Mental illnesses are real diseases

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Mental illnesses are real diseases
chazwyman
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Posted Feb 6, 2013 - 2:19 AM:
Subject: Mental Illness are real diseases

From a thread called: Assisted Suicide for the Mentally Ill

Encouraging the killing of people with mental illnesses only promotes the idea of mental illness, and endorses the ethics and beliefs of those held in the grip of psychiatry.

"Disorder" is a pejorative term that discourages any view or procedure that de-pathologises human behaviour.

There are no disorders. There are techniques available that show that any behaviour or experience is an aspect of human normality. E.g. so-called psychotic depression is easily tackled by techniques and by a social inclusivity that psychiatry has for years held in disdain.

What you are promoting is the moral terminus of a dangerously narrow, pathologised view of human nature. You have no right to justify the claim you make about any "psychiatric condition/illness" you fall under, except as an arbitary lifestyle and belief choice.


Your view tends towards a commonly held view that normality is a social construction, and that all mental illness is nothing more than behaviour that steps outside the definition of what is considered normal. As such you express a view consistent with the sort of psychiatric and psychological revisionisms of the late 1960s and 1970s, which have become the bread and butter knee jerk response to all forms of mental illness awareness from several counter elements within and without the practise of mental health. Some of this revisionism has been of great use: we no longer send unmarried pregnant, or 'wilful' girls away to mental institutions, as we did in the early 20thC, and in most places there is a tendency to restrict some of the most draconian "cures" such as electro-shock (ahem) "therapy", to voluntary cases.

However , the basic thought that mental disease is socially constructed, and that we are somehow in the grip of psychiatric science, can be applied with equal force to all illness. As all illnesses are natural, we might suggest that a broken leg or a bleeding artery is not really illness, but outside the defined norms of human normality, and is defined as a pathology. Clearly such an approach would not help a person walk. So having a broken leg is not a 'disorder' - the person with the broken leg has the right to have that pain and be crippled if he so chooses.

I once held the view that the borders of 'normal' are too narrowly defined, until my brother went insane. It was then that the revisionism of the 1970 became not a solution but a severe problem. It was employed by politics ion the 1980s to stop spending so much help on mental health by closing down all the mental health institutions. The result of this is that there was precious little help for my brother and he suffered undiagnosed for over a decade, whilst the murder rate from mentally ill patients now walking the streets has increased dramatically.

So whilst I agree that the boundaries of what is 'normal' are speculative and contingent on the vicissitudes of politically charged and financially interested parties, and takes in considerations from morality and the unfortunate personal mentalities of law and policy makers; nonetheless insanity is real.

What ever way you use to describe my brother's 'condition', before the diagnosis he was incapable of living any sort of a thing that you might want to cal 'a life', and after his diagnosis he received some semblance of normality, but it was not until about 8 years ago that the new generation of anti-psychotic drugs become available that he was able to act independently. He was in a virtual hell for 25 years, now he can do stuff for himself. His transformation is due utterly to the drugs that keep him going. If he stops taking them, then he will be back 'inside' screaming incoherent gibberish at the wall, as he did for the first 10 years of his 'condition'.

There are material causes for mental health problems, and gradually we are finding ways to cause those problems to be alleviated.

To Mega Therion
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Posted Feb 6, 2013 - 3:04 AM:

First of all, I am sorry to hear about your brother. However, I do not think that skepticism regarding psychiatry implies that he should not have been medicated - I am very skeptical about psychiatry, for example, but I do not see why individuals should not use whatever chemicals they want. And if their ability to reason (which seems quantifiable, unlike many other psychiatric indicators) is impaired, the most sensible solution would probably be for their guardians to decide on their medication.

I mean, I take antidepressants, not because I think there is a fact about whether depression is "normal", but because they help me get up in the morning.

As for medicine, it too seems to be partly ideological, since it relies on ideological notion of "normal" somatic states. For example, although pregnancy causes distress, it is not considered pathological. That, however, does not mean that society ought to dispense with medicine - most people would want to be treated for a broken leg or a bleeding artery. And if they do not, who are we to force them?

Psychiatrists, however, tend to force people to be treated, and their definition of what is normal, even today, is primarily reactionary, tending to the Right. For example, different gender expressions and asexuality are still classified as "disorders".
unenlightened
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Posted Feb 6, 2013 - 3:09 AM:

chazwyman wrote:

However , the basic thought that mental disease is socially constructed, and that we are somehow in the grip of psychiatric science, can be applied with equal force to all illness. As all illnesses are natural, we might suggest that a broken leg or a bleeding artery is not really illness, but outside the defined norms of human normality, and is defined as a pathology. Clearly such an approach would not help a person walk. So having a broken leg is not a 'disorder' - the person with the broken leg has the right to have that pain and be crippled if he so chooses.


