Misdiagnosis Australia Style

If you don’t think mistakes happen in the mental health field the following story from Top News, Man Drugged After Being Mistaken For Escaped Psychiatric Patient, should prove enlightening.

A patient escaped from Perth’s Graylands Mental Hospital at some point in the middle of December.

Police, on December 16, discovered another person who matched the description given by the hospital and he was taken to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and was kept there over the night. He was given the anti-psychotic drugs which made him ill.

A man misidentified as an escaped mental patient was hospitalized and drugged. Two days later the real escapee returned to the hospital and, oh oh, then the cat was out of the bag.

The real patient who had escaped returned to the hospital on December 18 and it was then the hospital realized that they have committed [a] mistake in identifying the man. The Minister for Mental Health, Helen Morton has now apologized to him for the huge mistake.

Helen Morton says the people responsible for this misadventure should be held accountable. I suppose that also means the possibility of a sizable financial settlement from the threat of civil litigation for some lucky cuss.

Now whatever “disorder” the man nabbed on the 16th actually had, that information isn’t being released to the public.

On The Need For Resisting Corporate Rule And Plutocracy

A radio interview with psychologist Michael Cornwall sent me to wikipedia to look up ‘glass ceiling‘ after he referred to his own mad experience as meeting such a ‘glass ceiling’ for late adolescents and young adults.

In economics, the glass ceiling is “the unseen, yet unbreachable barrier that keeps minorities and women from rising to the upper rungs of the corporate ladder, regardless of their qualifications or achievements.” Initially, the metaphor applied to barriers in the careers of women but was quickly extended to refer to obstacles hindering the advancement of minority men, as well as women.

Notice that the elevation in this economic definition is “to the upper rungs of the corporate ladder” (i.e. wealth). One who is not working for the international corporate imperialist elite is likely to be seen, given this definition, in relative terms, as a failure.

The truth suffers when it is prostituted to business interests. Living a good life is not seen as a virtuous aim when it is also an impoverished life. Corporations control the mass media, and so they have the ability to silence dissent through commercial propaganda and neglect. When Mr. Money Bags pulls the strings, you’re out of luck if you don’t ingratiate yourself for ‘the dough, re, mi’.

There is a point at which even the objection is tempered by the degree to which corruption pervades the system. One is beholden to one institution, or the other, or else one is silent, and thereby, a complete loss. The illusion of an impartial news media has been exposed for the myth that it happens to be. You would have no news without periodically hearing from the news service’s corporate sponsors. There are, given those corporate sponsors, stories that will never make the light of day.

Value is manufactured by the global market. A global market that manipulates “supply” and “demand”. Dead artists are the prices their produce command at Sotheby’s. Stars emerge from television variety show ‘competitions’. Man woman the institution eclipse man woman the individuals. We are represented by, as was always the case, our betrayers. Nowhere is this more evident than in the electoral process where indirect democracy, given private interests, becomes even less direct all the time. All the middle men have to, after all, make a killing.

A few advance and glory at the expense of the many. Ours is less and less a world made for the mass of humanity. Starvation and plague in Africa, unrest and violence in the middle east, are the cost of civilization in the Americas and Europe. Philanthropists are people with millions and millions of dollars to give away. If they have billions, well, they can easily enough spare millions. It puts them in a better tax bracket.

As you can see, the mass of humanity are being challenged to do something about this devastating fiasco every day of the week. The corporate imperialists are only as powerful as the mass of humanity allow them to be. Right now, many more people are being robbed than are being benefited by these upper crust privateers. The religion of wealth may be limitless, but the reality of resources is quite limited. We need to reestablish some of the old antitrust laws before, after competition, a king of the mountain purple-assed baboon is the only creature left standing.

Missing ‘The Psyche’ In Psychiatry

I came across in this Information About Psychiatry blog a post, Origins of the words Psychology and Psychiatry, on the word origin of the specialty beginning with a sentence on psychology.

The word psychology first appeared in the English language in the 17th century and derives from psyche (soul) and ology (study of).

Closing with a paragraph on psychiatry.

Later, in 1808 the word “psychiatry” was coined by Johann Christian Reil. This word means “doctoring the soul”, coming from psyche (soul) and iatros (doctor). This new word allowed psychiatrists to take matters of the soul away from religion and into their own, incapable hands.

It was quite fascinating to think that the second half of the word psychiatry seemed to have the same root as the first half of one of my favorite words, iatrogenic, or doctor caused. Used in a sentence: Psychiatry is the source of much iatrogenic illness found in the world today.

The base of iatrogenic, according to Mosby’s Medical Dictionary.

Etymology: Gk, iatros, physician, genein, to produce.

Soul, in this instance, often translates interpretively into mind, and the word mind in its origins is related to memory.

