Psychiatric Myths Dispelled by Doctor – Fighting Antipsychiatry
Or How Antipsychiatry Groups are Wrong
If you’ve been reading my writings here at the Bipolar Burble for a while, you’ve probably gathered that I don’t like antipsychiatry groups. These groups are often under the “mad pride” flag or “psychiatric survivors” or people for “human rights” or people fighting psychiatric abuses. Often the language they use is solely designed to convince you that psychiatry is evil, psychiatry should be stopped, no one should take psychiatric medication and in many cases, psychology is also evil. Many antipsychiatry groups are sneaky. Antipsychiatry groups sounds reasonable on first glance but it’s only once you dig into them that you see how insidious they are.
I’ve tried to look into antipsychiatry groups to see if there’s something worth understanding but they have no evidence. Just ardent supporters that make wild claims without proof. And their tactics of cruel, personal, abusive attacks are not worth my time. It assures that their groups have no credibility whatsoever.
I Fight Antipsychiatry Groups
And sometimes I spend entire days fighting antipsychiatry people. Antipsychiatry shows up on the Bipolar Burble, antipsychiatry finds me on Twitter, antipsychiatry follows me to Facebook, antipsychiatry shows up on Breaking Bipolar. And these charming antipsychiatry folks, for whatever reason, read all about me and then use those personal details to ensure their personal attacked will be as nasty as possible.
Yes, antipsychiatry groups are ridiculous.
Who has Time to Scientifically Refute Every Cockamamie Antipsychiatry Argument?
I don’t have time to research every one of their outragous claims and make cogent counter-arguments. Because it’s endless. It can always be done but it’s more work than I have time for.
Myths About Psychiatry by Nada Logan Stotland M. D. – Huffington Post
Luckily for me and for you, Dr. Nada Logan Stotland M. D. has written the most amazing anti-antipsychiatry article I’ve ever read. (She doesn’t say she’s anti-antipsychiatry, but this piece is certainly a shot across the bow of antipsychiatry.)
Psychiatry Myths Dispelled by a Doctor
Aren’t mental health diagnoses randomly added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) and applied to individuals?
When deciding what to include in the DSM, “. . . specialists have to look at the evidence and then make judgments about the criteria for medical diagnoses. The difference between a benign tumor and a cancer is a matter of how many sick cells appear under the microscope. “
“Differentiating them [psychiatric disorders] from normal is no different than deciding what level of blood pressure is ‘hypertension,’ how many pounds add up to ‘obesity,’. . . A condition rises to the level of disease when it handicaps a person, is associated with bad outcomes, and/or can be treated — in psychiatry just as in the rest of medicine.”
We don’t understand mental illness the way we understand other illnesses.
“We all know that diabetes is caused by the failure of the pancreas to secrete normal amounts of insulin. But what causes that? We say it’s an autoimmune condition — the body attacks its own insulin-secreting cells. Why does that happen? We don’t know.”
And, of course, we treat diabetes in spite of this lack of knowledge just like we treat mental illness.
Psychiatry illnesses aren’t real, don’t exist, because there are no diagnostic tests for mental illness.
“The substrate, the physical location, of thought, mood, and behavior, is the brain. That’s not a part of the body we like to biopsy without an extremely good reason . . . Using brain scans, however, we now can distinguish between the brain of a person with depression and a person who is not depressed — and make many, many other such observations.”
This is something antipsychiatry groups bring up all the time. But as Dr. Stotland points out, we can distinguish depressed brains from non-depressed brains in a brain scan. In fact, there are many illnesses that show on brain scans (and sometimes blood tests) but it is early days and brain scans aren’t the kind of thing people can afford (or necessarily even get access to).
Don’t psychiatrists have a vested interest in making everyone “sick” so they can make more money?
“There is a shortage of psychiatrists. I don’t know any psychiatrists with time on their hands. Our incomes are at the lower end of the medical totem pole, along with family medicine and pediatrics . . .”
No one is saying they don’t make oodles of money, they do. But the notion they are not trying to help people and they are trying to create more patients is ludicrous. It takes months to see my psychiatrist because he’s so busy. He doesn’t need any more sick people. Not to mention the fact that in Canada, many profit motivation arguments just don’t hold a lot of water.
There is no science behind psychiatry.
“The New England Journal of Medicine some years ago published a paper demonstrating that far fewer than half the treatments used for cardiovascular diseases are supported by good scientific evidence. Psychiatric treatments work about as well as other medical treatments.”
I’m kind of shocked about cardiovascular disease, but if you think about it, they are in the same position. They are trying to save people’s lives, just like psychiatry is, in the best way they know how.
Please read Dr. Stotland’s full article.
The Motives of Doctors, Psychiatrists and Psychologists
And as many problems as I have with psychiatry, psychiatrists, doctors and psychiatric medication, I believe that psychiatrists are trying to help. They’re not always successful, but their motive is not evil and it’s not money – it’s making people better.
About Natasha Tracy
Natasha Tracy is an award-winning writer, speaker and consultant from the Pacific Northwest. She has been living with bipolar disorder for 18 years and has written more than 1000 articles on the subject.