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McLaren, 2016 Psychiatry as bullsh*t


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Author: McLaren, Niall

 

Source: Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry, Volume 18, Number 1, 2016, pp. 48-57(10)

 

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1891/1559-4343.18.1.48

 

Publication date: April 1, 2016

  Title: Psychiatry as bullsh*t

 

Abstract:

Objective: As part of the philosophical project of distinguishing science and nonscience, an ancient concept, bullsh*t, has recently been redefined and explored. This is not science or does it meet a strict definition of pseudoscience. This article explores the extent to which this concept pervades psychiatry. Conclusion: By even the most charitable interpretation of the concept, the institution of modern psychiatry is replete with bullsh*t.

http://www.ingentaconnect.com/contentone/springer/ehpp/2016/00000018/00000001/art00007

 

 

CONCLUSION
The renowned cosmologist, Carl Sagan (1996), said, “. . . at the heart of science is an
essential balance between two seemingly contradictory attitudes—an openness to new ideas, no matter how bizarre or counterintuitive, and the most ruthlessly sceptical scrutiny of all ideas, old and new. This is how deep truths are winnowed from deep nonsense.”

Psychiatry, as I have briefly shown, is stuffed full of “deep nonsense,” better known
as bullsh*t.

 

I believe it is now appropriate to label the drive to find a biological basis for mental disorder as pseudoscience, just because the huge endeavor hangs from little more than blind hope. It would be very nice to see psychiatrists expose their own ideas to “the most ruthlessly skeptical scrutiny” but there are now so many academic and other careers dependent on this industry that it would take a revolution to clear the air.
 

Using a series of case examples McLaren argues that psychiatry is especially stuffed with bullsh*t.

 

McLaren opens with a reference to the Princeton philosopher Harry Frankfurt and his now famous article from a 1986 debate republished in 2005 on a branch of nonscience termed in Greek skatou taurou.

 

“One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullsh*t. Everyone knows this” (Frankfurt, 1986). After analyzing the various elements involved, he concluded that bullsh*t is neither pseudoscience nor fraud but constitutes a field in its own right. The liar, he argued, is intimately concerned with the truth.

He knows the truth but he hopes to lead us away from it and from the fact that he knows it:
Telling a lie is an act with a sharp focus. It is designed to insert a particular falsehood at a specific
point in a set or system of beliefs, in order to avoid the consequences of having that point occupied
by the truth. This requires a degree of craftsmanship . . .

 

Although lying is subject to “. . . austere and rigorous demands . . . ,” the “bullsh*t artist,” on the other hand, has no regard for the truth. His productions are “. . . more
expansive and independent, with mare spacious opportunities for improvisation, color, and imaginative play. This is less a matter of craft than of art.” As such, they are neither necessarily true nor necessarily false but are designed to create a particular impression in the audience. bullsh*t is “expansive and creative,” which is possibly why we do not regard it as so malevolent as an outright lie. We are enraged if we believe somebody is lying to us but we tend to be amused or disdainful, or at least less fussed, if we determine the speaker is simply “spinning a line of bull.”

 

 

....Selections from the paper.......

 

Biological Psychiatry

McLaren posits two reasons why eminent people have not done their homework, being

1. The fable of the Emperors new drugs germane - the tendancy to not appear foolish by revealing ignorance, and

2. The Campers Nightmare- "But i thought you were bringing the can opener."

In the corridors of psychiatric power, everybody assumes somebody else has shown that mental activity can properly be seen as neural activity, amenable to investigation by scanners, genetic studies, and the like.

This assumption is wholly without warrant. It matters not that every senior psychiatrist in the world appears to believe the claim, it remains bullsh*t of the very highest order, worse because it is embraced by the people who like to see themselves as “key opinion leaders.” The higher one goes up the academic ladder, the heavier the burden of responsibility to ensure that the basic facts are in place.
 

The Biopsychosocial Model

I believe the illusory “biopsychosocial model” lulls our trainees and junior psychiatrists into believing that there is a model “somewhere” and they don’t have to think too hard about the critical issues because they have all been sorted out by much smarter people. I am of the view that this is bullsh*t of a very
high order. Not formal deception, as Frankfurt defined it, just the fear of questioning the status quo (again) mated to a desperate need to conceal psychiatry’s intellectual inadequacies.

 

A Chemical Imbalance

This trope has gained ground and is bandied around in the daily press, on TV and the internet.

 

Joanna Moncrieff is perfectly blunt: "For decades now, people have been told that depression is a chemical imbalance and that antidepressants work by correcting that imbalance. This view is not supported by evidence, and is misleading as to the nature and effects of antidepressant drugs"(Moncrieff, 2015, p. 303).

 

Instead, we have clear evidence that psychiatry is colonizing, as it were, normal psychological
states and reactions and claiming them as “mental illnesses” (Horwitz & Wakefield,
2007; Whitaker, 2009; Whitely, 2010).