I know of people who see conventional twenty-first century psychiatric practice as ‘soul killing’ or fostering ‘soul death’. This has to be ironic as the psychiatrist was initially viewed as a person who would be a healer of souls.

Much of this direction away from the original slant of psychiatrist has come with the ascendancy of biological psychiatry. Biological psychiatry sees human problems primarily in terms of brain dysfunction, and it does not tend to look to psyche or consciousness for the source of, or the solution to, those problems.

Re-translating psychobabble into bio-babble certainly hasn’t increased the success rate for the field. In fact, the biological approach to problems in living seems resigned to a belief that subtle birth defects are the source of psychiatric disorders.

One has to point out, time and time again, that there is very little concrete proof for a biological basis to psychiatric problems. There has been, on the other hand, much heavy-handed theorizing and thoroughly biased verbiage expended to bolster such a faith.

Specialty Specialist Word Usage Timeline

psychology 1653

mad doctor 1703

psychologist 1727

psychiatry 1846

alienist 1864

psychiatrist 1890

shrink 1966

Psychosis Risk Weasels Its Way Into The DSM-5

Allen Frances in his ten worst changes to the DSM list misses one psychiatric label that has got to be as bad as many of those that did make his list.

Remember “psychosis risk syndrome? “Psychosis risk syndrome” is still there, only now it’s called “attenuated psychosis syndrome”.

Although I’ve seen websites saying, oh, “attenuated psychosis disorder” was thrown out of the DSM. (Allen Frances says as much in his post, DSM-5 Guide is Not Bible-Ignore It’s Ten Worse Changes.) This is untrue. It’s still there, and it’s still a problem.

“Attenuated psychosis syndrome” will be in section 3 of the new revision. Section 3 is for diagnoses requiring more research.

It won’t be reimbursed by insurance companies, but it will be there, and this is ominous. It means the possibility that it will be reimbursed by insurance companies in a future edition of the DSM is extremely high.

75 % of the people tagged pre-psychotic never go psychotic, and so this diagnostic label is extremely dangerous, and potentially contagious.

“Attenuated psychosis syndrome” is in the same section that includes “internet addiction”, the “behavioral addiction” some professionals want included so badly.

If it’s in the DSM at any place, from page one to the appendix, it is going to be applied to living human beings. Given this reality, the danger of increasing the “serious mental illness” rate substantially through the use of such a bogus diagnostic tag is very real, and it should be a major cause for concern.

The DSM-5 is only a dead sea scroll and not the fully approved Allen Frances version

I hear a constant buzzing. No, wait. It’s only Allen Frances.

The chief editor of the DSM-IV is posing as the chief critic of the DSM-5, if that makes any sense. The problem is that the criticisms this retired psychiatry professor applies to the DSM-5 apply to the DSM-IV as much as they do to anything, and I’m still waiting for a major display of remorse over that document.

If we look at his latest in a catalogue of complaints against the upcoming DSM revision, DSM-5 Is A Guide, Not A Bible—Simply Ignore Its 10 Worst Changes, some of his criticisms are right on target.

His numero uno is a real humdinger, Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD) or temper tantrum disorder. This is the DSM revision teams way to try to deal with an artificially created epidemic that isn’t even in the DSM. A Harvard psychiatrist developed this notion that a number of these kids diagnosed ADHD were actually bipolar, and thus began the pediatric bipolar disorder boom. The DSM revision team has simply created a third diagnosis with which to compound the prior two diagnoses. When ADHD and bipolar disorder are at epidemic proportions, this is certainly paving the way for a third wave. Just wait, perhaps in 10 or 20 years they will come up with an adult DMDD diagnosis.

His second and ninth complaints we can skip over. Sadness, grief, and anxiety aren’t illnesses, or diseases, or disorders, or whatever you want to call them. They are emotions known to all of us. The distinction between clinical and “normal” is a distinction between the everyday and the psychiatrized. If you want one, go about your business, it will come. If you want the other, see a shrink. He or she has their “help” to contribute.

Number 3 is Neurocognitive Disorder or old folks disease. Oh, yeah. Age happens to everybody. I kind of think it redundant as when the brain breaks you have dementia or Alzheimer’s. If we had a ready trash can we could scrap number 3, too, but, of course, psychiatrists must to make a…I dunno…Is it a living, or is it a killing? Anyway, it’s bread, bacon, and a big house in an upscale neighborhood.

Number 4 is adult ADHD. I think I covered the subject sufficiently with number 1. There was a time when there was absolutely no ADHD. A few unruly children popped up, and the editors of the DSM-III put it in the DSM. ADHD babies grow up. 30 years on and, it’s epidemic among children, while the revisers of the upcoming edition are making it an adult “disease”. Pill popping babies grow up to be pill popping adults. Although the drug companies know this, they aren’t letting on. Why nip a good thing in the bud.

