“Mental illness”, the belief

Among the major tenets of the Church of Biological Psychiatry is the belief, for there is no evidence supporting the claim, that what is commonly referred to as “mental illness” is an actual disease. Disbelief, to the converts to this faith, amounts to heresy, and they refer to this heresy as “stigma”. The idea is that if you belong to this church, you must believe in “mental illness”, and not to do so is to mistreat people thought to be diseased.

A couple of decades ago, a revisionist and protestant sect of dissident evangelists split from the Church of Biological Psychiatry.  This protestant church initially arose around the cathartic and redemptive power of mental health recovery. People infected with the “mental illness” bug were thought, by this church, to be capable of recovering their mental competence and, in many cases, completely so.

More recently, the Church of Mental Health Recovery has evolved into the Church of That Recovery That Is Not Recovery.  So many members of this church with the bug, were not losing that bug, and so it became incumbent upon parishioners to start in a new direction. I guess they’d grown attached to it. The feeling is that if the Church of That Recovery That Is Not Recovery continues to evolve in the direction in which it is going, it will eventually be entirely reabsorbed back into body of the mother church, the Church of Biological Psychiatry.

The “mental illness” lifestyle, ironically enough, is equivalent to the mental health lifestyle, that is, it is a lifetime of perpetual treatment for the affliction a person is presumed to have. Accompanying the initial curse of diagnosis (I do hereby pronounce thee “mentally ill”, and beyond hope of remedy or consequence), comes the attendant chronicity.  This chronicity, or lifelong path, is a matter of realizing the negative prognosis, or curse-fulfilling prophesy, issued by psychiatrists, the churches priestly caste of sorcerers.

The news is not all bad. Given advances made by the Church of That Recovery That Is Not Recovery, converts are learning to better enjoy their afflictions. Within the limitations of their debilities, the stricken are learning to carve the modicum of a decent existence out for themselves, however beset by hardship and suffering. The key to this silver lining, so to speak, is to be found in total compliance with mental health treatment plans.

If it weren’t for the great therapist who dwells in the sky, the creator of the drug research and development department, the “mentally ill” person, left to his or her own devices, would be lost. He or she would be just one more homeless refugee scrounging dumpsters for a bite to eat, mumbling to him or herself, and irritating business owners. He or she could even be squatting in the city jail for a spell. No more, he or she now can be diverted from that fate to a fate equally inane courtesy of Joe Tax Payer.

Believing in “mental illness”is not the same as believing in mental health. Believing in mental health is not the same as disbelieving in “mental illness”.  We could arrange this sentence in all its possible permutations regarding belief and disbelief, and it still boils down to pretty much the same thing. Maintaining a healthy skepticism, while keeping one’s feet squarely on solid ground,  creates a stabilizing effect. In a world where Big Foot, Nessy, ghosts and flying saucers still manage to captivate the popular imagination, it’s best to keep a wary eye out for wooden nickels and, one might add, false gods.

The Government’s Response To The Sandy Hook Tragedy

The good news is that President Obama wants some form of gun control when it comes to automatic weapons and ammo. If we limit the number of massively killing machines that there are out there, we limit the number of chances that you will get the kind of body counts you got at V-Tech and Sandy Hook. Body counts, in fact, almost rivaling the Oklahoma City bombing. Unfortunately, gun control measures are not likely to get very far in today’s atmosphere. You’ve got the gun lobby and a Republican controlled congress to contend with. Talk about gun control always triggers a gun buying frenzy among certain segments of the public as well. The gun control measures are perhaps the least likely items on the agenda to get passed.This leads us to the rest of the counteracting measures, and that’s the bad news.

First there is this matter of closing the loopholes in the federal background check database. The problem here is that people labeled “mentally ill” are actually less likely to commit violent crimes than the general population. This group has become the scapegoat for the acts of violence committed by a very few failed and frustrated individuals. None of the people who committed the multiple shootings we have seen in the recent past would have been caught by such a database even if the so called loopholes were closed. This database targets not only people who have known the inside of a mental institution, but also foreigners in this country illegally, spouse abusers, and ex-felons. This database will be used by law enforcement for harassing the people who are in it. The database itself constitutes a loophole in the bill of rights of the US constitution as none of the people in the database are to be accorded the rights that full citizenship would ordinarily accord a person. As such, it represents a loophole in constitutional protections of citizenship. This certainly creates quite a challenge for the people unfortunate enough to find themselves listed. They’ve got the fight for the civil rights that have been taken away from them, ahead of them.

