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Ellen042

Bona fide emotional pain or clinical depression? Are any psychiatric conditions real?

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Ellen042

I would be the poster child for physical illness causing mental illness.  Chiari, Lyme, and dysautonomia can EACH cause insomnia, anxiety, and depression, not to mention all three going on in the same person!  I'm availing myself to the best medical care available for each of these illnesses, with the exception of more skull surgery.  My point is that there is no cure for any of the three physical illnesses I have.  The best that can be done is to keep them from getting worse and treating the symptoms.  And some of those symptoms are indeed psychiatric.  I am very thankful for all the medicine I'm taking, with the exception of trazodone.  That's why I'm on this site: to get off trazodone.  So I second your opinion, but at the same time have some drugs that I'm thankful for, and one drug that I hate.  This makes my situation complex, as I can never really tell whether I'm getting anxiety and depression when I cut my trazodone by the wrong amount as a withdrawal effect of as a legit illness.  So yet again, I'm a proponent of looking at the big picture rather than just one angle of the elephant.  And to me, part of that big picture is the possibility of mental illness. 

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Barbarannamated

Ellen,

 

You were very fortunate to have had all those diagnosed prior to being written off and loaded with psych meds. Imagine going for 15 -20 years being treated with 20-30 different drugs similar to trazodone, going thru many switches and withdrawals (not knowing it was w/d causing your new symptoms) and THEN finding out that these medical illnesses had gone undiagnosed while you're hospitalized against your will for psychiatric symptoms. This is not an unusual scenario.

 

Currently I'm awaiting news from a panel of neuroradiologists at a medical school near me to determine what has caused damage to my brain as shown on MRI.

 

MANY people are walking around with undiagnosed Lyme and dysautonomia while being treated solely as psych patients. From my limited knowledge of Chiari, that's a bit more clear cut..?

 

I believe, technically, you should be coded diagnostically as having symptoms secondary to medical illnesses. It may sound like splitting hairs, but from someone whose underlying medical illnesses were discovered AFTER 17 years of psych maltreatment, hospitalization, total disability at 39 (physical, at least in part due to drugs), loss of life as I knew it... it makes a difference. The psych drugs never helped and deteriorated my condition over the years.

 

* Any anger you sense is not directed at you, but at the many many doctors and medical system that has stolen so much from me and many others.

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Ellen042

Wow, Barbarannamated, I'm so very sorry!  That's an incredibly long time to go undiagnosed! Now I see why you are focused on physical illness causing mental illness.  Yes, I was very blessed to have all three of my physical illnesses diagnosed before being written off as crazy.  In my case, the psychiatric drugs I was put on for my physical illnesses are the same ones I take today and that have worked for me from day one and that I'm thankful for.  Now that you mention it, the one drug that is giving me heck was prescribed by a shrink- not by my neurosurgeon, my dysautonomia specialist, or my lyme specialist.  So maybe I was prescribed the RIGHT drugs, with the exception of trazodone, precisely because the big picture was taken into account: my physical illness was recognized as the cause of my mental illness.  Makes me wish I had never seen a shrink for insomnia when I was going through my divorce.  Then I wouldn't be in this trazodone nightmare.  Overall, I guess I'm still an advocate of looking at ALL possible causes for our symptoms.  That's the best way to get to the root cause and find the quickest, most effective solution for each person.

 

Maybe one reason so few want to talk about the possibility of real psychiatric illness is that they've been somehow looked down upon by doctors.  That hadn't occurred to me.  You're right: I was blessed to have doctors look at the big picture for me from the start.  Maybe doctors have been so focused on psychiatric illness in others that many here feel the need to balance things out by not addressing the possibility of mental illness at all.  So sorry if that's the case for you, and I'm sorry to have been so blind as to why I'm striking a nerve when I mention drugs helping me or admitting my own psychiatric illness.  Perhaps the outrage is directed more at shrinks than at drugs or at mental illness.  If that's the case, count me in!  I'm not mad at trazodone, and I'm not mad about having real, very real, psychiatric symptoms, I'm just pi**** at that darn shrink for haphazardly slapping me with a drug that does vastly more harm than good, BECAUSE SHE DIDN'T LOOK AT THE BIG PICTURE.  She just assumed that if I was in her office she couldn't go wrong by prescribing any old psyc drug for me rather than the right psyc drug.  Am I getting it now, or do most of you still hold that mental illness is rarely if ever real?

