Tag Archives | Psychiatry

The Difference Between Mental Illness And Healthy Resistance

protestersVia Popular Resistance, psychologist Bruce E. Levine on when questioning authority is seen as a psychiatric disorder:

My experience as a clinical psychologist for almost three decades is that many young people labeled with psychiatric diagnoses are essentially anarchists in spirit who are pained, anxious, depressed, and angered by coercion, unnecessary rules, and illegitimate authority.

An often-used psychiatric diagnosis for children and adolescents is oppositional defiant disorder (ODD); its symptoms include “often actively defies or refuses to comply with adult requests or rules” and “often argues with adults.”

I have encountered many people who had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other psychoses, and who are now politically conscious anarchists. Teenagers often have an affinity for anti-authoritarianism, but most do not act on their beliefs in a manner that would make them vulnerable to violent reprisals by authorities. However, I have found that many young people diagnosed with mental disorders—perhaps owing to some combination of integrity, fearlessness, and naïvity—have acted on their beliefs in ways that threaten authorities.

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Low Dose Psychedelics Allow Mice To Generate Neurons And Unlearn Conditioned Fear

psychedelics

Psychedelic Frontier reports on another study pointing to the immense power (and hazards) of psychedelics:

A new study of mice published in Experimental Brain Research shows that low doses (but not high doses) of psychedelics increase the rate of neuron creation in the hippocampus, and help the mice to rapidly unlearn conditioned fear responses.

Mice injected with low doses of PSOP [psilocybin] extinguished cued fear conditioning significantly more rapidly than high-dose PSOP or saline-treated mice. PSOP facilitates extinction of the conditioned fear response, and this, and similar agents, should be explored as potential treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder and related conditions.

Research continues to confirm psychedelics’ ability to reduce the conditioned fear response, enabling patients to confront fearful stimuli without the usual baggage of anxiety and defense mechanisms.

With the right therapeutic approach, psychedelics allow us to rewire our brains in a positive manner. On the flip side, reckless use of these substances may cause lasting negative changes in the brain.

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Former DSM Chairman Says The Psychiatric Manual Is Attempting To Turn Eccentricity Into An Illness

eccentricity into an illnessVia Wired, Allen Frances, chairman of the task force behind the previous edition of psychiatrists’ widely-used Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, is vocally critical of the new DSM, arguing that it is part of a push toward over-medication:

Nature takes the long view, mankind the short. Nature picks diversity; we pick standardization. We are homogenizing our crops and homogenizing our people. And Big Pharma seems intent on pursuing a parallel attempt to create its own brand of human monoculture.

With an assist from an overly ambitious psychiatry, all human difference is being transmuted into chemical imbalance meant to be treated with a handy pill. Turning difference into illness was among the great strokes of marketing genius accomplished in our time.

Human diversity has its purposes or it would not have survived the evolutionary rat race. Human difference was never meant to be reducible to an exhaustive list of diagnoses drawn carelessly from a psychiatric manual.

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Cultural Illness and the Curse of Shifting Sands, DSM V

Cultural Relativity

In evaluating dysfunction or illness, we have long followed the seemingly straightforward model of diagnose, treat, evaluate, iterate.

However, diagnosis has long been the secret — or not so secret — Achilles heel of the psychiatric establishment. Many philosophic issues arise, issues of cultural relativism, ethical issues of financial interests in pharmaceuticals, to name a few. These are issues that ‘by the book’ psychiatrists frequently dismiss as ‘merely philosophical.’ Indeed, it’s been a relatively long time since Freud or Jung were taken entirely seriously by the establishment doling out the meds. ”By the book.” What is “the book”?

Since DSM-III (American Psychiatric Association 1980), disorders have been defined in terms of syndromes—that is, clusters of symptoms that covary together (see the section following, titled “Need to Explore the Possibility of Fundamental Changes . . .”). …

The major focus of field trials for DSM-III was establishing the reliability with which multiple clinicians could come to the same diagnostic conclusions when presented with a patient’s expressed signs and symptoms.

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NIMH Abandons the DSM-5

DSM-5_3DAndy Coghlan and Sara Reardon write at the New Scientist:

The world’s biggest mental health research institute is abandoning the new version of psychiatry’s “bible” – the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, questioning its validity and stating that “patients with mental disorders deserve better”. This bombshell comes just weeks before the publication of the fifth revision of the manual, called DSM-5.

On 29 April, Thomas Insel, director of the US National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), advocated a major shift away from categorising diseases such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia according to a person’s symptoms. Instead, Insel wants mental disorders to be diagnosed more objectively using genetics, brain scans that show abnormal patterns of activity and cognitive testing.

This would mean abandoning the manual published by the American Psychiatric Association that has been the mainstay of psychiatric research for 60 years.