Additionally, there is the matter of mental health insurance parody. Parity is too good a word. This parody involves insurance companies treating psychosomatic conditions as if they were physical conditions. The key words here are “as if”. We’re expected to allow insurance companies to take up the slack for a broken mental health system. Really. If the mental health system were recovering contributing members of society this wouldn’t be a problem, but that’s not the case. People receiving “mental illness” labels are expected to languish for the duration of their lives in some form of convalescence for which someone else picks up the tab. Insurance parity, on top of job discrimination, equals economic damage. Malingering should not be turned into the kind of a career that insurance parody of this sort can turn it into. This is economic damage. It is economic damage to the individual and it is economic damage to the nation as a whole. It is keeping people weak and dependent who should be strong and independent.

Finally officials want to beef up mental health policing and surveillance in the school systems. They would have more money pumped into counseling and screening children and adolescents in the hopes that they could catch problem kids before they left school and shot bunches of people. The problem is that such an effort is likely to have a result opposite the one intended. Early intervention is not prevention; it actually amounts to causation. Putting money into mental health in the schools is invariably going to increase the numbers of school children labeled “mentally ill”. These numbers have increased dramatically recently in no small measure due to the focus that mental health has received in the mass media. Children that enter mental health treatment don’t always leave mental health treatment alive. There is a statistic that indicates the failure of the mental health system that I alluded to earlier. If 1/2 of the people labeled lifelong mental patients are labeled by the age of 14 years old, as it is indeed said they are, do we really want to label more children? Increasing the numbers of children labeled “seriously mentally ill” is going to increase the numbers of adults labeled “seriously mentally ill”. Children grow up, but they don’t always grow up healthy. A healthy mental health system is a system that is contracting. An unhealthy mental health system is a system that is expanding. We’ve got better things to do than to sell “mental illness” under the pretext of selling mental health.

The government has better ways to serve the people of this country than by beefing up it’s mental health security force the way it wants to do in the schools. This patrolling the hallways of our nation’s schools for errant behavior is going to result in more students penalized, and in many cases, pathologized, for annoying behavior. Children, as a rule, grow up. As they are children, we have to expect them to engage in a certain amount of foolish and silly behavior. We have to expect them to make mistakes. We also have to expect them to be able to learn from mistakes to correct mistakes. Lowering the expectation for some of them that they will ever attain the wisdom that comes with age is not an improvement. Damaging the futures of children in the name of mental health, although the course we are set on, is not the kind of thing we should be doing with our nation’s children.

No More Back Stepping

“Mental illness” is a illusion, a joke, an excuse, a flat out lie. Something may be going on, but whatever that something is, it is not ‘illness’.

We’ve got a whole industry supporting the illusion that defective genes cause people to lead difficult lives that can be fixed only through the wonders of modern psychopharmacology. Complete and utter balderdash!

Was Lee Harvey Oswald, the assassin of President John F. Kennedy, mad? The lone gunman theory has evolved into the lone nutcase theory, and this, in turn, has started a trend in multiple murders. As murder has become some unfortunate peoples’ ticket into the national spotlight, you can expect this trend to continue.

I just read where Patrick Kennedy is pitching mental health insurance parity in Colorado. If “mental illness” is an illusion, what does that make mental health? I will give you a hint. Look to the attraction in tent number two.

This insurance parity thing has something to do with equating meta-physical illness with physical illness. Doing so allows all sorts of people to claim permanent disability payments on the basis of meta-physical (non-organic) criteria.

The government shells out, well, not so good money to subsidize this population of newly but artificially disabled people. Dead beat is not so dead beat if you can claim you’re loony toons. Hand in hand immaturity and irresponsibility have a great future before them.

You’ve got a profession that is poisoning people and calling it medicine. You’ve got a profession that is keeping people down, and saying it is “helping” them. You’ve got a profession that, rather than restoring people to purposeful activity, renders a portion of the population perpetual burdens to the rest of society.

