Essay talk:Anti-Psychiatry Arguments
- I know, sorry. I feel it's something important to have, rather like an extension of the article on mental illness denial. I was considering making it a part of that article, or a separate mainspace article. I think this would be better as an article in the mainspace, but I figure if I do it'll get sent here, or just deleted.--Just relax, and stay funny (talk) 23:15, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
- This essay is a pile of dog's breath. (I am being polite here). I would not even know where to start to counter argue this total woo. Anyone who would like to understand the 'anti-psychiatry' issues would do much better to start here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-psychiatry. I would not even care much but since sciencebasedmedicine.org has recently given a link to 'mental illness denial' on RationalWiki, the resulting laughter at such shit has been an embarrassment to this site. --Dirk Steele (talk) 14:58, 7 January 2013 (UTC)
- Hamilton, you say 'alcoholism' meets the definition of a mental disorder, and we have brain scans to prove it'. This is an example of where your logic fails. Yes drinking too much alcohol may cause brain damage but so does the sport of boxing. But boxing is not a disease is it? Smoking cigarettes can cause lung cancer but you think that smoking is a disease. Of course not. Behaviours are not diseases. This is where psychiatry becomes a tautology. Psychiatry defines only unwanted behaviours then attempts to conflate them into a medical illness. So for example, a child who demonstrates certain behaiours in school - not paying attention to teacher, running inappropriately, forgetting homework etc, is labelled as having ADHD. The childs actions are then said, as if by magic, to be 'caused' by the disease of ADHD!!! This is obviously nonsense. BTW, have you read the wiki anti-psychiatry page? If you want this essay to make sense you need to include far more than Szasz and scientology. E.g. Gregory Bateman's double-blind theory which influenced R.D. Laing and others you do not mention. Dirk Steele (talk) 12:23, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
- You also say 'Alcoholism meets the definition of a mental disorder, smoking (in of itself) does not. Addiction, such as an addiction to smoking, however does.' Now this is where you start to get silly. A couple of years ago, after many years of smoking, I woke up one morning and decided to quit. Voila! A 'thought' cured my disease in an instant!. Are you trying to state that thought can actually cure a disease? This is woo thinking. Alternatively you might consider an alternative view. Dirk Steele (talk) 17:15, 10 January 2013 (UTC)
Anecdotal evidence a solid refutation does not make. Addiction is a well understood concept which exists only in the brain, and is something that people have required outside help with in order to get under control, ergo mental illness. The reason every person who wants to quit smoking doesn't simply think it away isn't because they're faking it, it's because their brain has been programmed to crave nicotine and that desire overpowers their other thoughts. There are people who can tell you that their cancer went into remission without treatment, does this mean that cancer treatment is pseudoscience? Then you go on to put words into your opponent's mouth to make his argument easier to refute, seamless. Instead of using these logically fallacious arguments, you instead might instead use an alternative way of alternate thinking instead. Also, learn grammar. -BonzoTheBear
I will try answer your Essay point by point.
Point 1. You show a misunderstanding between psychiatry and clinical psychology. Psychiatry is the view that mental disease is caused by a biological chemical or genetic abnormality in the brain which can be treated by drugs. It is based on the views of Emil Kraepelin and the APA today is basically Neo-Kraepelin. Clinical Psychology has the view that mental illness is not a disease but that mental distress exhibited by patients is caused by a person's life experiences. See for example the work of Richard P Bentall. Szasz himself was an 'existential psychotherapist' but believed that this practise was just not a scientific medical matter.
Now when you say that psychiatry only deals with 'abnormal brains' and not home/work type problems, one must ask you in return, how do they know this? What measurement do they make? Of course there is none. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/streams-of-consciousness/2012/05/11/why-are-there-no-biological-tests-in-psychiatry/ Which is why the DSM5 and the APA have been heavily criticised by the British Psychological Society who are recommending that the DSM5 is now boycotted in favour of the ICD-10. Also see this article. http://mindhacks.com/2012/12/30/a-depressing-financial-justification/. Further reading http://www.madinamerica.com/2013/01/time-to-abolish-psychiatric-diagnosis/ and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_psychiatry. For the latter, I think the term 'critical psychiatry' is actually akin to 'critical creationism' but then I am Szaszian!
