Think Again

An article at Physorg.com is entitled Rethinking Psychiatry to which I reply with this post titled, plainly enough, Think Again.

“I remember one meeting, when I told a psychiatry professor about a study I had read showing that no two psychiatrists could agree better than chance on diagnosis,” says retired Washington University psychiatrist George E. Murphy, MD. “He said, ‘But then our diagnoses don’t mean anything,’ and I replied, ‘That’s exactly true.’ And he never spoke to me again, because that was too bitter a pill to swallow.”

He should try some of the pills given to patients.

If no two psychiatrists can agree on a diagnosis any better than chance what does that say about diagnosis? It isn’t such an art after all, is it? In fact, it’s bunk.

Here we have this article that is going to tell us how medical model psychiatry at St. Louis’s Washington University took the baton from what it saw as an “unscientific” psychoanalytic approach, and ran with it. A few years down the line, now that we’re dealing with doctors who have minimal contact with patients, doctors who do nothing but push pills, and pills that kill and maim people, maybe that wasn’t such a good idea.

Today, the Department of Psychiatry has ambitious plans on the horizon. Though DSM-V is in process, they are more focused on DSM-VI, some 15 years ahead. By then, they will have functional information about brain structures from a major brain-mapping project soon to be undertaken by David C. Van Essen, PhD, professor and head of anatomy and neurobiology. Through his work, they hope to understand the breakdown of brain systems in psychiatric disorders and design targeted therapies to treat them.

I kind of think these doctors are looking in a very limited fashion at “targeted therapies” that involve little else besides the drugging of patients.

If you think they will be any closer 15 years from now than they will be in 2 years when the DSM-V comes out to finding the “mental illness” germ, bug, gene, kink, whatever, I have to laugh in your face. If you think I’m not laughing at you, think again. Nonetheless they like to call themselves “scientific”.

“Our job — what we have inherited — is to be troublemakers, and I like that,” [Charles F.] Zorumski [head of the Washington University department of psychiatry] says. “We want to keep reminding people that we haven’t done enough and to keep asking: ‘Where is the next thing coming from?’”

Simplicismo say, “Question: how are jobs like diseases of the mind? Answer: they are both inherited.”

Dr. Zorumski called himself a “troublemaker”. Okay. Funny thing, I’ve called myself the same thing. My job as a human rights activist is to make trouble for the likes of this self-proclaimed troublemaker. I guess that makes me a troublemaker’s troublemaker. I see the harm that has been done. I want to rip the blinders off Dr. Zorumski that prevent him from seeing the truth of the horrific situation he has helped to create. As for the trouble, it’s no trouble, really.

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4 Responses

  1. It’s actually pretty easy for the shrinks to be confident that their peers would make the same diagnosis.

    For one thing the diagnosis is usually determined ahead of time by whatever is the opinion of the public. And the public are educated by the media. To be a shrink you only need to watch a bit of TV and have a license to prescribe.

    Typically the diagnosis is done and dusted before the shrink has his 10 minutes with a new “patient”. He’s got a bit of paperwork with some kind of account from whoever bought the person in. He only looks at the “patient” to see if what he sees and then records in his notes can be interpreted to tally with what’s been reported by others. This is his rule of thumb. That’s all he has to remember.

    So if he’s in court 5 years later he can say – The patient exhibited signs of thought disorder…. etc … etc …. consistent with accounts made earlier that day by neighbors.

    He never has to know anything about a person. All he has to do is use a rule of thumb. As long as he knows that he has always used a rule of thumb he knows that a quick glance at any record he has ever made will be enough to allow him to speak with mock authority.

    This is a simple con trick that is taught to all psychiatrists working in a modern welfare state. But they don’t call it a con trick. They give it another name like Standardizing Care or something.

    So the shrinks are taught to take mental note of particular phenomena and place them in a particular order. And to look at what documentation comes with the “patient”. This determines what they will write in their notes.

    Likewise social workers, cops and nurses that see the person before the shrink does are taught what to write. And the public are taught what to say by the TV.

    • Well, misdiagnosis in the mental health field is usually a matter of anybody preferring the bipolar tag over whatever tag they’d previously been given. Britney Spears has it, and Charlie Sheen is accused of having it. It can’t be bad, can it? It’s amusing that “non-mental” people don’t get diagnosed. Instead diagnosis leads to diagnosis. All you need for a diagnosis to be dealt is a psychiatrist.

      In the criminal justice system we recognise that innocent people sometimes get convicted of serious crimes. The courts can then come to the falsely convicted innocent person’s aid. There is no such consideration made for people who find themselves stuck in the mental health/illness system. People in the mental health/illness system, as a rule, are presumed to be incorrigibly “sick” for life.

      This is actually all about selling psych drugs. The more severe the disorder, the more mulah the drug companies rake in. The patient is brought into the doctor. The doctor makes his diagnosis, and gives the patient something to f**k up the patient. The patient has suddenly taken a turn for the worse. Now the doctor must give the patient something else to further f**k up the patient.

      A vicious cycle has been started here. The only way to break the cycle is to get the labeled person away from the psychiatrist.

  2. Sometimes the only way to do that is to have a very quiet, very private word with the psychiatrist. It does work. Even if the idiot says, “It’s not just me, Prof Martin … “, tell him you don’t care.

    • I suppose. There are psychiatrists, and there are psychiatrists. I would think that finding a good psychiatrist is kind of like finding a needle in a haystack. A loudly shouting needle maybe. If you’re going to take what the state provides, forget it! Po people don’t get choices, and this lack of choice equals coercion.

      Having seen firsthand the negative results, health-wise, that come of compliance to treatment plans, I’m a big one for non-compliance. Most doctors tend to try to demand compliance. All too often this demand involves some form or other of coercion. You don’t get coercion without violating somebodies human rights.

      I will have none of this talk of a person’s right to treatment that doesn’t also recognise and respect a person’s equally valid right to refuse treatment. When you don’t give a person a choice, you’ve got tyranny. Tyranny may seduce and cajol, but let’s recognize it for what it is. Coercion is tyranny.

      Forcible treatment in a free society removes a certain number of people from the laws that pertain to a free society. Force is incompatible with freedom. This is a power disparity and an equity issue. This or that society has second class citizens that aren’t accorded the full benefit of the law. Freedom is not what it might be so long as tyranny is allowed an entrance through this backdoor.

      The problem, as I see it, is that the space taken by freedom is dwindling while that space consumed by tyranny is expanding. I think this is a very disturbing trend.

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