I’ve had it with the entire profession. I will truck no more with psychiatry. I’m not the person to set up a Vichy style government in cahoots with these mad doctors. I don’t want to make matters worse. I’m sick of the corruption that pervades the mental health industry from one end to the other.

I think we should work to get people out of the mental health system. I think it is all the more imperative that we get people out of the mental health system because it is actually a “mental illness” system. Furthermore, it is a “mental illness” system on the verge of becoming a physical illness system.

Oh, didn’t I say “mental illness” was an illusion? Let me rephrase the comment that I just made then. I think we should work to get people out of the mental health system because it is actually a social and physical harm system. I think we should clean up this mess we’ve created by getting good people out of bad situations.

Complete irrationality may be the new trend on all levels of society, nonetheless, it is a trend I am hoping to buck. Communication, outside of military service, should never be a one way street. Somehow the typical argument that is winning the day has much more to do with expediency than it has to do with reality.

When people meet one to one, face to face, there is much that they can accomplish by working together. I don’t think we are accomplishing very much by savaging the human rights of an excluded segment of society. My intention is to work in the opposite direction and for the opposite result.

Nope, No Bipolar Disorder, Not This Time. Sorry.

A New Zealand woman has been given a formal apology and an insurance payment after being hospitalized and shocked 200 times for an “illness” that she didn’t even have. The story in TVNZ bears the heading, Wrongly diagnosed woman shocked 200 times.

At 17, [Joan] Bellingham was training to be a nurse, and she claimed she was bullied by one of her tutors because she was a lesbian.

The bullying nursing tutor drove her to a hospital and had her committed for “neurotic personality disorder.”

That was 42 years ago.

Between 1970 and 1982, Bellingham was admitted to hospital 24 times and had about 200 ECT treatments.

Three years after being first admitted to the hospital, she’s received her degree in “Major Mental Disorders”.

She was in and out of hospital but was kept highly medicated. In 1973 – three years after she was first committed – she was diagnosed as a schizophrenic, a diagnosis maintained until 1982.

She has also received a Hepititis C diagnosis, thought to have been contracted while in the hospital.

She doesn’t reflect extensively, in this article, on the effects this kind of damaging and forced maltreatment might have had on her health and her life subsequently.

I wonder, hmmm. Is it possible that there are thousands and thousands of people being held at the present time in psychiatric hospitals around the world for non-existent “illnesses”? If so, I would imagine there could be a great deal of potential for more and more of this sort of coverage in the future.

What’s Needed To Improve Mental Health Recovery Rates?

Psychiatrists have long emphasized low recovery rates for serious mental health issues resulting in a great number of what are called long-term or chronic cases. My feeling is that this low recovery rate has 2 major causes. The first is due to the fact that the primary form of treatment, drug treatment, is crippling in its own right, and it doesn’t really address the underlying circumstances behind whatever dilemma a person may be facing. The second is that we’ve got an expansive self-perpetuating mental health system that isn’t really interested in seeing people released from that system. If the rhetoric says one thing, the facts suggest another.

Biological psychiatry, which would blame these bad outcomes on heredity, is blinded by its own prejudices and presumptions. All research in this area of expertise can only be approximate, by no means is psychiatry an exact science. If you are saying that these people have bad genes, you still have to demonstrate that all of them have bad genes, and not just a fraction. Biological psychiatry is trying to say that that fraction includes a greater rather than lesser number of people it has labeled. This theory has been disproved by World Health Organization (WHO) research into recovery rates in developing countries. If recovery rates in some countries in the developing world were twice those in the more industrial nations, obviously the fraction suffering from bad genes, in this instance, becomes smaller rather than greater. Under the skin, people in the developing world are the same as the people in the developing world.

The real and only difference between a mental patient, and much of the rest of the world, is meaningful and paid employment. The mental health system, as it is now set up, being based upon insurance disability claims, can’t co-exist with meaningful employment. People receive disability when they are deemed unfit to work. There is no graduated system within the mental health system of getting people back into the working world. Loss of disability serves as a disincentive to working, especially when job insecurity and relapse fears abound. The idea of doing something innovative, like incorporating a small labor force, flounders when you reach the bureaucratic insurance company and governmental red tape involved.

