Yes, the headline could sound like hyperbole, but profound criticism of the ways in which psychiatric diagnoses are being applied is now coming from one of the leading bodies in the mental health profession. Moreover, this is more than a challenge to the theoretical underpinnings of modern psychiatry, since the widely accepted views about the nature of major disorders are bound together with assumptions about how they should be treated.
In the Soviet Union, psychiatry became a tool of political oppression used to silence political dissent. In the United States, psychiatry operates in the service of the pharmaceutical industry leading to anti-psychotic drugs having become the top-selling class of drugs.
Abilify, a drug developed to treat schizophrenia, is currently the top selling drug in this country — which does not mean that schizophrenia is the most common illness but rather that so-called “off label” prescribing has been promoted heavily and very effectively by the industry.
In what seems indicative of institutional fraud, linking psychiatry, the pharmaceutical industry, and government, there has been a fivefold increase in the prescribing of antipsychotic drugs being administered to children on Medicaid between the ages of 2-17. Many of these children are being drugged, even when so-called care providers are fully aware that their problems are social, not psychiatric — for instance, from suffering the effects of poverty or family problems. In other words, children who are the victims of the ills of society are being given emotional pain-killers whose purpose is to render them incapable of having feelings, and the drugs they are given dull their capacity to have any feelings — not just painful ones. Frequently they cause what becomes a cascade of unintended effects — effects which then get treated by additional drugs.
In the Soviet Union, no one was likely to be abused by the psychiatric system before they reached adulthood, while in America, millions of children are now being drugged by a system of care that has been corrupted by the interests of profit.
The Guardian reports: There is no scientific evidence that psychiatric diagnoses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are valid or useful, according to the leading body representing Britain’s clinical psychologists.
In a groundbreaking move that has already prompted a fierce backlash from psychiatrists, the British Psychological Society’s division of clinical psychology (DCP) will on Monday issue a statement declaring that, given the lack of evidence, it is time for a “paradigm shift” in how the issues of mental health are understood. The statement effectively casts doubt on psychiatry’s predominantly biomedical model of mental distress – the idea that people are suffering from illnesses that are treatable by doctors using drugs. The DCP said its decision to speak out “reflects fundamental concerns about the development, personal impact and core assumptions of the (diagnosis) systems”, used by psychiatry.
Dr Lucy Johnstone, a consultant clinical psychologist who helped draw up the DCP’s statement, said it was unhelpful to see mental health issues as illnesses with biological causes.
“On the contrary, there is now overwhelming evidence that people break down as a result of a complex mix of social and psychological circumstances – bereavement and loss, poverty and discrimination, trauma and abuse,” Johnstone said. The provocative statement by the DCP has been timed to come out shortly before the release of DSM-5, the fifth edition of the American Psychiatry Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
The manual has been attacked for expanding the range of mental health issues that are classified as disorders. For example, the fifth edition of the book, the first for two decades, will classify manifestations of grief, temper tantrums and worrying about physical ill-health as the mental illnesses of major depressive disorder, disruptive mood dysregulation disorder and somatic symptom disorder, respectively. [Continue reading…]