Tag Archives: psychiatry

The Rise Of Psychiatry Has Augmented The Rise Of Madness Through Medicalization

When psychiatry is ‘curing’ the deviants of society and is invested in the restoration of normality.

It’s been a long while since I’ve last written, I’m not exactly sure why. Maybe, just maybe it’s because I’m not feeling too high or too low, the lows always lasting longer than the highs. Psychiatry has been playing on my mind lately, pills and potions; we’re overdosing, sick, sick, sick, I hear them say it. The pills fail to fill the void, has the void always been there or are the pills’ telling me that something needs to be fixed.

I was never meant to fix myself, the bruises on my thighs are like my fingertips, eerily matching the darkness that I feel. The darkness is like beautiful cherry blossoms that are always about to bloom, they are always so pretty, but they are always gone too soon. 

An attack on psychiatry: The original rise of asylums has allowed the confinement of madness to be ‘treated’, reclassifying a non-medical problem as a medical problem. Medicalization is the defining of non-medical problems in medical terms, usually as an illness or disorder, and usually with the implication that a medical intervention or treatment is appropriate (Zola, 1972). Medicalization leads to “normal” human behaviour and experience being “re-badged” as medical conditions. Rebadging “deviance” as a series of medical disorders, the engines driving medicalization have been identified as biotechnology (especially the pharmaceutical industry and genetics), consumers, and managed care. The hubris of psychiatry, believing originally that they could cure all psychological problems with psychoanalysis, psychiatry still failing to improve the average levels of happiness and well-being in the general population. Psychiatry is able to pump out psychotropic drugs, not save mankind, attempting to alleviate our ‘age of disenchantment’.

We are treated, analysed and regulated scientifically, living by a manual which fails to understand the sociological impacts and failings of society. Have we potentially been manufacturing our own madness? Postmodern psychiatry seems to have become a tailor-made diagnosis for an age of disenchantment. Are these psychiatrists potentially manufacturing madness? Is the medicalisation of madness reducing creativity, the creative aspects of people commonly misinterpreted as deviants? Centuries of creative people from all modalities have suffered from mental illnesses, resisting treatments which could potentially ease their conditions, fearing that it could cloud or alter their mind, drugging them into submission, proceeding to quash their inner creative impulses.

Edvard Munch: “I want to keep my sufferings. They are part of me and my art.”

Van Gogh: “Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence, whether much that is glorious, whether all that is profound, does not spring from disease of thought, from moods of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect.”

Psychologist Maureen Neihart: associates the shared characteristics amongst creative production and mental illness, which include mood disturbance, a tolerance for irrationality, greater openness to sensory stimuli, restlessness, speed of thinking, and obsessiveness of thought.

Marcel Proust: “everything great in the world is created by neurotics;”

Seneca quoted Aristotle as having said, “No great genius was without a mixture of insanity.”

Many psychologists believe that artists use their work to heal and soothe their minds. But if drugs heal artist’s minds for them, is their work still needed, or would it even be produced, would their work even be needed? I always found that my over-sensitive and stimulated mind would always find so much more beauty in the world, glimpsing the magical and maniacal way of being present. Sometimes the pills keep me from spiralling into the abyss of the rabbit hole, the terror, but also the creative language which comes from seeing both sides, the place that is sometimes so warm and comforting but at the same time cold and hard. We’re definitely a pill popping society, whether it be vitamins or hard core anti-psychotic sedatives (Haloperidol…I’m talking about you, you’re such an exhausting and all-consuming prick). I’m not writing off psychiatry as a professional form of medicine, I just believe that they are infested with conflicts of interest, most commonly the extensive influence of the pharmaceutical industries over modern medicine.

End note: I do not mean the use of the word “madness” to be taken in any offensive way; it is used in the same way that sociology and psychology have referenced it in academic journals.

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Playing Devil’s Advocate With Key Religious Figures And Mental Illness Correlations.