Work has been described as conducive to recovery when it comes to mental upsets and life crises. The mental health system is hiring Peer Support Specialists at this time because it just doesn’t make sense to tend so many under and unemployed people when you can put a few to work. People in the mental health system often want to work. Simply sending them to college for more training is not always the best policy for them. It would help if the mental health system made finding people suitable employment outside of the mental health system a part of its business. I’m not saying work solves everything. I am saying that work can be fun, and that it doesn’t have to be conceived of as nothing but tedium and drudgery.

Both of these causes will have to be addressed if recovery rates are to be substantially improved. Non-drug alternative approaches to disabling and damaging chemical treatments need to be studied and applied. The question and nature of the worth of people in the job market will need to be reintroduced and explored. Special and novel ways of achieving that worth need to be looked at as well. This is a social matter, and as such, it involves groups of people seeking solutions to the problems that people have in common. In order to come up with these solutions, something of the insular and segregating nature of the mental health system will have to give way before the need to engage more people in the active life of their communities.

My Anti-Treatment Tirade

I don’t like mental health treatment. I don’t like it firstly because I think it is unhealthy. I don’t like it secondly because I think it is deceitful.

A Citizens Commission on Human Rights post I read once said a person is only “mentally ill” until the insurance runs out. There is certainly a lot of truth in such a statement as a person can only be a mental patient so long as it is paid for.

“Mentally ill” is always presumptive. Nobody has ever found a “mental illness” for starters. There is no “mental illness” on a microscope slide, or in a petri dish. The symptoms are a matter of disturbing behaviors. The disease itself is thoroughly elusive. If, in fact, it is at all.

Even if by a stretch of the imagination we credit “mental illness” with a tangible existence, there have been “un-sick” people stuck in psychiatric facilities just as surely as there have been innocent people on death row. Mental patient is more real. Mental patient is the role assumed by a person caught up in the mental health treatment system.

If there were no mental patients or mental health consumers as they call themselves these days, there would be no mental health workers. You’ve got two tiers of parasitism here. You’ve got people living off insurance, and you’ve got the people these people who are living off insurance are paying off, by means of insurance, to validate their own insurance claims.

This leads to my third objection to mental health treatment. I don’t like mental health treatment because it is unethical.

Mental health treatment assumes that this group of people is too immature to deal with matters in an adult fashion, and so they must be tended by that group of people who are presumed to be more responsible. Why are they deemed more responsible? They aren’t living directly off insurance payments; they are rather taking insurance payments indirectly from the first group.

I don’t care how many excuses a person gives for not going out and getting real work, an excuse is just an excuse. Tending adult kindergarten flunkies is not a real job. A radical form of mental health shock therapy would involve subsidizing neither group of freeloaders.

In my view, when we start firing mental health workers, and when we start hiring former–for there are no mental patients without insurance payments and mental health workers–mental patients, then we will be beginning to make some real progress.

Human Rights Violations Past And Present

I’m sure that many people don’t have a good understanding of the human rights issues involved in the mental health treatment world. I feel that one of those people is James Dailey who writes in a UVA Daily Cavalier article, Evolving standards.

Today’s mental health crisis is similar to that of yesteryear. The idea of human rights has evolved to the extent that physically chaining, beating or unlawfully incarcerating the mentally ill is considered inhumane. Even though these physical punishments have largely been phased out, those suffering from mental illness in this country still suffer considerably. Today, a social stigma punishes the mentally ill in the same way caretakers physically abused them in the past.

Incidents such as those involving the physical chaining Mr. Dailey mentions still take place in many foreign, and usually under developed, countries. This is not a similar human rights crisis; this is the same human rights crisis. Beating or unlawful incarcerating is considered inhumane regardless of whether the persons being assaulted or falsely imprisoned have received any psychiatric label or not.

But even if treatment options become more affordable, many people may be reluctant to obtain treatment for mental illness because of the surrounding social stigma. Many parents deny their children the opportunity to see a therapist or psychiatrist because they fear their children will be deemed abnormal. According to a Family & Youth Roundtable study, 79 percent of families avoid mental health treatment for their children because of the associated social stigma. Adults and teens deny themselves treatment for the same reason: for fear of being judged by a society that considers mental illness a kind of psychological weakness rather than a “real” ailment.