 

A state of discomfort, such as grief, is converted by fiat to “a mental disease” for which drugs are de rigueur, but that is not the point here.
We can presume patients and the general public did not invent the expression “chemical imbalance of the brain” to describe the cause of the various mental disorders. We can be fairly sure it did not come from the older psychiatrists trained in psychoanalytic or other psychodynamic approaches, nor the few who wholeheartedly adopted the behaviorist model. By a process of exclusion, it had to arise in the complex of academic psychiatrists and drug companies who so strongly advocated the biological model (Whitaker & Cosgrove, 2015).

 

One thing psychiatrists never do is talk about their ghastly past. (Whitaker 2002)
 

PSYCHIATRIC MEDICATION

 

Take away the drugs and ECT and what does psychiatry have left?

 

The general public, governments, and funding agencies have been convinced that the correct response to feeling a bit off color is to reach for the pill bottle.

 

I have summarized (McLaren, 2012) how the levels of disability caused by mental disorders are tracking remorselessly higher, for example:

In the UK, the number of days of disability due to depression and neurotic disorders rose from
38 million in 1984 to 117 million in 1995, i.e. far from causing an improvement, the rapidly growing
use of antidepressants was associated with 200% increase in disability.

 

For decades, doctors have been subject to a tidal wave of disinformation regarding psychiatric
drugs.

 

We are told they are “safe, effective, nonaddictive” so that withholding them is negligent. However, we now know this is false: A prolonged investigation of the so-called Study 329 (Le Noury et al., 2015) has revealed that the manufacturers of the antidepressant paroxetine actually falsified their results so they could make this claim.
In fact, the drug is not safe, it is not effective and it meets every known definition of addictive. The company was fined U.S. $3 billion for this little escapade but it didn’t bother them much, they made more than 10 times that amount from sales. The manufacturers of risperidone, an antipsychotic, did much the same thing (Brill, 2015).

There is now a copious and rapidly growing literature to show that psychiatric drugs are dangerous and ineffective and people who start them seldom manage to get off them.

To cap it off, we know that people who take psychiatric drugs in the long-term die, on average,
19 years younger than their undrugged peers (Frances, 2014).

 

This probably satisfies most definitions of “dangerous.” This is probably outright criminal fraud but the millions of doctors, psychiatrists included, who calmly parroted the drug companies’ propaganda
were, at the very least, guilty of feeding bullsh*t to their patients.

 

THE VERY MODEL OF A MENTAL DISORDER
All fields that claim to be scientific share one feature in common: a model of their field of study. A scientific model must be rational, articulated, publicly available, capable of making testable predictions, and of a form that can be criticized. It is not widely known, certainly not by psychiatrists, that there is currently no model of mental disorder that meets these criteria. Doubters should ask any psychiatrist they meet the following question:

What is the name of the model of mental disorder you use in your daily practice, your teaching,
and research? Specify the original publication in which the model is set out as a series of testable propositions and three seminal works in which its application is tested against the canons of science and in practice.

You will not get an answer, just because there is no such model. That is not entirely the fault of psychiatry; we don’t yet have a model of mental order (otherwise known as a model of mind) so a model of mental disorder is necessarily not in sight. However, psychiatrists always act and speak as though they have a very firm grip on the nature of mental disorder.

 

To paraphrase the Nobel laureate immunologist, Peter Medawar,

 

“they can be excused of dishonesty only on the grounds that, before deceiving others, they have taken great pains to deceive themselves” (Medawar, 1961, p. 106).

...................................................//............................................

Source acknowledged: Skyler

Thought for the day: Lets stand up, and let’s speak out , together. G Olsen

We have until the 14th. Feb 2018. 

URGENT REQUEST Please consider submitting  for the petition on Prescribed Drug Dependence and Withdrawal currently awaiting its third consideration at the Scottish Parliament. You don't even have to be from Scotland. By clicking on the link below you can read some of the previous submissions but be warned many of them are quite harrowing.

http://www.parliament.scot/GettingInvolved/Petitions/PE01651   

Please tell them about your problems taking and withdrawing from antidepressants and/or benzos.

Send by email to petitions@parliament.scot and quote PE01651 in the subject heading. Keep to a maximum of 3 sides of A4 and you can't name for legal reasons any doctor you have consulted. Tell them if you wish to remain anonymous. We need the numbers to help convince the committee members we are not isolated cases. You have until mid February. Thank you

Recovering paxil addict

None of the published articles shed light on what ssri's ... actually do or what their hazards might be. Healy 2013. 

This is so true, with anything you get on these drugs, dependance, tapering, withdrawal symptoms, side effects, just silent. And if there is something mentioned then their is a serious disconnect between what is said and reality! 

  "Every time I read of a multi-person shooting, I always presume that person had just started a SSRI or had just stopped."  Dr Mosher. Me too! 

Over two decades later, the number of antidepressant prescriptions a year is slightly more than the number of people in the Western world. Most (nine out of 10) prescriptions are for patients who faced difficulties on stopping, equating to about a tenth of the population. These patients are often advised to continue treatment because their difficulties indicate they need ongoing treatment, just as a person with diabetes needs insulin. Healy 2015

I believe the ssri era will soon stand as one of the most shameful in the history of medicine. Healy 2015

Let people help people ... in a natural, kind, non-addictive (and non-big pharma) way. J Broadley 2017

 

 

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Thanks for the article nz. I agree with everything in it, and all the information listed is not anything new to us. At least it's getting out in the open, little by little the threads Psychiatry is held up by are being exposed. It's definitely bullsh*t. 