 

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Barbarannamated

I still strongly believe that mental illness /psychiatric conditions are grossly over diagnosed and treated. I worked with psychiatric researchers prior to my disabling condition and see now how they tried to fit just about every symptom into a diagnostic category that could be treated with medication. The pharma industry pays the researchers. True in all disciplines. But psychiatry is the only "specialty" that has no objective measures, lab testing, scans, etc. The DSM has expanded over the years to about 4-5x its original size. This is not to say the feelings are not real. They are. But they are often due to situational conditions, grief, menopause.... things that are part of life but are now treated as permanent, lifeling disorders. The drugs, as you know, are not innocuous and have been shown to worsen conditions and longterm outcomes.

 

I suggest you read Robert Whitaker's Anatomy of an Epidemic. My husband is an MD and was astounded by the information on the fraudulent medical research in psychiatry.

 

This is not to say there are not cases in which judicious usage of medication is justified.

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Aria

I do think there are psychiatric illnesses and that they can be profound. What I have realized is many many innocent people were wrongly diagnosed and medicated. I originally went to the psych doc after having a serious and painful auto accident making me unable to sleep. I didn't know I end up with numerous psychiatric diagnoses and later be told I'd never been mentally ill. So how did I go for years taking dangerous drugs I didn't need with wrong diagnoses?? One word: psychiatry.

 

I agree with Barb...have your psych diagnoses secondary to having a physical illness. We all have levels of anxiety, trouble sleeping, get upset or depressed but this in its self is not a reason to be diagnosed as mentally ill. I see you consider your issues to be a mental illness?? Having sleep and anxiety issues isn't really a good enough reason (to me) for you to be labeled this way? I don't mean to sound harsh just concerned. I would think feeling this way would be natural considering what you yourself have gone through and no reason to be labeled as such. I have a progressive neuro muscular disease and I gladly handle my sleep issues (due to this disease) drug free because I know why I'm not sleeping and also know any psychiatric drugs for me are heinously dangerous.

 

Please be careful of taking psych drugs when you already have an physical illness(es). These drugs can cause you to act differently and you/your family may not know it's the drugs not you. I do know of some who are grateful they can take certain psych meds but not many. Can you get the meds you need from a family doc instead of seeing the pdoc?? The family doc should understand more and be prone to listen why you're feeling anxious rather than it as separate illness.

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Ellen042

Will definitely read. In the meantime I'm still thankful for nortriptyline and Klonopin.  I need them just as much as I need my antibiotics, antimalarials, and midodrine.  I'm convinced that without my medicine I wouldn't be alive.  I'm not ashamed of my psychiatric illness either.  It's not who I am; it's merely a disease that I suffer. So long as I'm never required to see a shrink, I'm OK letting everyone have their own opinion.  I just reserve the right to disagree, and I disagree with anyone who says I don't have anxiety, insomnia, and depression or that I don't need to be treated.  For me, dismissing my illness hurts, as I'm so frequently suspected of being a malingerer when it comes to my physical illnesses.  I don't look sick.  Therefore, I must not BE sick, therefore I must be a lazy complainer.  Unlike most on this forum, my complaints are more often dismissed by doctors than exaggerated or fabricated.  Guess we all have our own experiences coloring our own opinions about sickness.  The worst part of all for me is that though I'm a Christian,  I frequently hear that if I had enough faith I'd be healed.  The spiritual condemnation and lack of compassion is worse than any medical mismanagement I've suffered.  But that's another story in itself...