Point 2. Of course the DSM is a vote for a label and is not based on years of scientific research. When homosexuality in the 1970s was voted out, and also Ego dystonic sexual orientation disappeared in the 1980s these decisions were not based on years of research. Today, decisions to remove Aspergers or to remove the bereavement clause from depression are not based on any scientific research. Dirk Steele (talk) 13:06, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
Citation needed, they aren't simply pulled out of thin air. -Bonzo
Point 3. You are right that there have been many many examples in the past where psychiatry has been used to oppress people. Of course during that time this fact was not recognised. Only in hindsight can we see this. But to not see that or believe that this does not happen today, because of course us humans have evolved and progressed, is pure ideology. See http://en.wikipedia.org wiki/The_Protest_Psychosis:_How_Schizophrenia_Became_a_Black_Disease . Even today it is recognised as a mystery, only to psychiatrists!, why immigrants are 4 times as likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia. As Szasz points out psychiatry is always oppressive. There can be no such thing as voluntary commitment - since if you do not comply you will be forced to. Today psychiatry is rife within authoritarian institutions in order to control 'unwanted' behaviour. Disobedance in schools or child foster homes, in old peoples care homes, prisons, care in the community, mental hospitals etc etc, is then defined as a 'disease' and is force treated with sedative drugs or even ECT. This is just obscene. Of course this is why we have such groups as MindFreedom, Psychrights, Mad Pride, MadinAmerica and the whole psychiatric survivor movement who protest at their treatment. But you can dismiss all those people as scientologists eh? Dirk Steele (talk) 13:26, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
Point 4. Psychiatry and Popper. Although Popper's views on inductivism can be criticised, the view that for a subject to be a science it must be open to falsification still stands. It is a main reason why Intelligent Design cannot be taught in schools as a science. For you to state that medical science fails the Popperian criteria is nonsense. I cannot fake having measles, or cancer, or diabetes because the diagnosis is based on an objective empirical observation. Neurologists and cardiologists actually take scans of the organs they study. Psychiatrists cannot observe the mind and do not even look at the brains of their patients. All 'diagnosis' is based on subjective views of behaviour. If one meets 4 out of 6 symptoms (why not 3?) for 6 months (why not 5?) then a label is given. My claim to hear voices cannot be falsified. Psychiatry is a pseudoscience. Dirk Steele (talk) 13:46, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
You can absolutely fake having measles or any other physical decease, you'd just have a much harder time getting away with it today because measuring the presence of those diseases, as opposed to mental ones, can be done with current technology. And yes, claiming to hear voices is absolutely falsifiable. Difficult to test for does not mean unfalsifiable., -Bonzo
Point 5. Despite you keep making the claim that fMRIs can show a mental illness it is not true. There are no biological markers. Not one. Even Tom Insel, director of NIMH states in desparation “We don’t talk much about this,” he said, but when it comes to mental illnesses, psychiatrists lag far behind their colleagues in other specialties. “Diagnosis is by observation, detection is late, prediction is poor. Etiology is unknown, prevention is undeveloped. Therapy is by trial-and-error. We have no cures, no vaccines. We’re not even working on vaccines. Prevalence has not decreased. Mortality has not decreased." He laments the fact that 'treatments' do not work. Of course psychtropic sedative drugs may lessen symptoms but this is no different to taking morphine for chest pains. Dirk Steele (talk) 15:21, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
Point 6. Of course the term 'mental illness' is a literalised metaphor. There can be no disease of a concept. The mind is not the brain. Yes, if psychiatry thinks mental illness is a brain disease it should change the term. Neurologists would laugh at them. The fact is that there is a reason why they do not. Can you think why? Dirk Steele (talk) 15:33, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
