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January 14, 2013


DSM-5: The Marketing of Madness - P.S.

 

  "The mild and the long-suffering may suffer forever in this world. As long as the patient will suffer, the cruel will kick."
     -- Sidney Smit
  "We never hurt each other but by error or by malice." 
   -- (Sir Robert Chambers, possibly inspired by Dr. Johnson)
Sections
Introduction   
1. The Marketing of Madness - P.S
About ME/CFS


Introduction:

As the title says this is just a P.S. to yesterday's DSM-5:
The Marketing of Madness to which I refer you for the background.

As I said yesterday, I was doing "something completely different", in that I uploaded a Nederlog with a link to a video I had only seen the first part of, in order to review it later, when I had seen it all.

In fact, so I did, and you'll find my review in the above linked Nederlog, written later yesterday, and also uploaded then, in which I mentioned that in the last part of the film - part 18 of 18 parts - the viewers were offered a link, that I knew to be associated with scientology.

It is this connection that this P.S. addresses, and my argument is on the line that while I agree with the Catholic Church that 2+2=4 and 4<5, this must not be construed as support for that religious institution, as I am not at all a Catholic.

1. The Marketing of Madness - P.S.

I ended yesterday's review of "The Marketing of Madness" as follows:
In sum, I think it is a useful documentary, that makes quite a few of the points I have arrived at myself the last 2 1/2 years; it has some weak points as a documentary, though it is not boring; and it probably is related to scientology, which to my way of thinking is a pity, since to me that is both a crazy way of thinking and also an organization that seems to have done a lot of harm, but on the other hand none of this refutes the points that are made in the documentary.
In fact, I don't like scientology at all: it seems quite nutty to me. The last link is to the Wikipedia article on it, that I will not discuss, that also lists some links that are relevant to my present subject. I give the links as background, and will quote and discuss a little.

First, there is this link:
Scientology and psychiatry.  I cite this bit from it, because I agree in principle:
Lawyer Douglas A. Smith stated in his anti-psychiatry web page:

No Scientologists, please: Volunteers will be asked for assurance they are not affiliated with the ‘Church’ of Scientology or its Citizen's Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), which have publicized the harm done by psychiatry but which we want no affiliation with.

I agree, because while I strongly disagree with modern psychiatry,  I also strongly disagree with scientology: I like the one as little as the other.

Next, there is the link to the Wikipedia article on the
Citizens Commission on Human Rights, an organization which I knew to be scientology related, but the involvement of which in the documentary was not mentioned until part 18 of 18. This article says that the organization
was established in 1969 by the Church of Scientology and psychiatrist Thomas Szasz,
which I have deplored before, when I discussed Szasz's ideas, in March 2012.

The last paragraph of the Wikipedia link about the CCHR is about the film, and I copy it (the indented parts, also made blue, and with links removed: You can find them by going to Wikipedia) and comment (the uncommented parts):

The Marketing of Madness: Are We All Insane?

The Marketing of Madness is a documentary which alleges that the mental health industry is an unscientific field driven solely by the profit motive, to the detriment of patients.

I agree with this. There is more to it, but I think this is basically true, perhaps apart from "solely", but replaced with "mostly" the lot seems quite adequate.

One of the interviewees is Claudia Keyworth, an advocate of 'Bio-Energetic medicine' (a form of quackery), who believes that healing is best accomplished using the "energy field of the human body".On the topic of mental illness, she asserts: "they say you have a chemical imbalance of serotonin and dopamine, but there's never been a study to prove that, ever."

First sentence: Ms Keyworth does not say so in the movie. Second sentence: She is right, in the sense that this is the theory, and "chemical imbalance" seems more a metaphor than a fact. See my next remark.

However, a substantial volume of research does support the prevailing view among experts, which is that chemical imbalances do in fact play a role in various mental disorders (see also Biology of depression, and Causes of mental disorders).

I did check out the "chemical imbalance" lemma in Wikipedia, but that again is vague. The problem is that while having too little serotonine may be involved in feeling depressed, it is most probably one of a great number of interdependent and interacting factors that are mostly unknown. Also, it is probably true that Prozac only helps some seriously depressed persons, but has been widely overprescribed, and also probably true too little is known about what it does in the brain.

The documentary claims that psychiatrists have convinced the public that normal, negative human experiences are mental illnesses.

This seems a correct claim to me, and indeed dr. Allen Frances - the chief of the DSM-IV, who has been critical of the the DSM-5 - agrees, at least about grief, which the DSM-5 may make into a "psychiatric disorder", for which psychiatric drugs can be prescribed.

An example used in the movie is the assertion that psychiatrists seek to label typical shyness as a "social anxiety disorder".

Yes, but that also seems mostly correct to me, and indeed an example of the psychiatric technique on which is based the enormous growth in the number of so called "psychiatric disorders": Pick something that may be a problem to some; claim it is due to a chemical imbalance; and then treat the claimed chemical imbalance by an ill researched chemical, on the sales of which there is a large profit. That is not about explaining human consciousness or helping ill people; that is about marketing drugs and making profits. [1]

However, patients are diagnosed with a social anxiety disorder only at debilitating levels, where there is an "intense fear in social situations". Unlike a shy individual, a person diagnosed with social anxiety disorder is likely to suffer from symptoms such as nausea, stammering, and panic attacks.

Again, this sounds like PR-bullshit, that trades on one of the DSM-5 tricks - "multi-dimensionality" - of making the psychiatrist decide what is "too little" and what is "too much", and using modifiers like "intense" and "likely" does not remove the point that it seems to me that "S.A.D." seems like a marketed pseudo-disease aka "psychiatric disorder" that serves as a pretext to get people on profitable psychiatric drugs.

In fact, the whole Wikipedia article
"social anxiety disorder" reads as if it has been written by a PR-firm that works for the APA: Equivocations, innuendos and weasel words abound.

Anyway... I did yesterday upload an added Review to  DSM-5: The Marketing of Madness and that ends
In sum, I think it is a useful documentary, that makes quite a few of the points I have arrived at myself the last 2 1/2 years; it has some weak points as a documentary, though it is not boring; and it probably is related to scientology, which to my way of thinking is a pity, since to me that is both a crazy way of thinking and also an organization that seems to have done a lot of harm, but on the other hand none of this refutes the points that are made in the documentary.
But it is also true that (1) I don't like scientology, at all and (2) I only found out that link to CCHR at the very end of the movie. I am aware that it is propaganda, but then it counters psychiatric propaganda, and that needs being done, as I really think modern psychiatry is for the most part a scam: A confidence trick to get people on profitable drugs. It is not honest moral medicine nor is it rational empirical science.

Then again, about the doctumentary: it would have been nicer to have been told at the beginning it was CCHR / scientology related, and also would have been nicer to have been given some specific evidence.


---

Note
[1] In case you disagree: The only thing that is a virtual and calculable certainty in the whole schema is that it will be profitable.  Also "chemical imbalance" is sales talk, not science: You can just as well claim that it is a matter of "disregulated bio-electricity" or a "disproportion of atoms" or "a preponderance of malfunctioning molecules": It's weaseling.



About ME/CFS
(that I prefer to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search machines) which is a disease I have since 1.1.1979:
1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS(pdf)

2. Malcolm Hooper THE MENTAL HEALTH MOVEMENT:  
PERSECUTION OF PATIENTS?
3. Hillary Johnson

The Why  (currently not available)

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2003)
5. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2011)
6. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

7. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
9.
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)



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