The smoking of psychiatry

The debate about whether psychological problems are caused by trauma/abuse OR by our chemistry OR by our genes has been going on for as long as I can remember.

Here Simon Hatcher reminds us that childhood abuse is a major reason in causing psychiatric problems. He likens this abuse to smoking that beyond doubt causes disease.

In a very different article Ken McLaughlin says “This social preoccupation with abuse, and the way people are encouraged to interpret their current problems through the prism of past sufferings, should be of greater concern than anything DSM-5 might come up with.” – This is from a longish article which left me feeling that Ken has not met as many people as I have who have never doubted that abuse in childhood was the main reason leading to psychiatric difficulties. If you have time his article is here…

Or read what Judith Haire has to say in response to Ken McLaughlin’s “Our brains aren’t moulded by abuse”

Different groups have different things to gain from convincing us that their preferred explanations are the most valid.

My own experience and what I have learned by listening to hundreds of people and reading widely is:

Genetics pretty much have nothing to do with causing us to come in front of psychiatrists. No one is immune and the trend is towards every family being affected by poor mental health. As discussed before at Rethinking Bipolar the claims of links between genes and emotional distress have never been backed up by any other group doing similar research anywhere in the world. There is however no single cause of mental distress and often there are multiple triggers.

Trauma/abuse sets millions of people up for struggling with their emotional health for decades after the event(s). Sometimes it is recognized as Post Traumatic Stress but usually it is not so clear-cut.

Our biochemistry is a huge factor in determining our mental health. Our mental health also affects our biochemistry. DSM-5 is essentially the drug company’s brochure and main marketing tool. The problems we have with our body’s chemistry rarely need the high-tech, complex solutions the drug companies would have us believe. Next time you are sitting with someone who is keen to talk about their emotional difficulties take a look at them. Chances are they will not be looking particularly physically fit. Trauma and abuse makes us more susceptible to less healthy life-styles and then life-style drives both our physical and emotional health – in the wrong direction.

I think all our authors and just about everyone involved with sorting out emotional health problems know that both trauma/abuse and chemistry are involved. The debate as to which is more significant will continue. What I am hoping can be accepted is that both are always involved in some way. Even in the cases cited by Ken McLaughlin where people say they were abused but will not or cannot talk about what happened, I feel sure things did happen that influence them towards the troubles they end up in.  The fact that some or even a great many people suffer extreme trauma/abuse and have never had to see a psychiatrist is perhaps a testament to healthy life-style, good relationships  etc being protective factors.

What I have consistently noticed is that those who feel they were traumatized/abused who then went on to make poor lifestyle choices and without the right support things got worse for them.

Poor lifestyle choices? I read an article this morning about some mental health issues causing sufferers to die 25 years earlier and the likelihood that this is largely as a result of psychiatric drugs and not just a direct result from poor mental health and poor lifestyle choices.

Summary: Trauma/abuse with insufficient support > poor lifestyle choices > poor chemistry > stress > diagnosis > a need to discuss earlier problems which may be to do with past events OR maybe what I help people with, which is in addressing current lifestyle to correct biochemistry without the need for DSM-5.


Petitions against #DSM5 #DSM-5

There are probably lots of these petitions underway now. I just want re-blog the link to the one Jeff mentioned as the link did not work for everyone first time around.

#DSM5 – far too many labels

There have been lots of stories about the long-awaited or long dreaded DSM5.

This is the new version of the American Diagnostics Manual that is likely to be used all over the world to match human emotions to psychiatric labels that allow drugs to be dispensed and so keep psychiatry going a bit longer.

Here is just one of those stories being retold here by Kit Johnson…

Is the APA’s latest DSM-5 deliberation a step too far?

In a word – YES!

It would seem the American Psychiatric Associations latest move with DSM-5  is to classify bereavement as depression, or rather, more vaguely, in typical obfuscation, grief will no longer disqualify you from being diagnosed with depression.

Has it really come to this? Normal events – which sadly for most of us includes bereavement – are no longer safe from more ‘scary’ diagnoses.

You may feel I’m overreacting, but if you find yourself seriously knocked senseless with grief and one weeps a bit too much, for a bit too long, ergo you can be classed as depressed and indeed, mentally ill.

And if you are diagnosed as mentally ill by your physician it can carry all sorts of long-term implications, effectively barring you from many aspect of civil life – like say Jury Service.

So as well as coping with losing a loved one, you may just discover, months or years later, when you’ve recovered, that a new Doctor says ‘I see that you were diagnosed with depression in 2013’

Does it matter? Well yes it might if you are refused life insurance or medical insurance because of that diagnosis. A casual chat with your Doctor might have significant and negative implications for years after.

Remember that in many Western countries Doctors are paid for delivering medical solutions, so don’t be surprised to learn that the ‘medicalisation’ of social matters like bereavement is tempting in the extreme. It’s certainly in the interests of the Pharmaceutical industry to have things presented as medical problems.

Bereavement is part of life, as is feeling anxious, hopeless and feeble sometimes. Most work their way through it. There is a marked difference to full-blown depression.

No bloody wonder the DSM-5 manual threatens to become thicker than the Hong Kong phone directory.

Apologies to those ‘ good Psychiatrists’ out there, and I know there are many, but what I do know too, from my followers and all my social media, is that the profession does not enjoy universal support. In fact a straw poll tells me at least 60 to 70% of those I know, have very little time for the profession.

When you look at DSM-5 it’s no wonder.

The above was originally blogged here: Kit Johnson

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