And the claim that the mind is not a physical thing is pure Spiritism. Discounting the supernatural, something which science has no stake in, EVERYTHING is physical. This is where we get into the meat of the issue and the actual thing the both sides have trouble with, that being the definition of the mind. If we are to accept that the mind is not the brain, but a product of the brain via the firing of neurons (the best definition we have), then we can work on reaching a solid definition of mental illness. Some important questions here are whether or not the brain's neurons can produce thoughts that are painful or otherwise unfavorable to the person having them, and the degree to which a person can control their every thought. The answer to the first question is a resounding yes, as anyone who has ever so much as felt a negative emotion can attest. The second answer is far more complicated because, as any of these neurologists you seem to love so much will tell you, we don't actually know that much about the functioning of the brain on the cellular level yet. The claim that everyone who has negative thought patterns is 100% choosing to have them is every bit as much a piece of conjecture as the claim that everyone's negative behavior is caused entirely by mental illness. Both of those statements are worthless. For the purpose of this argument, no, not everyone who suffers from long-term depression, for instance, chooses to be that way. -Bonzo
Point 7. Of course stating that someone who is unconscious is therefore treated 'against their will' is nonsense since they have no 'will' at that time. The fact is that there are millions who are 'treated' who do not want to be treated which is why forced drugging is the norm. Psychiatrists and other 'mental health' workers always complain about how their patients do not want to take their medicine. Which is why injections have been invented that last a month. The fact is that you dismiss the views of millions of 'psychiatric survivors' shows your cavalier attitude to other people's freedom. Szasz denies being ant-psychiatry and wrote a book 'Anti-psychiatry - quackery squared' on the topic. He was not against consensual psychiatry but wanted a separation of psychiatry and the state much like the separation of the church and state. You should not argue against his views until you actually know what they are. Dirk Steele (talk) 15:46, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
Point 8. Szasz has never said anything like that but of course since you have never read a single Szasz book you do not know what he is talking about. Cancer, diabetes, AIDS and the vast majority of medical diseases are diagnosed by a scientific measurement - an x-ray, a urine test, a blood test, an fMRI et al. No one doubts the existence of these as a disease. Huge numbers of psychiatrists, psychologists, sociologists, and many other people doubt the medical model of 'mental illness' as defined by psychiatry. The are no anti-cardiology, anti-oncology, anti-urology, or anti-gastroenterology groups. Anti-psychiatry is the only one. You have to ask yourself much deeper questions about why this is. Dirk Steele (talk) 16:01, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
Point 9. Your mention of Freud, and the Behaviourist school here just shows an abject lack of knowledge in psychology. I suggest you take an intro course. ;-) Dirk Steele (talk) 16:13, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
Your use of ad hominem shows just how little you know about how to debate a point and is an abuse of one of the most basic logical fallacies. I suggest you look a few of them up for future reference ;) >:D :) :3 -Bonzo
Point 10. Any mention of scientology here as being relevant to a discussiion of anti-psychiatry is mere ad hominem. As far as I know they support the general theory of relativity. Does it make that wrong also? Dirk Steele (talk) 16:13, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
The article's mention of Scientology at no point implies that all anti-psychiatrists think that, merely that it is an argument used commonly enough to warrant a response. -Bonzo
I appreciate you are taking the time to try understand the issues surrounding 'anti-psychiatry' but you really need to understand the arguments on both sides before you can write a valid critique of the subject. Dirk Steele (talk) 16:13, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
Alcoholism meets the definition of a mental disorder, smoking (in of itself) does not. Addiction, such as an addiction to smoking, however does. I do not know who Gregory Bateman is, but I am guessing you are referring to Gregory Bateson, and his work (as well as the work of R.D. Laing) have been generally grafted onto the field where appropriate. And their theories of mental health in general are irrelevant because, as I've said, this is not a refutation of the specific alternative views of anti-psychiatrists, but a refutation of common arguments that mental disorders do not exist.
