The Myth of Mental Illness

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Walker
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The Myth of Mental Illness

Post by Walker »

The Myth of Mental Illness: Foundations of a Theory of Personal Conduct is a 1961 book by the psychiatrist Thomas Szasz, in which the author criticizes psychiatry and argues against the concept of mental illness. It received much publicity, and has become a classic, well known as an argument that "mentally ill" is a label which psychiatrists have used against people "disabled by living" rather than truly having a disease.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Myth_ ... al_Illness
Iwannaplato
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Re: The Myth of Mental Illness

Post by Iwannaplato »

To run in related parallel, we are starting to see general acknowledgement that the chemical imbalance leads to mental health issues myth is, well, a myth.
https://slate.com/technology/2022/08/ss ... ssion.html
https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/view/d ... yths-again
And it is no coincidence that this 'theory' fits nicely with pharmcological solutions to people's problems or apparant problems.
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Sculptor
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Re: The Myth of Mental Illness

Post by Sculptor »

Iwannaplato wrote: Mon Jan 16, 2023 5:13 pm To run in related parallel, we are starting to see general acknowledgement that the chemical imbalance leads to mental health issues myth is, well, a myth.
But this is part of the problem.
Where do you start with all this?

People whose lives are damaged by modern living, by dysfunctional families, by trauma; get a chemical imbalance. THe chemical imbalance is not the start. not the be-all and end-all of a mental health crisis.

If you stick an ordinary person in prison and keep the lights on and play them Grunge Rock at full volume 24/7 they are going to acquire a chemical imbalance. No doubt. This chemical imbalance may well be the expression of problems.

When the neurochemist is asked to examine the brain chemistry of a "mentally ill" person, what would you expect him to find?? - a difference in brain chemistry as compared with other people that he is going to call "a chemical "imbalance".

This does not mean that the chemical imbalance is a cause. Nor does it mean that it will (in your words) "lead to mental health issues" IIt seems to be more accurate to say that in many cases of mental health issues there is a correlation with changes in brain chemistry.

Altering the chemistry with drugs is not going to simply restore "normality".

Nonetheless, there are serious and real mental health problems that might be triggered by life, but cannot explain them. Schizophrenia is a very real problem which comes with difficulties in certain types of cognition, in which the sufferer is incapable of certain types of discrimination we all take for granted. THis leads to the most bizarre types of pattern recognition which are blown completely out of proportion leading to paranoia and other serious delusions with high levels of complexity hard to unpack with CBT or other talking therapies.
Iwannaplato
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Re: The Myth of Mental Illness

Post by Iwannaplato »

Sculptor wrote: Mon Jan 16, 2023 6:00 pm But this is part of the problem.
Where do you start with all this?

People whose lives are damaged by modern living, by dysfunctional families, by trauma; get a chemical imbalance. THe chemical imbalance is not the start. not the be-all and end-all of a mental health crisis.
Part of what they have found is that it simply was not correct that depressed people, for example, had a chemical imbalance.

Don't take my post as saying no one should get certain medications. But this was a PR campaign by pharmaceutical companies that was part of overuse of anti-depressants amongst other drugs.

You have a chemical imbalance so chemicals are the right treatment.

And just like the whole statins issue, alternatives were considered alternative.
Nonetheless, there are serious and real mental health problems that might be triggered by life, but cannot explain them. Schizophrenia is a very real problem which comes with difficulties in certain types of cognition, in which the sufferer is incapable of certain types of discrimination we all take for granted. THis leads to the most bizarre types of pattern recognition which are blown completely out of proportion leading to paranoia and other serious delusions with high levels of complexity hard to unpack with CBT or other talking therapies.
Sure, and I think the patterns that get batched under the name of schizophrenia can be improved in many cases with drugs.

But schizophrenia 0.72 % is rare compared to the diagnoses of anxiety disorders, which they tell us 31% of americans will get at some point and depression 8.1%.