When Mr. Dailey can give me any conclusive evidence that what is commonly referred to as “mental illness” is not due to some “kind of psychological weakness”, then I will pay closer attention to what he says. I don’t have the idea that anybody is doing any research to determine whether “mental illness” labels have anything to do with “psychological weakness” or not. I believe that a lot of research is being done by drug companies who want to sell drugs. When these drug companies have doctors who say “mental illness” is just like a physical disease, and not a matter of “psychological weakness”, the sale of pharmaceutical products goes up.

The fact that many individuals cannot afford treatment, when compounded by the intense stigma associated with the treatment, creates terrible consequences. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 90 percent of those who commit suicide suffer from a diagnosable mental illness. As suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15- to 24-year-old individuals, this is unacceptable. Forcing people into a state of isolation and hopelessness to the point of suicide when treatment options exist is utterly deplorable. This situation is no different than denying a cancer patient life-saving treatment. An although the overwhelming majority of those suffering from mental illness are not inclined to violence, a few are, such as Seung-Hui Cho at Virginia Tech in 2007 and Jared Loughner in Arizona several weeks ago. Perhaps these shootings could have been prevented had there not been such an intense stigma linked to treatment.

Emphasis added.

Although I have seen people in mental institutions incarcerated against their will and wishes, and forcibly drugged, I have never seen anybody forced into a state of isolation and hopelessness. I have encountered many people who had a subjective sense of feeling that they had been “forced into a state of isolation and hopelessness”, but objectively the situation was far different. You get out of this hoopla a lot of people talking about some right to receive mental health treatment without respecting one iota a person’s right to refuse such treatment. The question that is not being asked here is whether such treatment as is received does any good when it comes to relieving this “state of isolation and hopelessness”. Much mental health treatment today is known for its failure to return the demented person to a state consistent with what is considered “healthy”.

The problem here is that if by “stigma” he means prejudice and discrimination, I certainly don’t think entering treatment programs seems to be removing that prejudice and discrimination. If anything, the treatment seems to exasperate the abuse. I take issue with the name calling when Mr. Dailey calls the V-Tech shooter and the Arizona shooter “mentally ill”. I certainly don’t think either of these two suspects would be able to get off on an insanity defense. You are giving people labeled “mentally ill” a very bad name by linking them to these two very calculating mass murderers. That is a highly prejudicial thing to do. People should not be diagnosed by mass media any more than they should be tried and convicted by mass media. A part of the problem with our mental health system is that, unlike in the criminal justice system, where a person is innocent until proven guilty, a person is “sick” by pronouncement of a single “expert” in some cases, and usually never gets to a place where he or she is “diagnosed sane”. This trial by expert would apply to the “sane” diagnosis as well. This is to say that there are serious due process issues that have never been effectively dealt with in the civil commitment process.

As a former resident of Charlottesville, and a person very familiar with the University of Virginia, I’m not at all surprised that Mr. Dailey should think in such a fashion. There is not much sympathy for, nor human rights consciousness, as regards people labeled by the mental health/illness system at UVA. Richard Bonnie, a UVA Law Professor, founded the Institute of Law, Psychiatry, and Public Policy near the University Corner. This institute is mostly about linking people labeled “mentally ill” with criminal behavior. This same Richard Bonnie served as the appointed chairman of the VA Supreme Court’s Commission on Mental Health Reform. This commission was instrumental is making the laws in Virginia more restrictive than they had been in the recent past. A few counties in northern Virginia that allowed a few more civil liberties, and legal resources, for people in the mental health/illness system had to be brought back into line with the rest of the state. This, sadly to say, and as you should be able to see, represents a reverse rather than an advance for people enduring the mental health/illness system in that state.

Regarding Mr. Dailey’s comfortable belief in progress, and his glance back to conditions at the State Lunatic Asylum in Milledgeville Georgia in the 1840s. He should look more closely at more recent events. I think whatever abuses took place at Milledgeville in 1847 have to pale in comparison to those killings of people deemed “unfit to live” in NAZI Germany that were inspired by eugenic sterilizations taking place in institutions throughout the USA. I’d like him to note that the reason for these killings and sterilizations was laid on genes back then, too, and not on any “psychological weakness”.