As for your comments: Clinical psychology and psychiatry are as distinct from each other as geometry and trigonometry. Clinical psychologists agree that mental disorders are caused by abnormal brain chemistry, they just don't focus on treating them biologically. Likewise, psychiatrists recognize that mental distress is not caused by abnormal brain chemistry, and that mental disorders can be reinforced by non-biological causes. The lack of use of brain imaging techniques in the diagnosis of mental disorders is a legitimate concern, which is probably why I specifically mentioned that at the bottom of the article as a legitimate complaint. The BPA is talking about using the ICD 10 instead of the DSMV because the ICD 10 is used globally, while the DSM V will only be used in the US. Same concerns as using the metric over the imperial system of measurement.
Homosexuality was removed from the DSM because the panel agreed that the condition did not meet criteria for being called a mental disorder, and Aspegers was removed because the research (which happened whether you acknowledge it or not) concluded that their wasn't enough difference between it and general Autism to merit separate inclusion.
A strict Popperist would be forced to conclude that medical science is not science for reasons I've talked about extensively elsewhere. You cannot fake having measles, but you can fake being in pain. And you can, and I have, be given a prescription for pain killers pretty much just by saying "I am in pain". That various imaging techniques aren't used for every diagnosis of every condition is a well known cost saving measure used in medicine. That psychiatry does not use brain imaging at all is depressing, and (as has already been said) is specifically listed as a legitimate concern in the essay in question. And as explained elsewhere in the essay, the "mind" is not at all the subject of psychiatry, but the brain is, and we can take images of the brain and use it to diagnosis conditions.
You are taking Dr. Insel's comments far out of context and we both know it. He is not lamenting that treatments do not work, he is lamenting that we cannot predict who will develop a condition before symptoms develop, and we cannot permanently correct a condition.
You are right: the mind is not the brain. That's why psychiatry works on the brain, not the mind. Anti-psychiatrists are the only ones who talk about the mind. There is no bundling of the field of psychiatry and the state outside of state regulation of the field, and the occasions when mental health professionals (usually not actually psychiatrists) are used for testimony in cases of the "insanity defense", which as stated in the essay, is effective only rarely.
The Sixth Szasz argument is something Szaszians always say. That's why I called it the "Szaszian Argument". That there are "anti-psychiatrists" is completely irrelevant to whether or not psychiatry is a science. Also, there's this, and there's also this. Different name, same thing.
- More nonsense. Clinical psychologists do not claim mental illness is caused by abnormal brain chemistry at all and totally disagree with that ideology.. The BPA and others talk about boycotting the DSM because it is shit. Nothing to do with using metric over imperial. It is to do with different concepts of 'mental health'. Dirk Steele (talk) 21:01, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
- Show the context to me then. He is lamenting that after 50 years of research there is still no science of psychiatry. That it is all bullshit. That there is no definition, etimology, no treatment, no cures. The whole endeavour has been a total failure. A sure sign of a pseudoscience. Dirk Steele (talk) 21:12, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
- Hamilton - why are you messing with the format of my answers to you? Taking them out of context? Dirk Steele (talk) 23:37, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
- If you don't understand after your months of being here how to post in discussion threads, that's your problem. I'm tired of it, and the next time you post like that I'm to start trying to figure out the longest amount of time I can theoretically block you for.
- There are no scientific arguments that say that mental disorders do not exist. Your faulty understanding of the relationship between clinical psychology and psychiatry is a further demonstration of your complete lack of understanding of the subject at hand. That you seem to not understand that Aspergers is a form of Autism is telling as well.
- Psychiatry does not use brain imaging techniques for diagnosis largely because of cost saving measures forced on them by insurance companies, and the under use of brain imaging in diagnosis is a legitimate complaint, which is why I specifically listed it as a legitimate concern in the essay. If only you bothered to read it. --Just relax, and stay funny (talk) 23:46, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
- Hamilton - why are you messing with the format of my answers to you? Taking them out of context? Dirk Steele (talk) 23:37, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
- Tell me then how I should relate my answers to your individual points. My answers now seem completely out of context with your statements. You want to block me for that? Go ahead sunshine. Simples.
