Perhaps It’s Time to Change Models

The DSM, through DSM-V revisions, is being restructured according to the latest reports. This restructuring is based on the latest scientific discoveries.

You can believe that if you’re naïve perhaps, or if you’re a convert to the “mental illness” religion, but it doesn’t really hold water. The most apt analogy for this revision process that I can think of is with a woman going to her beautician for her scheduled ‘make over’.

This is an instance of bad science approving itself.

Why bad science? Well, essentially because the science of specifically medical model psychiatry, the very psychiatry behind the manual, is based primarily upon premise. Good science isn’t based upon such premises. Good science is based upon evidense.

What premise do I mean? I mean the premise that “serious mental illness” is biologically determined. Theory has it that “serious mental illness” is 70 % or so determined by hereditary, and that the other 30 % is determined by environmental and social factors.

Biological determination of this sort allows our psychiatrists to see “chronicity”, “incurability”, or “non-recovery” as a matter of biology rather than as a matter of professional and systemic failure. Were the case the way they’d have it, then the situation becomes less rather than more mutable.

Whether what is conventionally thought of as “serious mental illness” is determined by this, that, or the other hasn’t really been clearly established. The scientific method is not truth; the scientific method is merely a method for arriving at the truth.

The reason that “serious mental illness” is seen as 70 % determined by genes is because the people doing the seeing are biological medical model psychiatrists. Were another premise used, by another school of treatment, you’d get a different estimation.

In the case of an estimate like this you have to have well over 50 % of the determination to ground your theory. Biological medical model psychiatry wouldn’t be viable if its theory attributed more than 50 % of the basis for “serious mental illness” to the environment or society.

The key word here, folks, is theory.

This is an instance of theory guiding science rather than science guiding theory. Given another theory these estimates would reverse themselves with “serious mental illness” being 70 % determined by environment or society, and only 30 % or so determined by heredity.

The numbers 70 and 30 are, of course, purely arbitrary. It could be 80 and 20. It could be 60 and 40. The idea is that your estimate must support your theory.

The statistics you are not getting here are those dealing with the growing numbers of people labeled by doctors using the DSM. The number of those who become casualties of this labeling process, and the prescription drugging that goes along with it. These numbers are growing, and the revisions put in the upcoming version of the manual are not likely to reduce this incline one iota. In fact, if anything, the revision is likely to increase the numbers of people psychiatrically labeled and harmed.

Someday biological medical model psychiatry is going to have to look in the mirror, and the truth will be out. No amount of cosmetic effort is going to make this school of practice desirable.