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The Coming Plague

I have a friend who spends much of his time traveling in Asia. He is a psychiatric survivor, and he says he prefers Asia to the USA precisely because people are not going on and on about “mental health”, “mental health treatment”, and “mental disorders” all the time there.

In the USA, on the other hand, it is thought right and proper to air “mental health” laundry. It is thought by some, not yours truly, that bringing “mental illness” out of the shadows so-to-speak is a way of attacking the “stigma” associated with psychiatric labels.  The problem with this way of thinking is that it doesn’t acknowledge that the “stigma” comes with the label, in fact, you could say they are identical.

I’m sick of hearing about “mental health” myself. I’m sick of hearing about “mental health treatment”, and I’m sick of hearing about “mental disorders”. In some quarters of the nation this medico-literary emphasis is truly obsessive, and what comes of obsessing? Well, often it is excess.

There is a demand for “mental illness” because without  “mental illness” “mental health” wouldn’t have a market. Perhaps, for the sake of clarity, I need to rephrase the last sentence. A rich supply of “mental illness” fuels the market for “mental health treatment” which in turn creates a further demand for “mental illness”, a demand all too easily met.

The “mental illness” rates have been soaring for years. The World Health Organization tells us “mental illness” is set to distance physical illness as the number one cause of disability in the world. This means the number one reason for “disability payments” by the government, supplied by labor of  tax payers, in the future is going to be “mental illness”.

Right away we’ve got a problem. For all the efforts psychiatry has made to claim psychiatric problems somatic, this supposition remains devoid of solid proof.  Psychiatry has been notoriously unsuccessful, not as a business, but as a branch of medical science. The proof is in the pudding, and in this instance, the pudding is more and more rather than less and less “mental illness”.

In those instances where it is claimed a person has a “mental illness”, recovery, or a cure, if you will, is seen as out of the question. Of course, this is a relative statement. So called minor “mental disorders” lending themselves to effective treatment much more readily than major “mental disorders”. It work’s the other way, too. It is not unheard of for minor “disorders” to develop into major “disorders”, and then, well, we’ve once again hit the snag of poor prognoses.

I would say that this obsession is not a very healthy one. Were we to talk less about “mental health”, I feel certain that we as a nation would be less beset with what are sometimes referred to as “mental health issues”.  Were we to diagnose less of it, well, there you go. Already a cure is at hand. Problems demand solutions. When “mental health issues” are communication and situational problems, no amount of “medical treatment” nonsense is going to solve them.

6 Responses

  1. Ok so I see where you are comming from with tgis but I am not sure psychatry is ro blame for the stats? In western societies there are so many other factors that can be blamed for poor mental health . Our individualism, lack of community connectedness , mindless consumerism poor physical health obesity etc . Dont be offended I agreed to an extent …just think that its complicated ….

    • I’m not castigating people, and calling it “mental health”, or “mental health treatment”. Some people are. The bias assumes distress = mental illness = bad = wrong. Invalidation, in other words, happens. I wouldn’t cut my tongue out, and lay down before a steam roller of my own volition.

      Individualism is healthy as far as I’m concerned. Community connectedness is something a person must put some effort into achieving. Mindless consumerism is a byproduct of corporate imperialism and capitalism. I wouldn’t call it a virtue. Poor health is often the outcome of long term psychiatric drug taking routines, and nothing a little knowledge, exercise, and abstinence won’t correct. Provided, of course, a person is caught in time.

      Psychiatry is not totally to blame. I don’t want to give that impression at all. Psychiatry has all sorts of accomplices. Insurance companies, drug companies, so-called patient advocacy groups, family members, politicians, and other mental health workers. Mental health is a business. If you think it’s because all these people care so much you really are missing something. A professional relationship, say a relationship to a psychiatrist or a case manager, is not the same thing as a relationship to a human being. There is a heck of a lot of deception in the mental health business. If maybe that’s something you feel you need, okay. I don’t need it.

      • I agree and you dont have to utilize it I dont thibk less of u for that ..drug companies are indeed the devil but a necessary evil..people prior to anti psychotics used to actually die from andrenal exhaustion after major psychosis … think tho too many people do take regular meds that are preety toxic for not much of a good reason ..thise with minor depression etc …

      • Oh and there are some pretty bloody crapy psychatrist workers etc out there I agree …

      • Sorry. We are in agreement mostly, and that’s a rare enough.

        I don’t see the drug companies as a necessary evil. Psychiatric drugs, in my book, are not medicine, and so what we need is a major paradigm switch. Let me tell you, there is nothing commonplace about “adrenal exhaustion”, and so this condition you bring up is an rare exception. Psychiatric drugs, notably neuroleptics, have raised the morality rate for people in mental health treatment.. This is wholesale slaughter, and not the sort of thing that anybody needs.

        The system is a hierarchy with many pretty crappy workers under the hospital directors and the psychiatrists. These workers are often crappy because of their position in the hierarchy. The psychiatrists themselves usually spend less time on the wards, and with the patients, than almost anyone else on the wards. Way down there are the nursing staff and the aides. The aides, being low man on the totem pole, often have their own beefs about the system, and nobody to take their frustrations out on but the patients.

  2. Reblogged this on Are You Mental? and commented:
    Thank you for sharing.

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