- There is no scientific evidence that 'mental illness' exists as a medical disease. I understand the difference between clinical psychology and psychiatry. If you think you do then explain it. Simples.
- The reason why psychiatry does not use fMRI scans of the brain is not cost but because psychiatry cannot diagnose a single mental illness from a scan. Simples.
True Szazsian maturity right here. -Bonzo
No objective tests.
No clear understanding of why it occurs, when it comes to functional imaging we have a better understanding of mood disorders.
Based purely on subjective experiences.
- Good point but similar to the old creationists jibe of 'why have we not found any intermediate fossils? The fact is that pain is subjective and cannot be verified by medical science. But if I complain of a pain in my head or in my chest or leg - what happens? I am sent to a medical doctor, not a homeopath/quack. What does the medical doctor do? He examines the tissue via x-rays, MRI scans, blood tests etc - all scientific observations. It is possible that no physical abnormality can be found but many conditions can be ruled out. There are still mysteries within medical science. CFS is just one. I could also be lying, if I want to have time off work, or do not feel like sex with my partner. At this moment in time my complaint of being in pain cannot be falsified. But pain is considered to be a physical thing and not a mental condition (except metaphorically).
- But it is significant that not one of the psychiatric diseases involve physical pain. Not one. Nobody has ever died from a mental disorder! Why is this do you think? We have a differential view on the nature of physical disease and mental disease that is pure cartesian duality. That the mind is not the same thing as the brain. Brain diseases are dealt with by the scientific discipline of neurology. Mental diseases are 'cured' by quackery and woo. --220.127.116.11 (talk) 03:22, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
- So it's alright for there to be no objective test for migraines, but not for mental illness? It's alright for migraine treatment to be judged solely on changes in symptoms, but this doesn't apply for mental illness?
- "But pain is considered to be a physical thing and not a mental condition" - interesting how there are many physical disease which have psychiatric symptoms - thyroid disease, temporal lobe epilepsy, dementia etc. Surely this makes the presence of psychiatric symptoms just as valid as pain.
- "But it is significant that not one of the psychiatric diseases involve physical pain" - pain disorder, somatoform disorder, somatization disorder? You mean to say you're apparently well read on psychiatry but have never come across these?
- There is no point in talking to him. There is objective evidence for mental illness, he still denis it. He's an idiot.-- Token Conservative Feminist Thought Police 02:43, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
- What do you mean by objective evidence? Both the head of the NIMH, Tom Insel, and the head of the APA, Leiberman agree that there are no biomarkers for mental illness (although they still hope to find them). This is the current stance within psychiatry. If you diagree then it is you who are 'anti-psychiatry'. Now Szasz has always contended the possibility of finding biomarkers in the future. It is possible that 'schizophrenia' is the result of some kind of observable brain lesion. What would happen? Well, as well documented in history with neuro-syphilis and epilepsy, it is immediately transferred to neurology and away from psychiatry. Indeed the same thing would happen if all mental disorders were shown to have a physical cause. Psychiatry would actually cease to exist! So your view that all mental illness is caused by some unyet discovered physical biomarker actually supports Szasz's position. --18.104.22.168 (talk) 03:23, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
- I know, he's someone who is clearly very well read but who has no practical experience whatsoever. If he spent just one week volunteering on a mental health ward he would realise that disease such as schizophrenia and bipolar are not simply life experiences.
- You're telling me you have volunteered on a mental health ward?
- "psychiatry is always oppressive. There can be no such thing as voluntary commitment - since if you do not comply you will be forced to" - absolute nonsense, in most jurisdictions people can only be committed if there is a significant risk of harm. There are many people with depression and anxiety who voluntarily seek treatment, and who would not be committed if they didn't.
- The definition of "significant" varies between jurisdictions, what is important is that many patients with mental illnesses, including schizophrenia, cannot be forcibly treated.
