Psychiatry claims to be both a science & a medicine. However it does not fit into either for a multitude of reasons.
Some psychiatrists have referred to the field's 'crises of legitimacy'. This is due to the fact that much of the research that forms the basis of psychiatry has been shown to not hold up. This is usually because of flawed trials and research – ones that did not followed the scientific method.
The field of psychiatry does not have a rigorous research base.
When science asks: 'do the drugs work?', it should mean this in a mechanistic way. That is, they should be able to prove that the 'biochemical imbalance' is fixed..... not just by change of behaviour, but by specific measurements. They cannot show this, so in that respect too it fails to be scientific.
While some patients claim the drugs 'work', they mean this in a very different way to science. They mean it made them feel better, and not in a scientific mechanistic way. It falls more into firm belief than it does into fact. For instance, many people believe homeopathy to work, it may do, but science has not proven this. It is anecdote alone.
Statistically, the psychiatric outcomes are worse today than they were before the epidemic of drug use.
The mechanism of the drugs have not been shown to work
A related topic is Psychiatry's statements regarding the brain. They have a 'brain is the mind' paradigm. They contend that it is a 'faulty' brain that causes unwanted behaviour, thoughts, or emotions. It is definitely true that brain damage effects perception, emotion, and behaviour, however, that does not mean the reverse is true. It does not follow from this that 'unwanted' behaviour, emotions, or perception show that a persons brain is damaged.
As part of it's shoddy research, psychiatry often shows that a person in a particular state of being ( e.g. depressed, psychotic, hearing voices), has a particular CAT scan. They then make bold generalising statements about these results that do not hold scientifically.
There are number of issues here, which are too lengthy for this article. However, the main problem is that statements do not logically follow. To say that at some point in time a person had a particular CAT scan, is not to say they always would have a similar CAT scan profile.
There is undoubtedly a relationship between the brain, and our being. However this is poorly understood. We cannot link neurons to thoughts and emotions in the way that Psychiatry suggests.
Psychiatry confuses brain with mind.
There is no evidence to prove that any emotional distress is genetic. Despite this some of psychiatry's practitioners claim the problems to be genetic – again without any known sequence. Compare to Downs Syndrome.
Psychiatry makes false claims about genetics
Reality is a complex scientific concept, which is poorly understood by physicists (the high priests of science). Yet psychiatrists often refer to patients “loosing contact with reality”, as if they know what reality is. If they said “lost contact with this reality”, instead, they may at least be more accurate. They would also be accidently giving validity to the realness of the alternate reality that people in psychotic states inhabit.
The reality is nobody knows reality!
For these reasons Psychiatry is unscientific.
One of the main tenets of medicine is “first do no harm”. The harm is usually not reported in the media, but it exists on a very large scale. Too much to go into here, but it includes severe side effects, and withdrawal symptoms. Patients are not made aware of these facts, especially with respect to the dangerous withdrawal symptoms. In extreme cases, sudden withdrawal of medicines have been linked to suicides and murders, and this is increasingly being recognized and studied. However the media generally report this as “mentally ill” person went mad, while neglecting the effect of withdrawal symptoms.
This links back to the shoddy research issues. Studies of withdrawal effects are needed. The media are as fooled by the drug companies as the rest of society is, and do not seem to want to look at this issue.
Psychiatry does serious harm!
Pronouncing somebody to be ill is usually done via the process of diagnosis.
Diagnosis should involve physical examination, and tests. In every other field of medicine this is the case. Yes, diagnosis involves judgement, but that is usually after tests of some description. Indeed tests are often carried out to confirm or deny a suspicion of a doctor.
In psychiatry there are no tests done on individuals. There are no measurements taken.
Their “diagnosis” is based purely on observing behaviour, and forming opinion based on someones actions. That is not the case for heart disease, or a broken leg!
So, if you are a good actor you can get whatever diagnosis you want! Go on, try it - I dare you!
Psychiatry takes no tests, and has no measurements.
Proper illnesses have a pathology. The usually have measurements associated with them which help in diagnosis. In contrast Psychiatry has the DSM labels. The DSM labels are, at best, a list of symptoms, but many argue they are a list of what it means to be Human.
These labels are voted into existence, which is not a scientific process at all! This is why they need to rely on behaviour, and verbal information to make their “diagnoses”. While some people like to receive a label (the “ah, I see!” factor), others find their label stigmatizing, and damaging. Many believe in their label and feel limited by it.
Psychiatric labels have no basis in science
The field of Medicine, is the 'science and art' of healing, but psychiatry's rate of 'success' is falling, not rising!
Traditionally their techniques have been violent. Increasingly, their victims have been challenging their methods, and that has led to change within psychiatry. The change is that they are in the process of stealing the clothes of other fields of study that have been opposed to them over the years.
These fields have never had the titles of science & medicine, but have nonetheless been found to be more beneficial.
Ironically, psychiatry is in an existential crises! This is precisely because it cannot live up to it's own science and medicine claims. More importantly it is because it does not heal, and causes much harm instead.
In fact, psychiatry does not really believe in recovery at all. It claims you can recover, but still have a lifelong illness. They appear to consider the illness to be an objective thing (despite knowing it technically is not), and recovery to be a subjective thing.