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Barbarannamated

Ellen,

 

This comment is a common problem with people who have mental illness diagnoses:

 

".... I'm so frequently suspected of being a malingerer when it comes to my physical illnesses.  I don't look sick.  Therefore, I must not BE sick, therefore I must be a lazy complainer."

 

Quite often, people with psychiatric diagnoses are not taken seriously by medical doctors and accused of malingering or somaticising. Their physical complaints are attributed to the psychiatric illness. I'm VERY sorry you've experienced this hurtful and demoralizing practice.

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Ellen042

Aria, sorry- I posted my last reply before reading yours.  Don't want you to think I was coming down on you!  Thank you for your compassion.  Yes, my cardiologist (dysautonomia specialist), infectious disease specialist, and neurosurgeon are the ones who prescribe all my medicines.  Where I ran into trouble was visiting a shrink of my own accord when I couldn't sleep and was prescribed that awful trazodone that I'm now weaning off.  I agree.  The psychiatrist was the one who messed me up, not my sweet and understanding other doctors.  I'm not ever going back to a shrink.  That was my one big mistake.  Otherwise, medicine has treated me well. 

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Altostrata

One thing that is absolutely true: If you believe you have a psychiatric disorder, it is trivially easy to get a doctor to agree with you and make it official.

 

As far as the official site stand on "depression": As explained in many posts, historically there was condition of clinical depression that was profound and incapacitating. (Even so, it had a high rate of spontaneous recovery after some months.) In the last 30 years, mostly because of drug company activity, forms of normal distress or unease have come to be diagnosed as "depression" and treated with psychoactive drugs known as "antidepressants." http://1boringoldman.com

has many detailed discussions by eminent psychiatrists about diagnosis creep in "depression."

 

Consequently, diagnosis of "depression" has ballooned, as have "bipolar disorder" (historically a very severe manic-depressive pattern, now just about anything), "ADHD" (formerly called boredom or inattentiveness or just not being very good at school), "social anxiety" (shyness or introversion), and so forth. Many books have been written about this.

 

Currently, the DSM-5, the latest diagnostic manual from the American Psychiatric Association, is the subject of enormous controversy, so much so that this may be the last such published.

 

Not coincidentally, enormous overprescription of psychiatric drugs has accompanied the diagnosis of all of these recently invented conditions. This is apparent in statistics collected by government organizations in the US (CDC), UK, and elsewhere in the world. It's not a secret or a myth.

 

Are ANY psychiatric conditions real? I believe that such psychiatric conditions that are "real" affect a small percentage of those diagnosed with psychiatric disorders. And even in those conditions, much can be treated effectively with non-drug therapies, minimizing the use of drugs.

 

Under any circumstance, calling a psychiatric condition a "disease" is, at best, a figure of speech.

 

Given the odds, most people on this site do not have "real" psychiatric conditions. They have suffered normal wear and tear and fallen down the psychiatric rabbit hole into elaborate diagnoses and harmful drug regimens that have been inadequately monitored by their physicians. For anyone who has gone down that rabbit hole, it's painful to realize how the treatment has been a sham.

 

However, if you wish to claim a psychiatric diagnosis as your own, feel free to do so. This site focuses on tapering and doesn't discuss diagnosis much, it's not relevant to what we do. We believe it's up to the individual to find his or her own way towards psychological or spiritual wholeness. Acknowledging the truth is important to that. There are many support sites where people enthusiastically compare their diagnoses and drug cocktails. This isn't one of them.

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Altostrata

....Whenever I explain SA to someone, I say, "Psychiatry made the wrong lady mad.":). She doesn't have her avatar for nothing!

:D

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Ellen042

Are you saying, Alto, that psychiatrists are the problem- not illnesses or drugs in and of themselves?  Do you believe that any psychiatric conditions are real?  You're leading sheep here, so naturally I'm wondering your views as well. 

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Ellen042

Oops, didn't see your first reply.  About to read now.  Please disreguard my questions if already answered.  Thanks for taking the time to write even over Christmas.  Blessings, Ellen

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Ellen042

OK- read reply.  Good thing I asked my original question!

