, said Jeff Jonas, head of Shire research and development. Johnson & Johnson, maker of ADHD drug Concerta, declined to comment.

Drug company marketing campaigns have helped make adult ADHD a “real” entity. Of course, they’re giving new meaning to the word “real” when they make these claims. In a similar fashion, utilizing a similar sleight, Monopoly boardgame play money could be said to be “real” money, too.

One quick way to lower the psychiatric drug abuse increase rate, and with it the ‘mental illness’ increase rate, would be to outlaw the practice of direct to consumer adverterising. Direct to consumer advertising is legal only in the USA and New Zealand now, and certainly it has had more than a little to do with the extent of this epidemic in psychiatric disability that we are weathering at the current time.

You, too, can acquire a psychiatric diagnosis!

If the sun has set on the age of Sigmund Freud, it certainly hasn’t set on the age of therapy. The Wall Street Journal just published a “how to” article about the quest some people have made to get, uh, whatever it is they offer. This article bears the heading, Help Wanted: a Good Therapist. Just think…Heaven forbid that one should be caught without a therapist.

Therese Borchard went through 6 shrinks before she came to the one she must have been looking for all along.

Finally, No. 7 diagnosed bipolar disorder, found medication that was effective, helped her to be less hard on herself and “salvaged the last crumb of my self-esteem,” says Ms. Borchard, who writes the popular “Beyond Blue” blog on Beliefnet.com.

Wow! Therapist No. 7 diagnosed her with the immensely popular bipolar disorder! Why am I not at all surprised by this development?…

Next question, is it possible that what she was really looking for was a “disease”? We used to have a word for this sort of thing, a word that has fallen into relative disuse, and that word is hypochondriac.

Patients who aren’t sure what’s wrong with them can be stumped about the type of therapist to call and ill-equipped to evaluate what they’re told during treatment. How well a therapist’s personal style matches a patient’s individual needs can be critical. But experts also say that patients shouldn’t be shy about pressing their therapist for a diagnosis and setting measurable goals.

What’s wrong with them is the big question some patients have, a doctor answers this question by justifying their role, as patients. He gives them a diagnosis, he writes them a prescription, and usually an insurance company takes care of the rest of the deal’s details.

What perfect other might an individual be looking for besides a therapist, and why is the individual more likely to be disappointed there than on the couch? Uh, excuse me, I digress.

If anything has changed, I imagine it’s that the talking cure has given way to the chemical fix.

About 3% of Americans had outpatient psychotherapy in 2007—roughly the same as in 1998—although the percentage taking antidepressants and other psychotropic drugs rose sharply, according to an analysis in the American Journal of Psychiatry last year. The same study found that the average number of visits dropped from nearly 10 in 1998 to eight in 2007.

Then, as I indicated, you’ve got people searching for the right “disease”, I mean, therapist.

By some estimates, one-quarter of the U.S. population has some kind of diagnosable mental illness. But many don’t believe they need help, don’t know how to get it, think they can’t afford it or that it won’t be effective. There’s also the lingering stigma attached to seeing a “shrink.”

Apparently somebody is estimating a large number of nut jobs, but my question is what’s in it for the estimator? One thing I know for certain is that when a lingering “stigma” is attached to seeing a shrink, the shrinks business should do a lot better when it is “eradicated”.

Note we’ve got 2 interesting “stigmas” in the new contemporary treatment lexicon now, and I happen to think they are related. We’ve got the “stigma” attached to having a “mental illness”, and we’ve got the “stigma” attached to seeing a shrink. Few people mention the other 2 “stigmas” affecting contemporary mental health treatment. There are also “stigmas” attached to losing a “mental illness” and not seeing a shrink. I feel certain that many more people would recover from their disabilities, and their shrink tasting habits, if it weren’t for these further “stigmas”.

Some clinics and university mental-health centers offer consultations to help evaluate which treatment might be best. “Patients shouldn’t have to decide this by themselves,” says Drew Ramsey, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at New York’s Columbia University, who says he loves to play “shrink matchmaker.”

I don’t think we’re talking a dating service for shrinks here. No, that could get a whole lot of shrinks in a whole lot of trouble, and in more ways than one, of course.

Even close relationships sometimes fail to get at the right issues. Victoria Maxwell, 44, an actress and blogger from Half Moon Bay, British Columbia, says she worked with a therapist for 2½-years as a teenager and liked her enormously. But she never made much progress, because the therapist didn’t recognize Ms. Maxwell’s underlying bipolar disorder. “I became a really insightful depressed person. But it wasn’t helping my depression,” she says.

Remember, if a wrong diagnosis has been made, no matter what it is, its probably bipolar disorder. We call this wrong diagnosing misdiagnosis because “well” people don’t visit shrinks.

Fishing In The Stream Of Ambitions, Profiteering, and Genomic Research

Biological psychiatry is abuzz with news of 2 big research studies recently undertaken. HealthCanal.com ran a story on these studies bearing the heading, Researchers in ‘most powerful genetic studies of psychosis to date’. These studies involved some 50,000 patient volunteers.

The problem with some of these mad gene chases, and these two studies are a case in point, is the presumption that often underlies the whole undertaking.

Professor David Collier from the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, who was involved in both studies says: ‘Although we have known that psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder have a strong genetic basis, it has proven very difficult to identify the genetic risk factors involved. This is because the causes of these illnesses are highly complex, with many different genes and environmental factors involved. In order to try and solve this puzzle, hundreds of scientists researching schizophrenia have pooled their research results resulting in a major and unprecedented research cooperation, involving tens of thousands of volunteer patients.’

Psychiatry is not hard science. These researchers are not actually searching for a mad gene, or even cluster of genes according to the revised theory, they are actually searching for a propensity to go mad gene. This means that a large number of the people with these genes are not going to go mad at all. It also makes the search much more elusive than it would be if there was, let us say, a mad gene. I imagine one could say that the search for the proverbial needle in a haystack would be as productive as any ole’ mad gene hunt.

We have known belongs to the province of religion. We have known because the good book tells us so for instance. We have known doesn’t mean we have proven or we have disproven, the objective of scientific research, anything. The scientific method is not nearly so self-assured, valuing independence of mind and, in particular, skepticism quite highly. If we know then why are we conducting research? We should be conducting this research precisely because we don’t know, because we are unsure, but I suspect something else is going on here, and I will presently indicate what that something may consist in.

‘Our findings are a significant advance in our knowledge of the underlying causes of psychosis – especially in relation to the development and function of the brain. Unraveling the biology of these disorders brings great hope for the development of new therapies – we can attempt to develop therapeutic drugs which target the molecules in the brain involved in the development of psychosis.’ [Emphasis added.]

Funny that these new therapies should translate into chemical compounds, and that these chemical compounds should be making mega-bucks on the stock exchange. I’m talking drugs here, or the researcher’s chemical oil field. Since drugs have been the primary modality of treatment for psychosis since the mid 1950s, I don’t see what the heck is so new about this therapy at all. Drugs are rapidly becoming the only kind of therapy that psychiatrists permit and that their clients receive. If psychosis is not as biologically determined as theory would have it, then perhaps a drug is not the only way to fix it. My suspicion is that this kind of research is tainted by serious conflict of interest issues from the get go.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,608 other followers