Number 5 over eating isn’t a disorder any more than over drinking is a disorder. Alcohol poisoning, with attendant headaches, on the other hand, bellyaches, diarrhea, and vomit, are major concerns. If you’re going to over indulge, learn to under indulge, er, or moderate your appetites. If you need a shrink to do so, well, you’re probably pretty gullible when it comes to a number of these other disorders. Excess in anything could be “co-occurring”, lay talk for “co-morbid”, with any human trait, negatively labeled a disorder, under the sun, moon, and stars. Psychiatrists tend to think “mental disorders” lead to “substance abuse” and vice versa. What a racket!

His complaint number 6 is a little weird coming from a psychiatrist. This has to do with the switch from Autism and autism related disorders to a general Autism Spectrum Disorder.

School services should be tied more to educational need, less to a controversial psychiatric diagnosis created for clinical (not educational) purposes and whose rate is so sensitive to small changes in definition and assessment.

Alright. Should you be talking to the nation’s shrinks or the nation’s educators on this score, and then how does this effect other controversial juvenile diagnoses (say, ADHD, conduct disorder, etc.)? If your talking about the collusion between this nation’s educators, law enforcement officers, government officials, mental health workers and psychiatrists that is an even bigger issue than we’ve got time to cover right here and now.

Number 7 is certainly a valid complaint, and number 8 follows close behind. If recreational illicit substance use is abuse, habit and indulgence equals abuse, too. Although hypersexuality was not included in the upcoming revision, internet addiction is going to be there, and internet addiction is a behavioral addiction. Behavioral addiction opens up the flood gates for any fad or trend to be classified an addiction. If internet addiction makes this edition, you can bet other behavioral addictions are coming, and sexual addiction, however you spell it, is way up there at the top among the candidates for inclusions in future editions.

What he ignores is that these “worst changes”, as he puts it, are the result of a process and an idea that is thoroughly unscientific from beginning to end. You don’t find real diseases by inventing them, and voting them into common parlance. You only find fanciful diseases that way.

DSM-5 violates the most sacred (and most frequently ignored) tenet in medicine—First Do No Harm! That’s why this is such a sad moment.

We, in the psychiatric survivors movement, have been something similar for decades. What follows from this sacred tenet is my next question directed at Professor Frances. Why, given this basic tenet, do you need a guide book for doing harm to people at all?

This harm starts with the psychiatric label. The label is a category in the DSM. All further harm follows from this labeling of human beings as flawed or pathologically affected or unworthy. This labeling represents the beginning of a downward slide in perception from discourse between equals to that of discourse between designated authorities and sub-human second class citizens. Even if you’re using a bamboo pole and string rather than a rod and reel, a few of us still aren’t taking the bait.

Florida panel protects abusive assisted living facilities

Can you imagine a panel put together to do something about death and abuse in assisted living facilities that winds up doing the diametric opposite of what it was designed to do, and instead puts its energies into protecting assisting living facility operators? This is exactly what happened in Florida. The Tallahassee report on the matter in the Tampa Bay Times bears the much too polite heading, Gov. Rick Scott’s panel goes soft on ALF industry, critics say.

Gov. Rick Scott used tough language in the summer of 2011 when he created a panel to help fix the deadly abuse and neglect in Florida assisted living facilities.

Right, and now for the result.

In a change of tide, Scott’s panel issued its final report this week, calling for diminished transparency and fewer regulations. The panel calls for the state to better enforce existing rules rather than create new ones. And to give homes more money to raise their standards but not punish them through fines and other sanctions when they perform badly.

“Diminished transparency” means a continuing cover up, and “fewer regulations” means more neglect, abuse, and death. Rather than punishing the operators of bad assisted living faculties, in effect, this decision means rewarding them for their failures.

The article goes on to say, “not everyone is cheering”. Duh.

The panel was picked after a series of Miami Herald articles exposed the death and abuse taking place in assisted living facilities across the state. The back story is as follows.

The furor from the Herald series prompted Scott’s panel to offer a variety of solutions in 2011, from stricter educational requirements for ALF caretakers to more government oversight for facilities that cause patient harm. Those emerged shortly after the series was published and served as a foundation for sweeping legislation that lawmakers softened and then defeated in 2012, under pressure from powerful industry lobbyists.

In Florida, at least, it looks like those powerful industry lobbyists have won the day for the time being. This is bad news for people who seek to reform Florida’s broken assisted care system, and it is bad news for residents of assisted living facilities who may be subjected to abuse and neglect with no recourse to redress. The effect of this “final” decision is that people in assisted living faculties are going to be in no better shape than they were before an investigation revealed the extent to which they were abused, neglected, and dying. Certainly there have to be better courses of action to take than that of making a bad situation worse. Unfortunately, this is not the direction the state of Florida has chosen to take. If there is any silver lining to this situation, it is to be found in the fact that if the situation gets bad enough, the federal government will be forced to intervene.