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Newbeginning

It's part of human nature to base our perception on our own experiences and pay less attention to alternative explanations. For someone who never had severe depression or anxiety before using drugs, their estimate of how prevalent depression is will be lower than that of someone who has experienced depression before they even tried drugs or who never used drugs.

 

One can't dispute that these conditions are overdiagnosed or that diagnostic categories are, at the end of the day, based on arbitrarily set cut offs. On the other hand, I don't see any evidence that "most" mental illness is a pathologizing of normal suffering or an artifact of diagnosis. I understand that the rates have increased since the arrival of psychiatry, but correlation is not causality. Just because two things happen at the same time, it doesn't mean one causes the other. There could be a lot of other explanations for that.

 

Is it possible that antidepressant use has increased the chronicity of depression? Yes, it's possible and some evidence points to that. Does that mean "most" depression is the result of antidepressant use? Not really. We don't have enough evidence to conclude that.

 

One thing that some researchers/clinicians have hypothesized, which also rings true to my own experience and that of people I know, is that the risk of developing withdrawal or an iatrogenic reaction to SSRIs is higher when someone who does not have severe depression is treated with these drugs. The same applies if the drugs continue to be taken when they are not helping or are no longer needed or in a dose much higher than needed. This makes intuitive sense since trying to fix something that is not broken runs the risk of breaking it.

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Altostrata

Merged similar topics.

 

In re-reading this conversation, I find it just as interesting as ever. A few observations:

 

There has been a trend in medicine for a while to find illness (or "inflammation") causes "depression." This line of thinking does not differentiate between bona fide distress and genuinely feeling crummy because you're sick -- a very understandable, normal situational emotional state -- and a psychiatric illness.

 

If you are ill and feel down, my belief is you need to learn self-help techniques to ease symptoms, physical and emotional, and emotional support for going through a bad time.

 

If you want to take a psychiatric drug to wall off your distress and pain, there's no shame in that. Be aware that's what you're doing, you don't necessarily suffer from a psychiatric disorder.

 

Despite the general outlook in many wealthy countries that if you do it right, you're on Easy Street, life can be difficult. That is also normal. Some of us will get bad cards in the Game of Life. This has always been part of the human condition.

 

We're constantly reminded through mass media that other people -- actors in fictional scenarios -- are doing much better, laughing and having a great time in pretty locales, and we feel so much the worse for comparing ourselves with an ideal that's been manufactured to sell us stuff to make us feel we're closer to that ideal. Our cultures manufacture competition, shame, guilt, despair, and depression rather than teaching acceptance, self-care, creativity, and community.

 

When coming off psychiatric drugs, one of the things people find hardest to deal with is that they're even farther from this ideal than they were. They may be coping with withdrawal symptoms, including a resurgence of shame, guilt, despair, depression etc., some of which is generated from the stressed nervous system itself. And some might be situational as well -- while tapering, you might be going through a type of illness.

 

None of us is prepared for this kind of adversity and we are often told by our families, the medical establishment, and society in general that we need fixing -- again, to attain that fictitious ideal of constant cheerfulness, high energy, and ultimate success. This adds to the stress.

 

Going off psychiatric drugs requires you to reject many common assumptions and possibly change your way of life and how you think about yourself. You might also be a different person in your close relationships. Few of us are prepared for this kind of evolution but on this site, we see people doing it every day. And it's a wonder.

 

That said, my belief is there are a small minority of people who have hormonal imbalances or other neurophysiological conditions that cause profound psychological symptoms that they cannot overcome. (The diagnosis for these people used to be "major depression" but now that's applied to everyone who's a little down, to justify drug prescription.) To my mind, psychiatry should be focusing on these people and others in extreme states, to develop compassionate, minimally invasive treatments, instead of trying to make everyone bright and shiny with drugs.

 

So, yes, there is a small minority of people who truly have a deep, immovable depression, and going off drugs is not going to change that.

