Note: Links left out in the first version are provided now, and the date of Mr. Insel’s letter to which the post refers was corrected.
The DSM-5 can be considered the watershed of psychiatry. The old psychiatry’s shelf-life has expired. The new psychiatry was born on April 29, 2013.
For many years, since the 1960s, people who have been the recipients of psychiatric ‘treatment’ (voluntarily or against their consent) have said that there is no mental illness, at least as defined by the APA, that psychiatric diagnosis are not based on real science, and that the DSM is bunch of labels with no lab tests to back them up. Do you agree with those claims?
Most in the American public sees these people as anti-psychiatry fanatics who attack the profession because they don’t want to take their meds. Do you agree with those claims?
If you disagreed with the claims in the first paragraph and agreed with the second, I have a doozy coming up for you. Because, out of a sudden, on April 29, 2013, two weeks before the roll out of the APA’s new DSM-5, out of the NIMH cavern came this elephant noisily stepping all over the old psychiatry. The elephant’s name is Thomas Insel, Director of the NIMH who on that day made the following statement:
“While DSM has been described as a “Bible” for the field, it is, at best, a dictionary, creating a set of labels and defining each. The weakness [of the manual] is its lack of validity…the DSM diagnoses are based on a consensus about clusters of clinical symptoms, not any objective laboratory measure… That is why NIMH will be re-orienting its research away from DSM categories.” Transforming Diagnosis
Wow! Is this guy an anti-psychiatry fanatic who doesn’t want to take his meds? For how long have we been saying this??
All these years we have been walking around stigmatized with INVALID, UNSCIENTIFIC diagnosis but no one believed us. Can we NOW finally say it safely: the psychiatric system is a SCAM? Can you all finally see that your emperor has no clothes?
A more important question would be Why is this man saying this? Insel has been in the board of the APA’s DSM committee and has approved previous versions, but he never before made statements like those. He actually has protected the APA and stand for all those crazy diagnosis contained in the DSM. He has contributed to our stigmatization and poisoning with psychiatric drugs.
So, before you go on cheering for him for his seemingly anti-DSM position, take a pause. The waters of the psychiatric profession are too muddled now to see what’s really going on at the bottom. With some life experience, common sense and political acumen, you can discern the feeding frenzy going on below the waters.
Insel must have known that his statement was going to be, as it was, like a tsunami in the psychiatric and mental health communities. To move away from the DSM, as he said, is like proposing the CHINESE CULTURAL REVOLUTION in the USA.
For the last 60 years, at least, EVERYTHING from the psychiatric labels, to the laws that limit the civil rights of people with mental “illness”, to which drugs/narcotics the government will subsidize, to states and national mental health policies, to where research money goes, to how our culture perceives and understand mental illness and the people afflicted with it, all this have been deeply influenced and defined by the APA+ DSM. That’s why they call their book a bible: is the voice of our psychiatry god, it DEFINES NORMALCY for us, and consequently, many of our moral values.
If you ditch this book to promote the new classification system for psychiatric ‘illnesses’ (in his blog Insel stated that “we are creating a new nosology”), our society has to be re-trained to think of mental illness in a different way, don’t you agree? You better agree, because this is what he said:
“A rethink is needed in terms of how we view mental illness.” Mental Disorders as Brain Disorders-Thomas Insel at TEDxCalTech
And what is that “rethinking”? That
“…mental disorders are brain circuit problems”
“…mental illness is referred to either as a mental or behavioral disorder. We need to think of these as brain disorders.” [same link]
Basically the new thinking is that there is no mental illness.
WHAT?! Mental illness doesn’t exist!!?? Where is this radical concept coming from? Funny ‘cause many in the anti-psychiatric movement have been saying that too for many years. What is he going to put in the place of the DSM? Part of the answers are in that May 16 statement.
As he said, the DSM is not valid because it is NOT based on science; there are no “objective lab measures” to back it up. Something that is not based on science can be done by just about ANYONE.
That’s the first and most important draw back of the DSM these days, that treating mental illness can be done by just about anyone. This guy, Bruce Cuthbert, Ph. D., the director of the Division of Adult Translational Research at the National Institute of Mental Health, state it pretty clear:
“…there is a rich research foundation showing that non-medication treatments — such as psychotherapy — work equally well (if not better) for the treatment of many mental disorders. If these were pure medical diseases with clear and readily defined biomarkers, that shouldn’t be the case. After all, positive thinking can’t cure cancer.” http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/05/07/did-the-nimh-withdraw-support-for-the-dsm-5-no/
It has got to hurt, be embarrassing to both the APA and the pharma that EVEN psychotherapists, social workers, santería, Garry Null and all those bums on a T shirt without an Md degree can do the job BETTER.
It is PRECISESLY that fact which makes it difficult to justify spending millions of tax payer’s $$ in researching drug efficacy when just talking does the job. Another embarrassment is this statement by our friend Bruce:
“Pharmaceutical companies say that, on average, a marketed psychiatric drug is efficacious in approximately half of the patients who take it.” [same link]
Of course, in their TV ads, Zoloft and other brands don’t include in the 1/2 minute list of things that can go wrong if you take their drugs the fact that chances are the drug will not have the effect advertised, but you could get a heart attack or go off on a killing rampage from it .
The public is on to the scam and are questioning the pharma based on all those mass murders by individuals on psychiatric drugs; drugs which have the potential to cause increase in violent and suicide behaviors but the pahrma has been hiding those facts from the public for years.
All this leads to the logical conclusion: the biochemical-imbalance model of mental illness, the marriage between pharma and the APA, is
OUTDATED, it leaves the ‘profession’ looking ancient, without pedigree, corrupt and without authority to dictate our social and personal mental and behavioral values. In the words of that NIMH’s elephant, that model is
“an impediment to progress”. [same link]
Of course, the progress he refers to here is more like the progress to rule our minds. The problem with his statement is that nothing will change for the public for the better with his new psychiatry, with his new “medical experimentation”. More on this tomorrow.
The old psychiatry has to go, it has to be sacrificed to the god of science,
neuroscience, if the pharma and ‘scientists’ want to continue to be perceived as the ONLY authority to dictate our mental health policies. At stake are: the billions of dollars we pay for research, political power, prestige, control over social perceptions about psychiatric science and the pharma, etc. etc. etc.
That has been the ‘modern’ psychiatry professionals struggle since the 1800s, to be accepted as a branch of medicine and science. The medical profession has perennially looked at psychiatrist with scorn, as not been any different than the priests and exorcists of the past.
The APA was given a new lease on life. It either joins ‘the modern times’ or succumb to the weight of its own lies.
Either way we will continue to swallow the placebo.
Tomorrow in part 2: neuroscience, the new lobotomies, experimentation on humans.