Paxil 20-30mgs since 2004.

Three previous withdrawal attempts 2008,2012 and 2015 all cold turkey.

Reinstated 10mg February 20th 2016

3/20/16-9mg 4/5/16-8mg 5/5/16-7mg 5/25/16-6mg 6/25/16-5mg 8/7/16-updose to 6mg 9/7/16 5.5mg 10/10/16-5mg 11/10/16-4.5mg

One thing that helps me is to see your withdrawal process as your own personal journey. Do not internalize someone else's withdrawal as your own. 

  

"I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better."  - Maya Angelou

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" it would take a revolution to clear the air"

 

Can't wait to breath some fresh air and hope the wait is not much longer. 

 

Great find Nz thanks for posting.

 

WARNING THIS WILL BE LONG
Had a car accident in 85
Codeine was the pain med when I was release from hosp continuous use till 89
Given PROZAC by a specialist to help with nerve pain in my leg 89-90 not sure which year
Was not told a thing about it being a psych med thought it was a pain killer no info about psych side effects I went nuts had hallucinations. As I had a head injury and was diagnosed with a concussion in 85 I was sent to a head injury clinic in 1990 five years after the accident. I don't think they knew I had been on prozac I did not think it a big deal and never did finish the bottle of pills. I had tests of course lots of them. Was put into a pain clinic and given amitriptyline which stopped the withdrawal but had many side effects. But I could sleep something I had not done in a very long time the pain lessened. My mother got cancer in 94 they switched my meds to Zoloft to help deal with this pressure as I was her main care giver she died in 96. I stopped zoloft in 96 had withdrawal was put on paxil went nutty quit it ct put on resperidol quit it ct had withdrawal was put on Effexor... 2years later celexa was added 20mg then increased to 40mg huge personality change went wild. Did too fast taper off Celexa 05 as I felt unwell for a long time prior... quit Effexor 150mg ct 07 found ****** 8 months into withdrawal learned some things was banned from there in 08 have kept learning since. there is really not enough room here to put my history but I have a lot of opinions about a lot of things especially any of the drugs mentioned above.
One thing I would like to add here is this tidbit ALL OPIATES INCREASE SEROTONIN it is not a huge jump to being in chronic pain to being put on an ssri/snri and opiates will affect your antidepressants and your thinking.

As I do not update much I will put my quit date Nov. 17 2007 I quit Effexor cold turkey. 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1096-introducing-myself-btdt/

There is a crack in everything ..That's how the light gets in :)

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Thought of you when i posted this btdt.

New you would like it.

As vigor said nothing new to us.

 

Hey true story....early on in wdl when i was still ignorant but demanding  answers i was sent to a pdoc named Dr Simon Bainbridge. Who said  "If there were problems with people getting off paroxetine people would be suing the drug companies"

I would later to go on in a complaint letter and say this was clearly a doctor who had his initials around the wrong way. Some might say McLaren has proven me to be prophetic!! I'd reply i was just stating the obvious.

 

nz11

Thought for the day: Lets stand up, and let’s speak out , together. G Olsen

We have until the 14th. Feb 2018. 

URGENT REQUEST Please consider submitting  for the petition on Prescribed Drug Dependence and Withdrawal currently awaiting its third consideration at the Scottish Parliament. You don't even have to be from Scotland. By clicking on the link below you can read some of the previous submissions but be warned many of them are quite harrowing.

http://www.parliament.scot/GettingInvolved/Petitions/PE01651   

Please tell them about your problems taking and withdrawing from antidepressants and/or benzos.

Send by email to petitions@parliament.scot and quote PE01651 in the subject heading. Keep to a maximum of 3 sides of A4 and you can't name for legal reasons any doctor you have consulted. Tell them if you wish to remain anonymous. We need the numbers to help convince the committee members we are not isolated cases. You have until mid February. Thank you

Recovering paxil addict

None of the published articles shed light on what ssri's ... actually do or what their hazards might be. Healy 2013. 

This is so true, with anything you get on these drugs, dependance, tapering, withdrawal symptoms, side effects, just silent. And if there is something mentioned then their is a serious disconnect between what is said and reality! 

  "Every time I read of a multi-person shooting, I always presume that person had just started a SSRI or had just stopped."  Dr Mosher. Me too! 

Over two decades later, the number of antidepressant prescriptions a year is slightly more than the number of people in the Western world. Most (nine out of 10) prescriptions are for patients who faced difficulties on stopping, equating to about a tenth of the population. These patients are often advised to continue treatment because their difficulties indicate they need ongoing treatment, just as a person with diabetes needs insulin. Healy 2015

I believe the ssri era will soon stand as one of the most shameful in the history of medicine. Healy 2015

Let people help people ... in a natural, kind, non-addictive (and non-big pharma) way. J Broadley 2017

 

 

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