The DSM has been embroiled in controversy for a number of years.

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One In Five Teenage Boys Is Now Diagnosed With ADHD

The New York Times on mentally-imbalanced becoming the new normal:

Nearly one in five high school age boys in the United States and 11 percent of children over all have received a medical diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to new data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The figures showed that an estimated 6.4 million children ages 4 through 17 had received an A.D.H.D. diagnosis at some point in their lives, a 16 percent increase since 2007 and a 53 percent rise in the past decade. About two-thirds of those with a current diagnosis receive prescriptions for stimulants like Ritalin or Adderall, which can drastically improve the lives of those with A.D.H.D. but can also lead to addiction, anxiety and occasionally psychosis.

Even more teenagers are likely to be prescribed medication in the near future because the American Psychiatric Association plans to change the definition of A.D.H.D.

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Things That Could Get You Locked Up In A Nineteenth-Century Insane Asylum

What makes someone a menace to the world? The Knitting Genealogist on reasons given for why people were committed to the Retreat, a progressive asylum two hundred years ago:

Whilst researching, I was fascinated by the reasons people were certified and admitted to the asylum. On admission, patients had already been ‘certified’ and these certificates were placed in the Admission records. A common reason for admission was “Religious melancholy” or simply “Religion”. Here are just a handful of the most interesting answers, from the 1820s:

“A violent attachment to a female not approved by his friends.”

“Perhaps attending overmuch to business.”

“By fright, caused by a man (unknown) getting into his Lodging room, secreting himself under some Linen in a corner of the room, and after about five weeks after this he was attacked with the first fit…”

“A tedious confinement with an affected family”.

“Suppose a fear of not being able to pay his just debts owing to the depression of the times”.

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Was Adam Lanza On Psychopharmaceutical Medication?

At the Daily Kos, it is argued that Adam Lanza might very well have been on some form of psychopharmaceutical medication before his rampage in Newtown, CT, which started with his mother and ended at Sandy Hook Elementary School:

According to a neighbor of Adam Lanza he was on medication for some type of personality disorder.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/…

Yesterday, I speculated that AP reports of his condition suggested to me he was medicated for it.  I sloppily slung together a diary trying to force my concerns to the surface and the diary didn’t get the kind of attention I feel this topic deserves.

I am deeply troubled by the potential toxic side effects of long-term prescription drug use of psychotropics.

First, drugs are typically approved based on clinical trials of adults with fully developed brains.  A child may be prescribed psychotropics as young as age 5.

http://www.nytimes.com/…

I challenge anyone to locate a significant peer-reviewed clinical trial of psychotropics where all test subjects are pre-pubescent.

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The Mentally Ill Are More Likely to Be Victims Than Perpetrators of Violence

Picture: Vitaly Efimenko (CC)

Graham Brown writing at Bipolar World, from 2005:

In this article there is summarised the results of just a few studies regarding mental illness and violence from a number of very respectable sources to allow a fair and unbiased assessment of the risk posed by those with a mental illness for you, the reader, to consider.

Firstly, from the Canadian Mental Health Association and it’s pamphlet – “Violence and Mental Illness”,

In today’s media reports about mental illness, there is a tendency to emphasise a supposed risk between violence and mental illness.  News stories regularly suggest that there is a strong connection between mental illness and crime.  In fact, people with a mental illness are more likely to be the victims, rather than the perpetrators of violence.”

“Recent studies have showed that alcohol and substance abuse far outweigh mental illness in contributing to violence.  A 1996 Health Canada review of scientific articles found that the strongest predictor of violence and criminal behaviour is not major mental illness, but past history and criminality.”

On the question of does mental illness cause violence?  The CMHA does go on to say:

“Mental illness plays no part in the majority of violent crimes committed in our society.  The assumption that any and every mental illness carries with it an almost certain potential for violence has been proven wrong in many studies.

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Perfection in Deception?

Picture: Public Domain

You, too, can be a perfect liar…with the right training. Don’t believe me? Why would I lie to you?

Via Medical News Today:

New Northwestern University research shows that lying is more malleable than previously thought, and with a certain amount of training and instruction, the art of deception can be perfected.

People generally take longer and make more mistakes when telling lies than telling the truth, because they are holding two conflicting answers in mind and suppressing the honest response, previous research has shown. Consequently, researchers in the present study investigated whether lying can be trained to be more automatic and less task demanding.

This research could have implications for law enforcement and the administering of lie detector tests to better handle deceptions in more realistic scenarios.

Researchers found that instruction alone significantly reduced reaction times associated with participants’ deceptive responses.

The researchers say that with enough training, it might also be possible to regulate the physiological cues that give away liars.… Read the rest

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