Sunday, May 12, 2013

Psychiatrists under fire in mental health battle

There is no scientific evidence that psychiatric diagnoses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are valid or useful, according to the leading body representing Britain's clinical psychologists.

In a groundbreaking move that has already prompted a fierce backlash from psychiatrists, the British Psychological Society's division of clinical psychology (DCP) will on Monday issue a statement declaring that, given the lack of evidence, it is time for a "paradigm shift" in how the issues of mental health are understood. The statement effectively casts doubt on psychiatry's predominantly biomedical model of mental distress – the idea that people are suffering from illnesses that are treatable by doctors using drugs. The DCP said its decision to speak out "reflects fundamental concerns about the development, personal impact and core assumptions of the (diagnosis) systems", used by psychiatry.

Dr Lucy Johnstone, a consultant clinical psychologist who helped draw up the DCP's statement, said it was unhelpful to see mental health issues as illnesses with biological causes.

"On the contrary, there is now overwhelming evidence that people break down as a result of a complex mix of social and psychological circumstances – bereavement and loss, poverty and discrimination, trauma and abuse," Johnstone said. The provocative statement by the DCP has been timed to come out shortly before the release of DSM-5, the fifth edition of the American Psychiatry Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

The manual has been attacked for expanding the range of mental health issues that are classified as disorders. For example, the fifth edition of the book, the first for two decades, will classify manifestations of grief, temper tantrums and worrying about physical ill-health as the mental illnesses of major depressive disorder, disruptive mood dysregulation disorder and somatic symptom disorder, respectively.

Some of the manual's omissions are just as controversial as the manual's inclusions. The term "Asperger's disorder" will not appear in the new manual, and instead its symptoms will come under the newly added "autism spectrum disorder".

The DSM is used in a number of countries to varying degrees. Britain uses an alternative manual, the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) published by the World Health Organisation, but the DSM is still hugely influential – and controversial.

The writer Oliver James, who trained as a clinical psychologist, welcomed the DCP's decision to speak out against psychiatric diagnosis and stressed the need to move away from a biomedical model of mental distress to one that examined societal and personal factors.

Writing in today's Observer, James declares: "We need fundamental changes in how our society is organised to give parents the best chance of meeting the needs of children and to prevent the amount of adult adversity."

But Professor Sir Simon Wessely, a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and chair of psychological medicine at King's College London, said it was wrong to suggest psychiatry was focused only on the biological causes of mental distress. And in an accompanying Observer article he defends the need to create classification systems for mental disorder.

"A classification system is like a map," Wessely explains. "And just as any map is only provisional, ready to be changed as the landscape changes, so does classification."


Unknown said...

wow... this is so brilliant i was on the edge of crying while reading, and a nice sync.

earlier today i was looking through wikipedia at celebrities with bi-polar disorder. i don't think i've got the language figured out to explain why in a lucid way, i was going off a feeling, but just with how broken everything is, being able to look at people who had/have a major impact on culture that were clinically diagnosed as 'broken' somehow explained things a little.

as if their depression/illness is somehow fed to the rest of us in subtle ways, their coping mechanisms that block them from experiencing the un-whole parts of their mind are adopted by others as 'ok' or 'the way things are' or something, do you know what i mean?

i don't mean that in a negative, condemning way though. there's something Jung said about enlightenment, that it's where you consciously understand the darkness within. and if people are too traumatized by their own darkness and 'coping' as if they can't get past it, what's that doing for the journey towards deep inner peace?

it's nice, and people feel better, but on the whole, it's like folk are just twiddling their thumbs hoping to keep the darkness at bay at any socially acceptable expense 'till they die, whilst others are raped/tortured/murdered/suicidal etc, or your post from the other day about medical marijuana gettin' the SWAT teams in, or sylvia browne being a cunt...

i could go on but i'll reign it in a little to hear what you're feeling too.

this quote especially filled me with hope (is hope a belief btw? :P)

"On the contrary, there is now overwhelming evidence that people break down as a result of a complex mix of social and psychological circumstances – bereavement and loss, poverty and discrimination, trauma and abuse,"

Dedroidify said...

I'm not sure I understand what you're asking buddy, could you clarify?

I just wanted to reply already that I don't regard hope as a belief but an attitude, and a good one of course.

I prefer this definition of belief in regards to the blog philosophy:
"Confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof."

I don't know if you saw my youtube message btw but thanks again for your support.

Unknown said...

i wasn't really asking anything in particular, just sharing some feelings i thought you might connect to.

did it come across as unfocused and a bit of a word salad? i've been having a hard time connecting my thought processes to words in a coherent way recently.

to try again in a shorter way, i've just found it interesting how many people are on TV and diagnosed with bi-polar and suchlike, or have a history of addiction, and I wonder if celebrities personal issues are absorbed by others/viewers in subtle ways.

it feeds a little into the idea that the best slaves are ones who don't realise they're slaves, or that people don't fight for a better reality because the one we have now is 'just the way things are' and can't be changed. they don't see that anything is missing.

if people are told they have an irreparable mental condition that they'll never fully heal from, and the best they can do is 'cope', it's just really shit. it forces people to accept negativity.

and how far does that idea go in people's heads? i have to accept my bi-polar nature, i have to accept that life will never be perfect, i have to accept the government is rubbish, i have to accept that SWAT teams arrest medical marijuana growers while criminal bankers go free etc etc.

feels like a subtle prison.

i hope this makes more sense...

yeah i got your youtube message and the comment from the post you deleted was in my email too. sorry i probably should of said something to let you know, i was glad we connected with the same energy.

Dedroidify said...

Haha yeah but I like word salad! It's very healthy. I agree, and I don't think that manual was created with the best of intentions especially since they like to push their legal drugs so much and the effects they have.

While some people definitely look at it this way, I refuse to accept any psychological condition is irreparable, neurolinguistic programming is one way of reprogramming one's self to get rid of a lot of those conditions, it really can be that simple. Unfortunately the mind has a way of settling for what they think is their lot in life and just cope with something instead of breaking through it.

Well thanks again for that, along with some other helpful friends your comments ensured I got started on the second one at all which really meant a lot. Unfortunately I've got some bad news, I really am not liking recording them or hearing my own voice reading my poor writing. I realized I don't have the confidence to put myself out there like that, I had to stop while attempting to record the second one. So I will be expressing myself in just text. The first part of the second one will be posted tomorrow. As long as it gets out there.

Anonymous said...

Psychiatry is one of BIG PHARMA'S most lucrative income-streams. Get ready for the return-volley. :-/

The Rosenhan experiment:

Unknown said...

" I refuse to accept any psychological condition is irreparable"

exactly how i feel too, man i've got so much passion for that notion. the way some people talk about folk being 'bad' or 'beyond help' etc really gets to me and i'm constantly trying to figure out why some think like that. something to do with avoiding pain i'm sure.

i guess doing the podcast's up to you, i'd love if you kept it going but if you're not feeling it you're not feeling it. maybe in time?

i know i don't comment often but i check everything you put up and your flood of posts have been beastin' recently btw, your anger mirrors my own.

the only way out is through...

Dedroidify said...

Yeah maybe in time, I want to be doing more about spreading awareness about model agnosticism etc but not sure how to go about it yet. Giving a content makeover will be the first step I think, most of it was put there years ago.

I think to re-launch the podcast I'd need to spend a lot more time on them and maybe get some help as I felt it came across very amateuristic to myself even.

Thanks again