It neatly avoids the obvious questions that arise from this nonsense view point, such as: Does a patient have to first consider themselves ill before they can recover?
Their conflict with healing stems from the fact that there are no metrics (measurements) in psychiatric diagnoses. There is nothing objective to show you are ill. Once pronounced to be ill, there are equally, no metrics to show you are well. There is no objective illness to recover from in the first place (again, that is not to be taken as there being no problem, it just matters how you define the problem for science).
This is not the case with proper medicine. What a patient may feel about their Cancer is irrelevant to the doctor. The doctor has a specific technical way of telling whether or not it is fair to assume that they have recovered. There are specific criteria for determining if this may be the case, and if these criteria are not met, a doctor would not consider the patient recovered, even if the patient considered themselves to be so.
By purposefully mixing the objective and subjective, psychiatry are skillfully attempting to straddle the fence. What other field of medicine can you 'recover despite your illness'?
Psychiatry is not an art of healing, and does not believe in recover.
I think it's important to note too, that in Ireland, the “medical” specialty of Psychiatry does not have an Irish School of Psychiatry, as it's governing body. As far as I recall, it is the only specialty in Ireland that has a foreign body having responsibility for a medical specialty in Ireland. I'd like to know why that is! I hope and suspect it may be that psychiatry does not fit the correct criteria, and is include under the British governing body for historic reasons.
For these reasons Psychiatry is not medicine
For the reasons given above, psychiatry fails to be either scientific or medical. These standards are ones psychiatry sets for itself, but fails to live up to. Generally, people take psychiatry at face value and believe it's false claims of being scientific and medical. The effect of this is to give psychiatry a gravitas it absolutely does not deserve.
Despite all of the above information being in the public domain for a very long time, it is only now starting to come to light. This has been very much down to survivor movements of the past. Perhaps the lack of proper analysis has been due to the pandora's box effect, but science should be science, and medicine should be medicine..... or..... we could go back to sucking the badness out with leeches!
Psychiatry's co-conspirators, the drug companies, have done a great job in convincing people that the problems exist in a discrete and definable way. Phrases such as “seritonine” and “biochemical imbalance” have worked their way into the public lexicon. It has very skillfully tricked people into believing it's hocus pocus is science.
After all, there are billions of euros & dollars at stake.
It is important to note again, that the emotional problems people experience are very very real! Saying they are not illness, is not the same as saying that the problems do not exist. In a similar way that grief is not an illness (unless of course you accept psychiatry's DSM5 which says is! [See National Post , or Allen Frances' article] )
To come up with a set of solutions for a problem, you need to define it correctly. What we know is that the biological hypothesis has failed to prove any proper relationship between physicality and emotion or states of being , despite vast funding.
We know that psychiatric research and practices are very shoddy. Their diagnoses use no measurements, and their illness have no pathology, both of which are unique in medicine.
They have a history that is checkered with butchery and violence. Their victims include the “undead” - those with hugely reduced quality of lives, along with those that are physically dead. It is wrong to think that this is part of the 1960s and before, it is still occurring today. They make false claims about brain chemistry and genetics.... and now they are after the children!
It's well past the time we should be asking: “what if biology is a minor factor in emotional upset?”
To be classed as a science a field of study has to follow the scientific method.
The results of experiments in the field of study ought to be be both verifiable and repeatable. The results ought to have been acquired using the scientific method.
Scientific areas of study center around things that are definable and measurable.
Medicine is the science and art of healing.
While medicine does include forming of opinion (art), that opinion is usually formed around facts and measurements of some type (science).
One of the main principles of medicine is to “first do no harm”
“The foundation of diagnosis is always the information from the history and the physical examination, but often one or more diagnostic procedures, such as diagnostic tests, are also done during the process.” (wiki)
While not directly referenced much of the information above has been learned from attending the Critical Voices Network Ireland (CVNI) conferences at UCC, and from reading and watching videos of material created by Terry Lynch.
See CVNI'S Facebook page here.
UCC conference videos here.
Terry Lynch videos here
Mindfreedom Ireland held it's 10th anniversary conference in the Rochestown Hotel, Co. Cork, last Saturday, 28th of September 2013.. (See here for details)
One of the founders, Mary Maddock, invited me to talk at the conference. I was happy to do so, After doing so, I feel motivated again to continue to speak out against the harms of psychiatry. Mindfreedom Ireland has inspired me to not give up, and helped me realised that it is important to share my experiences, knowledge and views.
I guess I often forget that most people have not seen the inside of a locked ward, nor experienced the inner turmoil of madness.
It was the first talk I've given in relation to my own experiences, and I felt it went very well. The title of my talk was "Redefining Recovery Robs Us Of Our Success". In the coming days I hope to make the slideshow & notes available (just in case it is of interest). Mindfreedom filmed the day, so hopefully that will be made available too in the coming days.
I found the other speakers great. I'd like to watch them all again, as they had good links and angles on the subject.
Anyhow, this post is mainly to give a special thanks to Mary & Jim, and to the other board members of Mindfreedom Ireland. It was a very well run event, and I appreciated the chance to tell my story.
The trailer is well worth a watch, I haven't seen the film yet though