Indeed. Let us dispense with the notion of illness and revert to the older idea of a complaint. Folks complain that their leg is hurting and bits of blood and bone are sticking out, and they ask the doctor to do something. If they do not complain, they have no complaint. We can allow a presumption of complaint in cases where the person is incapable of complaining for some reason

If someone else complains, that they are being kept awake by the agonised screams, or that blood is seeping into the carpet, that is a legal matter, not a medical one.

What makes mental illness unique is that it is very often someone else that has the complaint, dis-ease. I suffer from my brother's schizophrenia; he is not complaining.
chazwyman
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Posted Feb 7, 2013 - 1:39 PM:

To Mega Therion wrote:
First of all, I am sorry to hear about your brother. However, I do not think that skepticism regarding psychiatry implies that he should not have been medicated - I am very skeptical about psychiatry, for example, but I do not see why individuals should not use whatever chemicals they want. And if their ability to reason (which seems quantifiable, unlike many other psychiatric indicators) is impaired, the most sensible solution would probably be for their guardians to decide on their medication.

I mean, I take antidepressants, not because I think there is a fact about whether depression is "normal", but because they help me get up in the morning.

As for medicine, it too seems to be partly ideological, since it relies on ideological notion of "normal" somatic states. For example, although pregnancy causes distress, it is not considered pathological. That, however, does not mean that society ought to dispense with medicine - most people would want to be treated for a broken leg or a bleeding artery. And if they do not, who are we to force them?

Psychiatrists, however, tend to force people to be treated, and their definition of what is normal, even today, is primarily reactionary, tending to the Right. For example, different gender expressions and asexuality are still classified as "disorders".
Yes, thanks. I am continued to be horrified that so-called, sexual deviancy is still termed 'disorder'. Worst still in some ways is the myth that homosexuality is a choice that can be unchosen. Both ignore the simple fact that homosexuality is not only natural but common in other mammals, and is harmless. BTW. Can you tell me what this means;"Responsible Secretary, Political Bureau of the Revolutionary Committee of the Central Atheist Organisation". And if you are seriously considering promoting atheism, do you not think that choosing the face of Hitler's Dad is a bad idea? And your Latin. Carmina Burana? I youthfully travel a path; virtue leave me cold as my passion is from vice; I desire satisfaction, not salvation; feed my flesh not my soul. Fine words from Monks.
chazwyman
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Posted Feb 7, 2013 - 1:53 PM:

unenlightened wrote:


Indeed. Let us dispense with the notion of illness and revert to the older idea of a complaint. Folks complain that their leg is hurting and bits of blood and bone are sticking out, and they ask the doctor to do something. If they do not complain, they have no complaint. We can allow a presumption of complaint in cases where the person is incapable of complaining for some reason

If someone else complains, that they are being kept awake by the agonised screams, or that blood is seeping into the carpet, that is a legal matter, not a medical one.

What makes mental illness unique is that it is very often someone else that has the complaint, dis-ease. I suffer from my brother's schizophrenia; he is not complaining.
My brother complained at the wall from morning to night time at the top of his voice. His schizophrenia involved personal suffering. What I can't stand is other people trying to tell me that his "complaint" is nothing more than a politically and socially defined condition; part of a system designed to sell more drugs and to "medicalise" a growing range of "sub" normal conditions. There may be one problem of the complaint rubric; hypochondria. I know people who complain about things that are not real.
To Mega Therion
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Posted Feb 7, 2013 - 2:06 PM:

chazwyman wrote:
Yes, thanks. I am continued to be horrified that so-called, sexual deviancy is still termed 'disorder'. Worst still in some ways is the myth that homosexuality is a choice that can be unchosen. Both ignore the simple fact that homosexuality is not only natural but common in other mammals, and is harmless. BTW. Can you tell me what this means;"Responsible Secretary, Political Bureau of the Revolutionary Committee of the Central Atheist Organisation". And if you are seriously considering promoting atheism, do you not think that choosing the face of Hitler's Dad is a bad idea? And your Latin. Carmina Burana? I youthfully travel a path; virtue leave me cold as my passion is from vice; I desire satisfaction, not salvation; feed my flesh not my soul. Fine words from Monks.


The title is a joke (see angslan's latest thread), the face is that of one M. Lastis, who was, as I recall it, not related to Hitler, and Archipoeta, while a monk, does describe how I feel. Cheers.
MeowMix
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Posted Feb 7, 2013 - 4:44 PM:

I think where most of this attitude comes from is misunderstandings about clinical depression and therapy. There's feeling depressed (mood), and then there's life-threatening Clinical Depression. People also seem to think that therapy is just like television where you lie on a couch and talk about your relationship with your mother...