- Even Tom Insel, director of NIMH states in desparation" - it's interesting that I can find no source for this quote, in fact the only sites which mention it are Rationalwiki and a couple of blogs.
- 'The DSM lacks validity' From the horse's mouth.. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/director/2013/transforming-diagnosis.shtml --22.214.171.124 (talk) 03:29, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
- Please provide a source for your quote, otherwise I will assume it is falsified.
- "complain about how their patients do not want to take their medicine. Which is why injections have been invented that last a month" - it's funny how people don't want to take their medication BECAUSE they think there's a giant conspiracy by the crab people to steal their golf balls, but then after taking their medication realise that they were delusional.
- If you had any practical experience, you would realise this isn't true. A majority of patients treated involuntarily have schizophrenia, a key symptom of schizophrenia is disorganisation. Many schizophrenics cannot go grocery shopping, let alone research the side effects of medications.
- Perhaps I should have been more specific, many schizophrenics who are acutely psychotic cannot go grocery shopping, let alone research the side effects of medication.
- "anti-oncology" - hahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Because nobody out there claims that chemo/radiotherapy are bad treatments which are pushed by pharmaceutical companies and that there are natural ways to cure cancer. Or that vaccines are harmful for children. Give me a break. 126.96.36.199 (talk) 03:15, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
- I'm happy to have a debate, but you don't seem to be as well informed about the field as you think.
- So far on this page alone you've claimed that psychiatry is the only medical field with detractors (wrong), that mental illnesses never have pain symptoms (wrong), that all patients with mental illnesses can be treated involuntarily (wrong), that psychiatry is only about medicalising unwanted behaviours (wrong), that Dr Insel made a quote which he doesn't seem to have made...
- You demand objective evidence for psychiatry but not other medical conditions. You seem to be claiming that pain is a valid symptom but that symptoms of mental illness (mood disorders, hallucinations, delusions) are not, even though organic diseases can present with these.
- Yes I demand that medical science is based on empirical objective measurements. Pain is a subjective symptom of a possible disease.
I accept that organic disease can change behaviour. A common cold does so! The case that 'inappropriate' behaviour must be caused by organic disease has not yet been demonstrated scientifically and is full of issues. Correlation is not cause.
- In addition, you do not seem to understand the nature of psychosis, that people are very thought disorganised and out of touch with reality, not simply stressed out. You do not not seem to understand the difference between substance use and substance addiction.
- You demand that we learn more about the anti-psychiatry field before we criticise it. That's a valid point. Yet you see fit to criticise psychiatry even though you are getting basic facts wrong. And when people point this out to you, you either ignore it or try to raise a completely different point.
- As for the madinamerica.com website, it's an interesting read. They have some valid points, overmedication in young adolescents being a pertinent one. But a lot of the website is pure speculation (someone pushing for CBT to be used for psychosis), and for the people claiming to be victims of psychiatry we do not know the true extent of their illness, nor is there any follow-up for what happens to them. It's easy for people to think that schizophrenia is not a chronic illness if someone posts an article saying they are off their meds and feeling better than ever, but what doesn't get reported is when the person has a psychotic episode the next month and ends up in hospital. 188.8.131.52 (talk) 04:32, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
- Yes an interesting read. I happen to think that the idea of 'talk therapy' being able to cure a medical disease is illogical, irrational and unscientific. That is because mental distress or life's sufferings are not diseases. A Szaszian view. Sorry for the delay in the reply but my IP adress has been banned. I have had to move to Vegas to comment. ;-) 184.108.40.206 (talk) 20:01, 24 September 2013 (UTC)
Hamilton in you're response to Szasz argument 5 you acknowledged that involuntary commitment still exists for people deemed a danger to themselves or others. I'm curious what you think of Szasz' beliefs about suicide. Do you consider the involuntary psychiatric treatment of people who attempt suicide or display other self-destructive behavior to be justified and if so how do you justify it? Do you disagree that people deserve the freedom to behave self-destructively? — Unsigned, by: 220.127.116.11 / talk / contribs