Disclaimer: Not my own thoughts, the research is from the Journal of Neuropsychiatry – The Role of Psychotic Disorders in Religious History Considered. This blog entry is me playing devil’s advocate to provoke debate; I’m not in any way trying to undermine a person’s religious beliefs, simply trying to encourage discourse underlying subconscious preconceptions of mental illness within religion.  


Thoughts to be considered before reading:
-Why would it be so bad if the inspirational figures in religious history experienced mental illness?
-Why do we subconsciously reject the thought that God wouldn’t work through people who have mental illnesses?
-Does being mentally ill make you exempt from God’s work and unable to meaningfully participate in worship when one in four people have been statistically proven to suffer from mental illness at some point in their lives.

The awkward moment when it becomes plausible that Jesus suffered from Schizophrenia (Just to clarify: this wouldn’t in anyway take away from his religious position, history and achievements).

A study was conducted by psychiatrists when they were presented with a concept by a paranoid schizophrenic patient, who claimed that he could read minds and was selected by God to provide guidance for mankind. The patient refused to take the medication because they stopped the voices, presenting his doctors with the question: “How do you know the voices aren’t real…How do you know I am not The Messiah…God and angels talked to people in the Bible”. The patient raised interesting questions, how does one distinguish between people with mental health disorders and those of religious figures in history?

One of the examples the doctors used in their journal article was Jesus, by examining passages within the bible they located specific areas that presented symptoms of mental illness:
Paranoid-type (PS subtype) thought content: Matthew 10:34–39, 16: 21–23, 24:4–27; Mark 13:5–6; Luke 10:19; John 3:18; John 14:6–11

Auditory and visual hallucinations: Matthew 3:16–17, 4:3–11; Luke 10:18; John 6:46, 8:26, 8:38–40, 12:28–29

Referential thought processes: Mark 4:38–40 (Figure 3); Luke 18:31

Within the New Testament Jesus exhibits behaviours that closely resemble the DSM-IV-TR– Auditory hallucinations, Visual Hallucinations, delusions, referential thinking, paranoid-type, (PS subtype) thought content, and hyper-religiosity. Through the text Jesus also displays signs of disorganization, negative psychiatric symptoms, cognitive impairment, or debilitating mood disorder symptoms. The article poses the question about whether starvation and metabolic derangements caused some of the behaviours as Jesus experienced hallucinatory-like visions whilst he fasted for 40days in the desert (Luke 4:1–13).

Jesus’ experiences appear to have occurred over the course of at least the year before his death. There is a notable lack of physical maladies which suggest psychiatric aetiologies as more plausible. There is a 5%–10% lifetime risk of suicide in persons with schizophrenia.  Suicide is defined as a self-inflicted death that has intention to end one’s life. The New Testament recounts that Jesus was aware that people intended to kill him.  Jesus took the steps to ensure that his followers were aware that his death was necessary for his return (Matthew 16:21–28; Mark 8:31; John 16:16–28). These passages appear to present Jesus to deliberately place himself in a situation wherein he anticipated his execution. Schizophrenia is often associated with increased risk of suicide.

There is a term called ‘suicide-by-proxy’, any incident whereby a suicidal individual causes their own death to be carried out by another person.  Jesus’ behaviour before his death has parallels with someone who premeditates a form of suicide-by-proxy. In the passage Mark 3: 21: Jesus was on occasion viewed as mad or “beside himself.” People from Jesus’ hometown and the religious authorities of the day also did not accept his message. Subsets of individuals who have psychotic symptoms appear to be able to form intense social bonds and communities, despite having distorted views of reality. The study analysed the religious figures from a behavioural, neurologic, and neuropsychiatric perspective. The research indicates that the experiences of the individuals coincide with psychotic symptoms, suggesting that manifestations of their experiences had a primary or mood disorder-associated psychotic disorder basis.

