Thursday, October 2, 2008

Psychiatry as a psuedo-science

Many people see their local GP because they feel ‘low’ or ‘depressed’. They are, in many cases prescribed medication to alleviate a “mental illness”. This is unfortunate in every way, firstly, because the patient is obviously unhappy and secondly, because medication is usually thought necessary. In many cases there is nothing physically wrong with them; the symptoms often arise from a break down in a domestic relationship, or from a toxic ‘relationship’ at work – bullying, or abuse and unpleasantness of some kind – a general unhappiness.

Emotional upsets and pressures can have quite serious effects on us physically. Stress has proven effects on blood pressure, is a cause of hypertension and can bring on some headaches, none of which is good for the heart. Then there is the sometimes subtle reaction of the mind (notice that I do not use the word ‘brain’). The mind will often attempt to ‘retreat’ from unpleasant life circumstances. It will do so in the only way it can, by going to a place of refuge and shutting off the ‘hurt’. This can manifest in many ways – as ‘depression’, as apparently delusional thoughts or neurotic behaviour. Given the emotional stress that many of us experience on a daily basis, and the fact that we all react in our own unique ways to such stressors, how can any ‘expert’ (in the guise of a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist) determine – from checking the apparent symptoms, based on self reported experiences and observed behaviour, against criteria listed in a book (the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-IV-TR), that a ‘mental illness’ is the cause? Then to prescribe drugs to ‘cure’ the alleged condition! Is such a diagnosis and treatment ethical or morally defensible? This is pseudo-science.

Given that, as I said before, we each of us react in our own different ways to emotional stress and trauma, who is to judge what is normal? And then, based on what is read from a book, to make an enormous leap and assume that the causes are biological! This defies belief.

Now read this carefully – there is no biological test, blood test, ECG, scan, or any other test that will prove that you are ‘depressed’, are suffering from ‘schizophrenia’ or ‘bi-polar disease’, and no drug can ‘cure’ these so called ‘mental illnesses’.

Then there are those who say ‘mental illness’ is in the genes. Codswallop! A gene is not ‘self emergent’, i.e. it cannot activate itself (a gene is a switch, which means it needs a trigger to turn it ‘on’ or ‘off’). The only thing that can possibly activate a gene is something external, or something ingested (generally a poison - alcohol, or drugs, or radioactive material) or as a reaction to something seen, heard or experienced – in other words, a deeply felt emotion.

Remember that all life is bound to individual forms which realize it in their own way. In fact life is inconceivable without them. But every life form is charged with an individual destiny and destination, and the realization of these alone makes sense of life.

All that anyone who finds themselves ‘diagnosed’ with any alleged ‘mental illness’ really needs is lots of tender loving care, someone to listen to them in a non-judgemental way, emotional support and some useful life skills to give them the confidence to face life’s tribulations. This may be from psychotherapy, counselling or coaching – not drugs.

I defy any anyone to prove scientifically, that there is a biologically based condition known as ‘mental illness’ (apart from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, epilepsy, brain tumours or multiple sclerosis) – and that drugs are proven to be a better ‘cure’ than therapy. This proof will have to be from an ethically conducted independent study, not financed or instigated by any pharmaceutical company, and which can be scientifically replicated. This study will also need to include the results from any ‘placebo’ effect.

Go on – I dare you!!


Brock Atkinson said...

But what about those people who don't have access to tender love and care? Is it the doctor's job to ask them how their day has been, give them a bit of a cuddle and have a cup of coffee with them?

Not trying to criticize, but there are circumstances where external drugs are much easier to relieve stress more effectively. Of course people can just stop stressing so much (I'm pointing at you, Capitalism!).

Andrewlifecoach said...

Hi Brock, Thanks for your comment. Maybe doctors should spend more time with 'mental' patients! They are not sick - just not coping too well with their world. Drugs are BAD for people diagnosed as having a 'mental illness'. The side effects are often worse than the patients original complaint. I agree about the stress part, but solve THAT problem don't create a new one with drugs.

Brock Atkinson said...

It all depends how 'mental sicknesses' are created. Fixing them with drugs are, I agree, not the greatest thing to do. It acts more like the defibulators, in that it 'shocks' it back into efficiency for a limited amount of time.

I believe that we should start attacking the 'core', by using technologies to repair damaged brain tissue (or whatever it is caused by), instead of simply jolting it back into working order, fix the original problem.

But then again, I'm not into neuroscience, so I have no clue about how mental illness is actually caused (though I believe a lot of 'experts' have no idea either).