Getting around the stability issue

Biological psychiatry has been cozying up to neuroscience for awhile now. The idea is to remove mind from the equation. We are not dealing with minds, we are dealing with brains. The problem biological psychiatry has is that this cozying represents something of a leap. Neuroscience deals with the brain; the proper sphere of study for psychiatry is “mental illness”. Brain is physical, the organ of thought, and a noun. Thought, produced by an action of the brain, isn’t physical per se, it’s mental.

We have the disjunction between minor and major “mental illness” to contend with for one thing. Minor “mental illness” is still seen as a mind thing, stress has gotten to this person or that. The problem is all in their head. Major ‘mental illness”, on the other hand, is seen as a brain thing. This or that person is seen as having a brain defect owing to their biology, their mix of genomes received from mom and dad.

This is biological psychiatry’s way of dealing with some of the criticism it has faced in the past. While “mental illness” may be seen as an illusion if it’s a thought thing, it’s harder to make an illusion out of a brain thing. If “mental illness” is a brain thing, you can’t fault psychiatrists for their lack of scientific rigor, it is assumed. If we can make an error in judgment an error in judging instrument, we’ve bridged the gap all the way back to medicine once again.

The problem we are facing now is the gap between the recoverable minorly disturbed person and the irrecoverable majorly disturbed person. Is it just a matter of degree, or is it a matter of type? I mean stress produces anxiety, and therefore, we have what is referred to as “generalized anxiety disorder”. Were we to up the pressure a great deal, would this increased stress produce in a human subject psychosis? If major and minor are simply measurements, the mad genes get even more slippery to grab a hold of than we might have imagined them at first to be.

What if one out of a thousand majorly disturbed person had their disturbance play itself out? If this happened, biological psychiatry would be disproven in every one out of a thousand cases, but it would be disproven nonetheless. When such happens, the question that remains is what differentiates this case from the other 999 cases? Well, biological psychiatry is disproven a great deal more than in every one out of a thousand cases. The question is, in those cases that don’t fully recover, what is it that prevents them from disproving the premises put forward by biological psychiatry, too?

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