The_God_Delusion_by_BlackMagic26

A main goal of this research was to evaluate the influence of individuals with mental illness and their effects on shaping the Western civilization, hoping that the findings will help to increase compassion and understanding in relation to mental illness. Within the research it should be noted that they did use explicit passages from the bible, but each passage should be examined in its own context. It is generally acknowledged that biblical scholars are not unanimous about the literality of the scriptures nor are psychiatrists completely unanimous about the DSM (basically the bible of psychiatry). The research conducted a form of psychological profiling by people that aren’t saddled with the preconceived notions and biases that encumber those that have studied their field in depth, allowing a fresh take on ideas that have been overanalysed by people in the same area of study.

Only by joining multiple areas of study can any true concept of history be interpreted, attempting to remove the elitist theories that dominate popular thought. It needs to also be acknowledged that historians aren’t the sole area of study that can interpret history, other fields of study have valuable insights that historians can lack.  The article didn’t stipulate and designate that religion was the cause for psychological symptoms, neither did it go into the scientific explanation, but it still needs to be acknowledged that religion does play a dominating role for some psychoses, especially with delusions. Does the motivating factor of religion in mental illness make it a definable feature??

I’m increasingly intrigued by the article when it encourages speculation on our inability to disprove that a person who is schizophrenic is a mouthpiece of God or is suffering from psychoses. The opposing opinions from both sides need to be taken into consideration; biases from long term studies ultimately detract from the viability of the research. The study showed the correlations that religious historical figures had with the current DSM, they acknowledged their limitations, like either psychological or biblical should do, my main question is this: why would it be wrong if they had suffered from a mental illness, it doesn’t detract from their accomplishments or their religious foundations, each person’s beliefs will always be grounded, who’s to say that God didn’t use psychoses to achieve his end.

I didn’t want to post this all week, didn’t want to ruffle anyone’s feathers. I came across this article, it really interested me, I understand its controversial, I am in no way promoting and detracting from either side and hope my post won’t be interpreted as such. Thank you.

Author and Article Information

From the Dept. of Neurology, McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Belmont, MA (EDM, BHP); Dept. of Psychiatry, McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Belmont, MA (MGC); Dept. of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Belmont, MA (EDM, BHP).

Murray, E., Cunningham, M. and Price, B. (2012). The Role of Psychotic Disorders in Religious History Considered. JNP, 24(4), pp.410-426.

Setting The Fox to Guard The Hen House. The Blind Leading The Blind. Psychiatry’s Grand Confession.

I don’t understand how I’m so late to this uptake.

Psychiatric drugs are now a commodity, consumers passively learning to live with and in many instances enjoy. Discovered by accident and lacking an explanation in relation to why they worked. Initially it appeared that psychiatry had found magical pills which ‘fixed’ depression. Doctors attributed the success of psychiatric drugs to chemical imbalances in their patient’s brains which were fixed as a result. Friedman told Times readers, “just because an S.S.R.I. antidepressant increases serotonin in the brain and improves mood, that does not mean that serotonin deficiency is the cause of the disease”.

I now see my psychiatrist as my state-licenced drug dealer. Specialising in ‘mood-altering’ drugs just like street dealers. “Irving Kirsch’s meta‑analysis of antidepressant trials revealed as being just as efficacious as the SSRIs was … heroin”. The chemical imbalance theory is a sham; used merely to reassure people.  No test result can demonstrate that your brain has a chemical imbalance. The pharmaceutical companies appear to have no idea how exactly their psychiatric drugs work, with no confirmable tests that there is a chemical imbalance.

I have always said that psychiatry and psychology were areas of grey, I misunderstood that our complete diagnosis was based on theories and not concrete scientific data. We are medicated based on our symptoms and the current DSM.  I feel violated by the advertisements, a victim of marketing programs, nicely hiding their lack of knowledge about why their treatments work. I’ve been actively sold repeatedly by the psychiatry industry on the concept that bipolar disorder was a chemical imbalance.