 

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Dan998

 

I believe that many of the so-called mental illnesses are a manifestation of the defective society that the global corporations have created for us. 

 

One definition of depression is an absence of hope. It is easy to see why some people feel that the only way to cope with such a hopeless situation is to deny reality and numb themselves to all feelings with psychiatric medications. 

 

Edited by Dan998

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Petunia

I don't think any psychiatric diagnosis is valid. Perhaps I would make an exception for PTSD though. The rest of them are just descriptive, describing symptoms or groups of symptoms, for which a drug, or combination of drugs can be given, to suppress those particular symptoms. A mental illness diagnosis doesn't point to a cause of the symptoms, it classifies the symptoms and assigns a label based on invented illnesses which were voted into existence. There is no real science in psychiatry, no proof of any illness, its not real medicine. The treatments are not cures, they suppress emotions, behaviors and thoughts, the good ones along with the unwanted ones, causing all kinds of harm, which gets worse over time. Mental illness is a brilliant invention for the creation of lifetime customers for psychiatrists and pharmaceutical companies because patients slowly get sicker over time and become increasingly more dependent on the drugs in order to keep functioning.

 

Emotional pain is real, and there is always a cause, even if its not obvious. An invented label and a hand full of pills does nothing to locate the real cause and even worse, it discourages the search for that cause, for which a lasting, safe solution might be found.

 

Often, the source of persistent painful emotions can be found in early childhood, where unrecognized trauma is common.

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bubbles
44 minutes ago, Petunia said:

The rest of them are just descriptive, describing symptoms or groups of symptom

 

 

Yes. I think of it as going to the doctor complaining of a sore leg, to be diagnosed with "sore leg syndrome". It tells us nothing of why the pain is there, or an appropriate solution.

 

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marconyc

I found these two articles, which I think have something to say about emotional pain and mental illness. The first one argues that a "psychological injury" model of mental illness makes more sense than a "chemical imbalance" model. The second one describes depression as a stress response. I think both of them offer alternatives to the chemical imbalance theory and are empowering in that they imply medication isn't the only way to heal:

 

https://www.madinamerica.com/2019/01/psychological-injury-model/

 

https://www.madinamerica.com/2019/01/traumatic-immobility-depression-stress-response/

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Kittygiggles

This thread contains insensitive oversimplifications of various mental pathologies or denials of their existence, perhaps to serve solely as a denigration of psychiatry, by which many posters here have been harmed. This is understandable and it is no surprise to see such opinions on such a website. I disagree with such perspectives as they reek of pseudoscience and display ignorance of evolutionary psychology. Despite my perspective that many clinical diagnoses are valid, I consider some to be invalid. Clinical psychology has merit but I can see that it has the potential to cause harm, perhaps through the diagnosis of adaptive emotional states as pathologies, and the subsequent prescription of destructive remedies.

 

Clinical and evolutionary psychology are ambitious - the human mind is inherently complex. I have little to say about psychiatry but what I will say I will limit to my experience with it: SSRIs do not treat OCD, or do little for it, if at all. I had OCD, I was helped by clinical psychology and CBT, and now I am cured. Psychiatry harmed me but clinical psychology helped me. That is my bias. Even so, I would not rule out the use of SSRIs for all people but I would caution against their use by referring to the studies that demonstrate their side effects and recommend them to be used only as a last resort; flooding the body with serotonin still seems like a terrible, destructive thing to do and there seems little to no upside.

 

Another point to consider for those who say mental illness is an invention: was my OCD and the mental illnesses of all people who were helped by CBT, invented, in order to sell CBT books or 8 to 12 week talking-therapy courses? If so, then I'm down about $20 for a book I didn't need apparently! Maybe I should have just embraced my OCD and let it destroy my life completely, go figure!

 

It seems increasingly prolific now to voice contrary, extreme opinions as substitutes for thinking rationally. It feeds the notion that every idea that anyone conjures is worthy of discussion and consideration, like the shape of the earth (an oblate spheroid), or whether people ever visited the moon via space travel (some brave humans did). 

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