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Jun 16, 2011           

me+ME: Rich van Konynenburg's submission to the APA

I am recuperating from the long haul I did yesterday to get my submission delivered to the APA. The text of the submission and the story of trying to submit it are here (both from yesterday):

The reasons I could not get more than a textually raped version of the first part of my submission to the APA accepted as submission by the APA are very probably the following two:

First, I probably could have gotten accepted the part that did got accepted if I had had the energy, health and freedom of pain to experiment for an hour or more with the flaky and minimalistic editing box the APA supplies on its website, for those who wish to comment, but then I simply was too exhausted yesterday to be able to try, and also not very willing anyway, as I assume that, indeed as on Phoenix Rising and other sites, there is a limit to the length of the text - which is fair enough in principle, if it is clearly said on a place that need not be searched for an hour first. (The APA's help-file for that edit box is aweful.)

Second, I know how to program in a handful of languages, and therefore I know that the problems I ran into with the APA's editing box (and other editing boxes as well) are simply due to either lack of time and money to do it properly or lack of interest to have a really functional comment box or else plain incompetence or laziness in the programmer who wrote it.

Since the APA is rich enough to pay a good programmer, it probably is a combination of the last two, and the reason I am quite certain of this is that the problems I ran into - the comment boxes parsing routines deleted all linefeeds and returns and sequences of more than one space and replaced them by one space - are familiar enough to programmers, and can be dealt with, if some care and time is invested.

Anyway... I did submit my text; they can read it; and I did what I consider my duty.

I do not believe at all it will change the APA's ways or thinking or false pretensions, as in (I quote, because I am wrily amused by obvious oxymorons committed at the behest of no less than 38.000 leaders)


though I do not believe that all psychiatrists or all members of the APA are frauds (there are some rational and reasonable people in most human groups, if the groups are large enough, and not selected for lack of wit and lack of morals).

I do believe that the APA and psychiatry as a science are morally and scientifically defunct, and what the APA stands for is mostly pseudoscience, which is dangerous to patients and immoral in persons who claim to be medical men and women.

Indeed, as I noted before, I am not the only one with such a point of view:
There are more - Dr. Feynman comes to mind, as do Dr. Laing, Dr. Cooper and others, and also Richard Webster - but probably this is a rational and ethical minority, and that mostly because psychiatrists are believed by the public in majority because psychiatrists tend to present themselves as medical doctors who specialized in the mind's malfunctioning, and who should be given authority in these respects, and deferred to.

Well... maybe they should, if only they would write and behave like rational and reasonable scientific people usually do, if not psychiatrists, but psychiatrists in majority never did, and in majority, indeed following the leads of the frauds Freud and Jung acted and spoke in public as if they were and are little different from prophets or gurus with all manner of visions and insights that non-psychiatrically qualified could not possibly have or fathom or really understand, without being trained as a psychiatrist by a psychiatrist.

And that is just plain bullshit, if it is not delusion, and that is why I wrote as I wrote, because I have both the factual qualifications (the knowledge of science, philosophy, methodology and psychology) and the formal qualifications (excellent university degrees in psychology and philosophy) to do so.

Somebody who does not have my kind of qualifications, since in fact his degrees are in engeneering (more scientific than my degrees, I hasten to add, in case I am misunderstood), is Rich van Konynenburg Ph.D., who also has an interesting theory about the cause of ME/CFS, that you find here, as a protocol
He also wrote a submission to the APA, very much shorter than mine, but embodying some of the key points and key arguments, and all written in a nice and formally quite polite manner.

