freakoutcrazy

Blog des AK Psychiatriekritik der NFJ Berlin

Kategorie: Diagnosen

NIMH Funding Changes Threaten Psychotherapy Research

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is increasingly shifting its research emphasis toward attempting to uncover biomarkers for “mental diseases,” which may have dramatic consequences for research and training in clinical psychology. In an article to be published in next month’s Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, Marvin Goldfried outlines how the shift in funding priorities for psychological research is tied to the needs of pharmaceutical companies and the biological model in psychiatry.

For nearly thirty years the NIMH has largely funded psychological research that utilized randomized control trials (RCTs) and tested “disorders” identified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Because the diagnostic categories listed in the DSM merely describe symptoms, this line of research rested on an “essentially weak empirical foundation.”

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More on the Chemical Imbalance Theory

On October 23, 2015, Jeffrey Lacasse, PhD, and Jonathon Leo, PhD, published an interesting article on Florida State University’s DigiNole Commons.  The title is Antidepressants and the Chemical Imbalance Theory of Depression: A Reflection and Update on the Discourse.  Dr. Lacasse is assistant professor in the College of Social Work at Florida State University; Dr. Leo is Chair of Anatomy and Professor of Neuroanatomy at Lincoln Memorial University.  The article was originally published in the Behavior Therapist in the October 2015 issue, pages 206-213.

The article provides a concise overview of the chemical imbalance theory from its inception, through its vigorous promotion by pharma-psychiatry, to its present reduced, but not quite dead, state.

Here are some quotes from the article, interspersed with my comments:

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The Spurious Chemical Imbalance Theory is Still Alive and Well

On April 5, 2015, Scott Alexander, MD, a trainee psychiatrist, posted an article titled Chemical Imbalance on his website Slate Star Codex.  (The writer tells us that Scott Alexander is a blog handle and not his real name, but for convenience, I will refer to him as Dr. Alexander.)

Dr. Alexander begins by noting that there have been a number of articles recently that have criticized psychiatry for „botching the ‚chemical imbalance‘ theory.“

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Allen Frances and the Spurious Medicalization of Everyday Problems

On April 5, Allen Frances MD, published an article on the Huffington Post blog.  The title is Can We Replace Misleading Terms Like ‚Mental Illness,‘ ‚Patient,‘ and ‚Schizophrenia‘  It’s an interesting piece, and it raises some fundamental issues.

Here are some quotes from the article, interspersed with my comments.

„Those of us who worked on DSM IV learned first-hand and painfully the limitations of the written word and how it can be tortured and twisted in damaging daily usage, especially when there is a profit to be had.“

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Why Is There An Anti-psychiatry Movement?

On February 18, the eminent psychiatrist Jeffrey Lieberman, MD, former President of the APA, published a video and transcript on Medscape.  The article was titled What Does the New York Times Have Against Psychiatry?, and was essentially a fatuous diatribe against Tanya Lurhmann, PhD, a Stanford anthropologist, who had written for the New York Times an op-ed article that was mildly critical of psychiatry.  The essence of Dr. Lieberman’s rebuttal was that an anthropologist had no business expressing any criticism of psychiatry, and he extended his denunciation to the editors of the NY Times.

„Why would such a report be printed in a widely respected publication such as the New York Times? What other medical specialty would be asked to endure an anthropologist opining on the scientific validity of its diagnoses? None, except psychiatry. Psychiatry has the dubious distinction of being the only medical specialty with an anti-movement. There is an anti-psychiatry movement. You have never heard of an anti-cardiology movement, an anti-dermatology movement, or an anti-orthopedics movement.“

I have already written a critique of Dr. Lieberman’s paper, but my purpose today is to address the question:  why does psychiatry have an anti-movement?  In my view, there are ten reasons.

  1. Psychiatry’s definition of a mental disorder/mental illness embraces virtually every significant problem of thinking, feeling, and/or behaving, and psychiatry has been using this definition to formally medicalize problems that are not medical in nature for the past several decades.
  2. Psychiatry routinely presents these labels as the causes of the specific problems, when in fact they are merely labels with no explanatory significance.
  3. Psychiatry has routinely deceived, and continues to deceive, their clients, the public, the media, and government agencies, that these vaguely defined problems are in fact illnesses with known neural pathology.
  4. Psychiatry has blatantly promoted drugs as corrective measures for these illnesses, when in fact it is well-known in pharmacological circles that no psychiatric drug corrects any neural pathology. In fact, the opposite is the case.  All psychiatric drugs exert their effect by distorting or suppressing normal functioning.
  5. Psychiatry has conspired with the pharmaceutical industry in the creation of a vast body of fraudulent research, all designed to „prove“ the efficacy and safety of pharma products.
  6. A great many psychiatrists have shamelessly accepted pharma money for very questionable activities. These activities include the widespread presentation of infomercials in the guise of CEUs; the ghost-writing of books and papers which were actually written by pharma employees; paid psychiatric „thought leaders“ who promote new drugs and diagnoses for pharma; acceptance of fraudulent advertising in peer-reviewed journals; acceptance of pharmaceutical money by the APA; targeting of captive and vulnerable audiences in nursing homes, group homes, and foster-care systems for prescription of psychiatric drugs; etc., etc… In addition, 70% of the DSM-5 task force members had received funding from the pharmaceutical industry.
  7. Psychiatry’s spurious diagnoses are inherently disempowering. To tell a person, who in fact has no biological pathology, that he has an incurable illness for which he must take psychiatric drugs for life is an intrinsically disempowering act which falsely robs people of hope, and encourages them to settle for a life of drug-induced dependency and mediocrity.
  8. Psychiatry’s „treatments,“ whatever transient feelings of well-being they may induce, are always destructive and damaging in the long-term.
  9. Psychiatry’s spurious and self-serving medicalization of every significant problem of thinking, feeling, and/or behaving, effectively undermines human resilience, and fosters a culture of powerlessness, uncertainty, and dependency.  Relabeling as illnesses problems which previous generations accepted as matters to be addressed and worked on, and harnessing billions of pharma dollars to promote this false message, is morally repugnant.
  10. Psychiatry neither recognizes nor accepts any limits on its expansionist agenda. In recent years, they have even stooped to giving neuroleptic drugs to young children, a „treatment,“  the long term effects of which can only be guessed at.

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