Ronald Pies’ article in Psychiatric Times “Psychiatry’s New Brain-Mind and the Legend of the Chemical Imbalance” acknowledges that the chemical imbalance theory is falsified, merely promoted by pharmaceutical companies even though the psychiatry community were aware that this theory was incorrect. Many patients are given the rationale that the illness is based off a chemical imbalance. The concept of chemical imbalance is definitely last-century thinking, low serotonin levels aren’t likely to cause depression as a study has shown that a normal person depleted on serotonin doesn’t become depressed, maybe an abnormality in the serotonin system instead.

Psychiatry has failed to debunk the chemical imbalance hypothesis which misled public opinion. We have been collectively labelled bipolar, restricted to categorisations and a diagnosed ‘box’ of people with a variety of different aetiologies, believing us to be all the same. It’s becoming an over-common diagnosis; the frequency of both legal and illicit drugs playing a vital role in facilitating mania and the diagnostic criteria for a bipolar diagnosis which has expanded with each new DSM.

I’m going to begin the road to un-diagnose myself, believing that I suffered from Iatrogenesis in relation to drug-induced hypomania. My hypomania was a reaction from anti-depressants, I am aware of the counter argument that I was still hypomanic after the medication had completely left my system, but I still believe there is a point to be argued. I’m going to conduct a new search for holistic well-being and medication free approaches.

FEB 2015 update: A holistic approach has currently failed,  send reinforcements.

Is Early Onset Bipolar Disorder a Myth?

I’ve always been curious about a child’s ability to exhibit all the required symptoms of Bipolar to meet the criteria. The other possibility involves the symptoms developing over time to eventuate into Bipolar disorder with the component of environmental factors and the individual traits of the child. My own personal example is severe childhood insomnia and anxiety, aided by my genetic predisposition to the disorder (biological father had BP1). I then question whether the insomnia was merely a symptom that demonstrated that Bipolar disorder was present during my childhood but in varying degrees. As a child I was a very clean individual that would cry at people not washing their hands or leaving a mess, I would also go into a ‘seek mode’ to find particular objects with an obsessive stubbornness that didn’t abate until I had found what I had been searching for, during these times I would also have head and neck aching pain – which was a generalised discomfort or pressure in those areas. Looking back at these times as an adult they highly correspond to my symptoms I currently exhibit during an episode of hypomania.

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The psychiatrist who wrote this abstract (40years experience in clinical child psychiatry) believes that prepubescent Bipolar disorder is a misdiagnosis, ascertaining that the children diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder are predominantly based on violent outbursts which are produced by chaotic home life (Kaplin, 2011). The critique by Stuart Kaplin promotes the argument that there is no conclusive biological test for any psychiatric diagnosis. Kaplin further argues that paediatric Bipolar Disorder doesn’t even meet the DSM-IV criteria, stating that children don’t exhibit the appropriate levels of mania and depression that define Bipolar Disorder, bipolar is characterised by extreme contrasting mood poles. Kaplin does recognise that the DSM-IV largely ignores different symptoms that should be based on age and their psychological development, instead the DSM-IV takes a simplistic approach to all ages of development and has one set of criteria, a very ‘one size fits all’ approach.

Children that are diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder don’t seem to display the clear-cut episodes that the disorder is primarily based on. Etiology of psychiatry is always based on the psychiatrist’s perception of the symptoms, presenting ambiguous diagnoses based on areas of ‘grey’ within science. Children that are diagnosed with Bipolar disorder additionally display constant symptoms, episodes not deviating from their usual behaviour. Even with children meeting the manic criteria through their irritable mood, the irritable mood usually isn’t from a distinct period of time, not different from their normal functioning. Children displaying bipolar-like symptoms can also be categorised under a series of other disorders, fitting each accordingly. If a child also exhibits grandiose behaviour or euphoria it can also be attributed to the ability for the majority of children to present ‘grandiose’ orientated behaviour through their games and high imaginative ability.

Overall no objective science can adequately diagnose children to have early onset Bipolar disorder even if they have some symptom indicators, usually in my opinion it’s the environment factors that enhance the childhood symptoms to further develop into the classic Bipolar Disorder standards that are recognised by the DSM-IV.

This is just my opinion. 🙂