It is also on Phoenix Rising (here) and I repeat it in Nederlog for documentary purposes and to have available for reference as a clear, brief, polite submission to the APA about what is wrong with parts of the DSM-5 as they have been proposed:

It can be found in a longer thread on Phoenix Rising with submissions to the APA, including another good one, by Kimberly McCleary of the CAA, also fairly long:

                                    By Rich van Konynenburg:

Dear APA:

I have been conducting research and consulting on cases of what has been called myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome for the past 15 years. As a result of this experience, there is no question in my mind that this disorder has an organic, physiological basis and is not a mental illness. While patients suffering from this disorder may indeed experience anxiety and major concern about their illness, and may devote full-time effort to attempting to regain their health, which appear to be the suggested criteria for the proposed "Complex Somatic Symptom Disorder," it seems to me that these are perfectly normal responses to having an illness that is not well understood by the medical establishment and for which the suggested treatments are only cognitive behavioral therapy and antidepressants, which provide limited help at best. I suggest that a person who had ME/CFS and did not respond in some of these ways would truly be in need of psychiatric help. My concern is that this proposed new category of mental illness could very easily be applied to sufferers of ME/CFS, to their detriment. Once a patient is labeled as having a psychiatric disorder, physicians by and large cease to consider organic, physiological causes for their illness. While this may increase the number of office visits to psychiatrists, it would be a major disservice to these patients. Please reject this vaguely worded diagnosis.

Best regards,

Richard A. Van Konynenburg, Ph.D.

Independent Researcher and Consultant on Cases of
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

One reason to copy this is that he is quite right about the Catch 22 the DSM-5 proposes: Indeed if you feel as miserable and can do as little as most patients with ME/CFS do, and use much of the little energy you are left with to try to find some relief, some cure, some way to stop the pain, then, as Van Konynenburg quite rightly says

(..) it seems to me that these are perfectly normal responses to having an illness that is not well understood by the medical establishment and for which the suggested treatments are only cognitive behavioral therapy and antidepressants, which provide limited help at best. I suggest that a person who had ME/CFS and did not respond in some of these ways would truly be in need of psychiatric help.

But  the APA, precisely as in the Catch 22 the US Army presented to Yossarian, construes the evidence one is ill as evidence one must be mad, hypochondriac, and therefore one deserves a psychiatric diagnosis and no help, except by such means as harm the patient but are quite profitable for psychiatrists.

Anyway... I am recuperating today from yesterday's efforts, but am glad I got it done, and glad quite a few others also protested. You find many submissions and a lot of relevant information on Suzy Chapman's excellent site:
A bit later on June 16 (after uploading the first version):

Suzy Chapman announces on the Phoenix Rising Forums (that I tend to abbreviate as PR-F) that the APA announced today that
So... anybody who agrees that the plans of the DSM-5, especially as regards to what they are pleased to call "somatization disorders", are dangerous and wacky has another month to try to talk some common sense or some scientifically informed sense to them.

And indeed: Ms Chapman had already asked them to extend the period, so - once in a while - it may happen the APA is amenable to reason.

P.S. Corrections, if any are necessary, have to be made later.

For those who want rational arguments with satirical sauce:

I corrected some typos, and added some bolding and links in:

me+ME: Submission to the DSM-5 Task Force of the APA

As to ME/CFS (that I prefer to call ME):

1.  Anthony Komarof Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS (pdf)
3.  Hillary Johnson The Why
4.  Consensus of M.D.s Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf)
5.   Eleanor Stein Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)
6.  William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
7.  Paul Lutus

Is Psychology a Science?

8.  Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
 Maarten Maartensz
ME in Amsterdam - surviving in Amsterdam with ME (Dutch)
 Maarten Maartensz Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

Short descriptions of the above:                

1. Ten reasons why ME/CFS is a real disease by a professor of medicine of Harvard.
2. Long essay by a professor emeritus of medical chemistry about maltreatment of ME.
3. Explanation of what's happening around ME by an investigative journalist.
4. Report to Canadian Government on ME, by many medical experts.
5. Advice to psychiatrist by a psychiatrist who understands ME is an organic disease
6. English mathematical genius on one's responsibilities in the matter of one's beliefs:

7. A space- and computer-scientist takes a look at psychology.
8. Malcolm Hooper puts things together status 2010.
9. I tell my story of surviving (so far) in Amsterdam with ME.
10. The directory on my site about ME.

See also: ME -Documentation and ME - Resources
The last has many files, all on my site to keep them accessible.

                       Maarten Maartensz (M.A. psy, B.A. phi)
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