Dealing With An Infestation of Disability Workers

The APA’s task force revising the DSM is not the only group of people debating the definition of “mental illness”. The Bemidji Pioneer, a Minnesota newspaper, has an article by the director of a local mental health day care facility expressing her own views on the subject. The article in question bears the headline, Here’s to you–What is good mental health? In it she poses the following question:

Can someone who has a mental illness have good mental health?

Can a contradiction in terms be anything other than a contradiction in terms!?

If, as some people conjecture, “mental illness” is only a matter of degree, perhaps mental health must be only a matter of degree, too. This is to say that maybe one person is 95 % mentally healthy while another person is 95 % nuts, and if the one who is 95 % nuts was able to get matters under control, he or she would be a good deal of a percentage less nuts. The person who is 95 % “stable” could, of course, always lose 90 % of it, and therefore things have a way of equalling themselves out.

This, unfortunately, is not the direction our director is going in.

Can someone with mental illness have good mental health? Absolutely! Many of the healthiest people I know have a diagnosed mental illness. They have learned how to manage mental illness so that it doesn’t dominate their lives, just as diabetes can be managed. These individuals know and recognize stress triggers. They take care of themselves on a daily basis with good nutrition, sleep, exercise, structure/activity, medications if needed, and relaxation/peaceful times/spiritual support. They have also developed a strong support system – pets, family, friends, neighbors, business associates, spiritual leaders, professionals – who can help when they feel overwhelmed. As a result, people who have learned to manage mental illness can live like anyone else with good mental health.

Question: what does a person with a “serious mental illness” label have that the rest of the population doesn’t have?

Answer: A diagnostic label
A psychiatrist
Bottles of pills
A pact team
A case worker
A staffed day care facility
SSI disability payments
Subsidized housing
Voc Rehab education opportunities
Discrimination and prejudice

The paternalistic nature of social rehabilitation, that is, current mental health treatment practices, is debilitating in and of itself. Imagine being more or less “fucked” by all these people who are making a decent living off your theoretical “infirmity”? It’s hard to lose a “disability” that puts bread and butter on the plates of so many “worthies“. How are they to survive? Do something real about the matter, and disappointment of disappointments, a lot of people would be forced to make career changes.

Same Old Story, New Wrapping Paper

Psychiatry has really geared up to resell itself to the public. This recent reselling involves designing a lot of research projects to support a few basic theoretical presumptions. This reselling is called a revolution, only it’s about as far away from any real revolution as you can possibly get. The reason for this reselling is merely to further discredit and taint any and all criticism of the status quo, the orthodoxy, with the suggestion of heresy.

Indicative of this reselling campaign is Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, issuing a call for “mental illnesses” to be treated as “brain diseases”. We understand why, for insurance purposes, a patient would have “mental illness” treated like a physical disease, but beyond that, the burden of proof should rest on the evidense of research. Making psychiatry mindless has the effect of making it brainless as well.

A recent article in The Economist reflects this reselling venture with all of its pseudo-scientific pretensions. That article is entitled, pretensiously enough, Psychiatric Diagnosis: Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis.

The aim is to help doctors offer patients the most appropriate treatment. But an important by-product will be that researchers working on the psychiatric drugs of the future will be able to test them in genetically engineered animal models that more closely resemble human reality. The importance of this was underlined by Eric Nestler of the Mount Sinai Medical Centre, in New York, and Steven Hyman of Harvard University in this month’s Nature Neuroscience, when they wrote that drug development for schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar disorder and autism “is at a near standstill”.

Frankenrat is seen as a positive development for the future. Knowing how Pavlov’s dog hasn’t really worked to benefit humankind so much, and if anything such experiments have worked to the detriment of our species, I have serious doubts that Frankenrat is going to prove very beneficial either.

If this drug doesn’t work, theory runs, maybe another drug will. The problem here is that nobody is suggesting that maybe this wonder drug won’t be found. Nobody who is doing the same old same old anyway.