We should change the name of the illness back to "melancholia" as people seem to equate the mood with the illness. You know those people who are like, "yeah man I was depressed for 3 seconds once but you know what I did? I downed a glass of concrete and hardened the fuck up, stopped feeling sorry for yourself you just gotta grab life by the balls and make it your bla bla bla", so much cringe.

Are you sure this guy isn't a troll? I mean, "so-called psychotic depression is easily tackled by techniques and by a social inclusivity" is blatantly false and also kind of offensive. I've known a few people diagnosed with psychotic depression who've gone on to kill themselves and 'social inclusivity' wouldn't of done a damn thing. Hell, most of them were pretty social anyway. What these people needed was medication/therapy that actually worked. I'd like to see this guy tell the parents of someone who jumped off a cliff because their delusions of guilt and hallucinated voices convinced them that they're a worthless piece of shit that doesn't deserve to live, that all their son needed was a little bit of socialization. See how well that goes down. These people had tried literally dozens of different medications, multiple courses of ECT, along with a whole host of different therapies.

chavman wrote:
the most draconian "cures" such as electro-shock (ahem) "therapy"


Meh I got pretty got results (aside from the migraines and memory loss) from ECT. Don't knock it till you've tried it!
unenlightened
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Posted Feb 7, 2013 - 5:58 PM:

chazwyman wrote:
My brother complained at the wall from morning to night time at the top of his voice. His schizophrenia involved personal suffering. What I can't stand is other people trying to tell me that his "complaint" is nothing more than a politically and socially defined condition; part of a system designed to sell more drugs and to "medicalise" a growing range of "sub" normal conditions. There may be one problem of the complaint rubric; hypochondria. I know people who complain about things that are not real.


Yes indeed. There are many ways of suffering and one is to see the suffering of someone one is close to. I am all for folks who are suffering having some drugs if they want them and they help. However, it is also the case that an appropriate social setting, a retreat to an asylum in the original sense of a place of safety, a change of social significance given to symptoms, can alleviate suffering and make such experiences positive and meaningful. Meditation, calm and quiet, and dare I say a suitable spiritual environment, can be very transformative.

Hypochondria is interesting. It is after all a medical term for a mental illness - one that is hard (for doctors) to treat.
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Posted Feb 8, 2013 - 12:44 AM:

MeowMix wrote:
I think where most of this attitude comes from is misunderstandings about clinical depression and therapy. There's feeling depressed (mood), and then there's life-threatening Clinical Depression. People also seem to think that therapy is just like television where you lie on a couch and talk about your relationship with your mother...

We should change the name of the illness back to "melancholia" as people seem to equate the mood with the illness. You know those people who are like, "yeah man I was depressed for 3 seconds once but you know what I did? I downed a glass of concrete and hardened the fuck up, stopped feeling sorry for yourself you just gotta grab life by the balls and make it your bla bla bla", so much cringe.


This misconception is something that I find absolutely irritating, along with the stupid notion that depressed people are mopey all the time, but I don't think that psychiatric skepticism is based on such ideas. The movement, if it can be called a movement at all, started in reaction to the political abuses of psychiatry, and has been sustained partly because, well, psychiatry seems to contain a normative component, and it is not at all clear that a science can provide normativity.

This does not mean that depression does not exist, or that it would somehow disappear if people stopped talking about it. The technical term for people who believe these things is, as I recall it, "idiot". Or maybe "cretin", I always get my medical terms mixed up. That the behavioural patterns of clinically depresses people and people that are not clinically depressed differ, and that the former patterns cause suffering, is an empirical fact.

Perhaps there are psychiatric skeptics that question this, but then, every notion attracts its fair share of loonies. What most psychiatric skeptics dispute is that conditions like depression are illnesses, aberrant, not normal etc. In fact, most probably do not go far enough, since I think the entire notion of an illness is ideological, and has no basis in scientific fact. Whether something causes distress or death is easily verifiable, but not all things that cause distress and death are classified as illnesses, mental or otherwise. Pregnancy, for example, causes distress but is not classified as an illness. Religion also causes distress, but is not classified as a mental illness.

Furthermore, it seems to me that if we abandoned this notion of "mental illnesses", people with conditions such as clinical depression could still find help, and in fact it might lessen the stigmatisation they experience in some places. I think unenlightened's first proposal is excellent - focus on the complaints, and give medication to those people that desire to be treated, or those people that are incapable of effective reasoning. This is how nonpsychiatric medicine already works, by the way. Assuming that someone doesn't want their broken leg to be fixed, doctors can't exactly lock them up and fix the leg by force.
chazwyman
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Posted Feb 8, 2013 - 3:12 PM:

To Mega Therion wrote:


The title is a joke (see angslan's latest thread), the face is that of one M. Lastis, who was, as I recall it, not related to Hitler, and Archipoeta, while a monk, does describe how I feel. Cheers.




Ah the Cheka boss - so not much nicer than Hitler Snr.??

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