This discussion needs to be had without the harshest diagnosis coming immediately out as a counterexample. If I or Walker say that drugs should never be used or that schizophrenia is just a different way of seeing things, then we can deal with this kind of example.

We've had a long pathologization of emotions and large swathes of the country is diagnosible.

There are all sorts of studes that show that people get better from almost everything if they can spend time in nature, sleep better, have meaninful work and exercise more. Social connections also.

A great book on this is Lost Connections
https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Connections ... 136&sr=8-1

There are people who have been cured from schizophrenia using alternative methods. I have no idea what percentage could be and we probably will not find out given how beholden media are to the pharmaceutical companies. IOW we won't get a great sample size. But I know a few people personally who managed to avoid a lifetime of medication. Perhaps most do need that. But we do not live in a society, yet anyway, where such a thing can easily be looked into.

And yes, if there is a chemical imbalance, in those cases where there are, perhaps a drug solution is necessary part of the solution. Perhaps not. But it's not a coincidence that this was given so much play for so many years. Because it sounds like this person has a physiological problem like one might have diabetes, which is also, one could argue, a chemical imbalance. But one may well have a purely genetic origin, with little environmental factors, and nearly no options (diabetes 1). The cause in the other being possibly a mix of a wide range of things.

And we know pharma twists its results.

Did you know that only the most severely depressed patients do better on anti-depressants than placebo?

The research results that showed this should have led to core practice changes in psychiatry. But they did not.

Pharma wants people medicated. The public wants magic bullets.

Which ends up being that we are medicating people to make them get along in a society that they may not fit well. Instead of seeing if we can modify their lives and make society one in which most people thrive.

We are cutting off an incredibly important feedback about our individual lives and our collective lives.

It's like giving pain killers to people who have been in car accidents and not giving many of them x rays.

In the car accident we know that as a society we need to try to prevent accidents - driving under the influence laws, road laws, tickets - prevent severity of accidents (seat belts, better car structure, speed limits). We just assume that the car accident is a factor in the pain people have after them. With mental health, there is a jump to the pain killer in an unprecidented way.
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Sculptor
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Re: The Myth of Mental Illness

Post by Sculptor »

Iwannaplato wrote: Mon Jan 16, 2023 8:23 pm
You have a chemical imbalance so chemicals are the right treatment.
This is complete bollocks.

The problem is not the chemical imbalance it is the series of life problems that led to the chemical imbalance.
It's a total mirage.

People who lose their job, or get a job that does not suit them end up getting depressed. It is an absurd idea that you just chemically alter the brain to change your life.
WHat you need is to understand why you are feeling down and work on your life situation. Because one thing is for sure NO ONE, and I mean no one as a deficiency prozac, or metzoprime.
These are artificial substance that have no business being in the human body.

The chemical imbalance is not the problem, it is nothing more than a measure of the problem.

Drug companies want to sell drugs so they sell the idea of a chemical imbalance.
They even have teams of people working out how to (what they call) "export the category".
No one in the Indian sub continent had "depression", until drug companies exported to notion to middle class women. Who fell over themselves to outcompete their neighbours to who will get the first prescription.

You have swallowed the myth of Pharma: a pill for every ill.
Type2Diabetes can be "managed" with Metformin, a drug that mimics insulin. It forces serum glucose into the tissues. But the problem with T2D is too much insulin and insulin resistance.
Metformin is a way of attacking a symptom, in much the same way as attacking a chemical imbalance.
BUT.
If you want to be cured of T2D all you have to do is adopt a more natural low carb diet, this is a complete cure.
Metformin just makes you dependant, you need more and more for the same effect, and you are just delaying the problem.
This is exactly what diazepam, prozac and other antidepressants do.

I agree that schizophrenia is a more profound problem but the most common mental health problems are directly associated with actual things that happen in your life. THese are better addressed by relaxing with friends and sharing your problems. Going for a walk in the country. Hugging your dog.
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