When the danger of medicalization is hit upon, and when doctors are admonished to do no more harm, the article suggests two DSMs, one for the researcher, the psychiatric clergy, and another for the laity, the out and out dumb ass public. Go figure. How dumb do they think people actually are?

To overcome this, there have been suggestions in the past that the DSM should be divided into two: a scientific version, for use by researchers and psychiatrists, and a pragmatic version, for everyone else. Writing in the Psychiatric Times in August, Seyyed Nassir Ghaemi of Tufts University in Boston argued that this was not the answer. It would simply lead to the “gerrymandering” of definitions based on outdated and invalid knowledge.

Actually the science is not as sound as many in the psychiatry and neuroscience departments like to think it is. There would only be a pragmatic version because some psychiatrists don’t want people to see through their deceptions, and because they would like to underestimate and devalue the intelligense of the general public. Perhaps a Dummies Guide To The DSM would to do the trick. We’ve had Dummies Guides to various serious “mental illnesses” for some time now. These Dummies Guides have helped dumb down a lot of people.

The Economist article makes a feeble attempt to end on a comforting note.

In the end, says Dr [John] Krystal, the dichotomy between the valid and the useful may turn out to be a false one. The most commonly prescribed psychiatric drugs are effective for many diagnoses, precisely because those diagnoses have underlying features in common. In his view, society’s demands are not mutually exclusive. Doctors can continue to do no harm, while researchers brace themselves for exciting, and unsettling, times to come.

We’ve got a major problem here. This is bullshit. Doctors do much harm. You’d better brace yourself. They are going to do even more harm in the times ahead.

The Real Debate Is Raging In The Peanut Gallery

Sometimes comments can be more informative than the articles producing such responses. Take, for instance, the comments on this article on the controversy concerning a few of the more dubious diagnoses projected for the upcoming (2013) DSM-V, Mental health experts ask: Will anyone be normal?

The first comment, from itzajob, goes straight to the point.

More diagnoses equals more customers, er, patients

Mental health treatment is a business. The primary mental health treatment utilized today is drug maintenance. The mental health treatment business then is connected to the drug manufacturing business. Both of these businesses require more and more patient consumers for employment, profit, and prestige, not to mention, growth. Were the pool of potential patients to dwindle (something it is in no danger of doing at present), these businesses would lose in employment, profit, and prestige.

Mental health goals as a business run counter to the more health conscious and fiscially sound goals of preventing psychiatric disability and recovering people from psychiatric disability.

I am a college student. I have just finished my 3rd psychiatry course. This is NO JOKE! My last instructor is a Dr. She Warned the class that because of the insurance, she has to assign a mental disorder to everybody she treats; other-wise the insurance will not pay her for the therapy session.

Thus begins the comment offered by Busterboy.

I spoke too soon apparently. We’re talking mental health treatment business, drug manufacturing business, and health insurance company business. If you think these companies are interested in maintaining a person’s well being, I think you need to delve much deeper into the facts of the matter. These companies profit on “sickness”, and therefore, complete recovery for patients on a large scale would spell financial ruin for them.

Most people just need to grow up. Everybody wants to have an excuse these days. Our society is a lame one. Most ‘mentally’ ill people I’ve met or dealt with are just insecure people who need reassurance and a pat on the back. Try to figure out who you are and deal with it.

Habakak’s sentiments parallel my own.

scary-scary stuff.
if you ask people who have used drugs for a period of time and are still on them they will tend to say they needed them..then talk to the people who got off the drugs and they’ll advise you not to start in the first place. don’t people get sad, lonely, angry anymore? i wonder if people really achieve 24/7 happiness. drugs are dangerous and we have yet to see the LONG TERM effects

So says theonlywashup.

Right. Now that sadness, lonliness, and anger are diseases, you better watch yourself, and don’t get paranoid either.

The simple act of getting assistance to get over a rough patch in life could make one uninsurable and unemployable.

From the commentary made by CalGal this nugget comes.

You get the picture, but that’s Okay. The psychiatric disability field is growing by leaps and bounds. Now if only our government can manage to buy out a few more of these “psychiatrically disabled” people to speak for all those other psychiatrically disabled peoples out there, real improvements are being made, are they not!?