Is practicing psychiatry a disorder in need of treatment?

HALIFAX, NS, Feb. 21, 2010/ Troy Media/ — Who knew?

Psychiatrists are currently debating whether “sex addiction” should be added to the catalogue of psychological disorders that can be reliably diagnosed and treated.

On the one hand, some are saying that sexual addiction, in the true sense of a diagnosis, is a real disorder and anyone who works with sex addicts know that they have a long array of behaviours. Others, however, believe the term is simply used to excuse bad behaviour.

Next in line will be the Tiger Woods syndrome, along with catastrophic views on the environment, an addiction to Starbucks, liking Barry Manilow and singing the praises of Rush Limbaugh. Soon all of our lives will be illness states, with some of us coping better than others in managing our daily diagnostics and treating ourselves through counselling, psychiatry and self-medication.

Everything is problematic

The quest to add sex addiction to the catalogue of recognized illness states is just a part of the desire of psychiatrists to identify everything as problematic. The handbook for diagnosis, known as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), now in its 4th edition, is the bible of mental illness. If you want to call in sick, go to the library and find a copy – it’s a treasure trove of sick-day opportunities. A new edition, the fifth, is due in 2013.

The DSM itself is problematic. Diagnoses like “homosexuality”, once classified as an illness, come and go depending on societal pressures. By no stretch of the imagination is it a scientific, evidence-based document. This is not surprising. Freud was not a scientist who used evidence and data for his treatment. Now Freud’s ideas have been largely discounted and his diagnostic category of “neurosis” is no longer used. Indeed, several forms of therapy once popular have, on the basis of evidence, been sidelined. What hasn’t been revised is the approach to the definition of mental illness.

There has also been a lot of psychiatric nonsense and billable rubbish, including the recovered memory craze, Satanic abuse confabulations, facilitated communication, multiple personality disorder with up to a hundred or more alternative personalities, including animals. Then there was Harvard psychiatrist John Mack’s gullible speculations about alien abductions – a suitable case for treatment in itself. Some psychiatrists are addicted to revenue and new illness categories “capture” more customers.

Thomas Szasz argued that there was no such thing as mental illness and that psychiatry is largely a fraud. He had many followers. Indeed, fraud and psychiatry sometimes go together. In the 1990’s the medical insurers in the US took Szasz’s claims seriously and started to investigate psychiatric fraud. They looked at 50,000 cases handled by the National Medical Enterprises Corporation’s psychiatric hospitals. What they found was startling: 32.6 per cent contained a fraudulent diagnosis to match insurance coverage, while 43.4 per cent of the cases were billed for services not actually rendered. Is systematic deception to be a new addiction and a new DSM category?

Millions of students are now sent to special education classes or given prescriptions for Ritalin and other powerful, addictive medications for conditions termed “learning disabilities”, dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and attention deficit disorder (ADD). Fred Bauman, M.D., a specialist in child neurology for 35 years, contends that these children are said to have conditions that do not really exist: “I diagnose these children the same way that I diagnose real diseases, such as epilepsy, brain tumours, and so on, and I find that they are normal. I do not find that I can validate the presence of any disease in this population of children,” he said. Some of us went to school before Ritalin was available – when we found ourselves with ADHD we were reassigned to activities which demanded our attention. Now we administer drugs.

Everything is not a form of illness

It’s time to rethink mental illness and to challenge the assumption that everything we do is a form of illness – from eating well (dietary disorder), drinking good wine (alcoholism), needing three cups of coffee to kick start the morning (Starbucks addiction), sex two times a day (sex addiction), telling funny stories (humour addiction), not paying attention when the news is on (attention deficit disorder), having sex while the news is on and drinking wine at the same time (deviancy) and so on. While there are real mental illnesses – depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disease – not everything we do is “on the edge” of madness.

It may actually be the case that psychiatry itself is the new disorder in need of treatment.

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0 Responses to "Is practicing psychiatry a disorder in need of treatment?"

  1. Avatar
    Linda1961   February 22, 2010 at 7:17 am

    Hi, First of all that comment you made about liking Barry Manilow and how it would send you to a psychiatrist I find extermly insulting and totally uncalled for. Your talking about a wonderful and extermly talented human being here, whom I've liked, yes I said liked, now for 36 years and damn proud of it ! And I have never needed to see a psychiatrist nor will I ever have to! Maybe you should see one !

    • Avatar
      MoMo   March 5, 2010 at 12:42 am

      Hi Linda! I think you misconstrued his point! Naturally, many have enjoyed listening to Barry Manilow throughout the years, and there is nothing 'wrong' about that! However, I believe his point was not to imply that anyone who does like Barry Manilow needs to be psychiatrically evaluated, rather that psychiatry alone needs to be redefined and re-evaluated.

      As you will notice, he also stated that, sooner or later, there is going to be a "Tiger Wood's Syndrome." Obviously, the probability of that happening is slim, however, it is my belief that he is correct in stating that "everything is problematic." At least it is according to the world of Psychiatry, but certainly not in my book and I don't believe it is in his book either.

      Also, as you will notice, he does emphasize "Everything is not a form of illness … It’s time to rethink mental illness and to [challenge the assumption] that everything we do is a form of illness – from eating well (dietary disorder), drinking good wine (alcoholism), needing three cups of coffee to kick start the morning (Starbucks addiction), ….. [not everything we do is “on the edgeâ€Â of madness.] It may actually be the case that psychiatry itself is the new disorder in need of treatment."

      Hope this helps and clarifies his point! Happy reading!

  2. Avatar
    Stigmatized   March 6, 2010 at 2:21 am

    15 years ago I tried to get help from my local mental health department. I was lied to five times before they told me that they were withholding treatment from me until I stopped drinking beer. They wanted me to go into a expensive rehab program to stop drinking. Right then I knew that my well-being meant nothing to them and I was being used for my insurance policy.

    I went to my medical doctor and he immedately treated me as he was very worried that I was suicidal. That man saved my life. 12 years later when I was ready to stop drinking, he helped me stop. There Was No USELESS Talk Thearpy at $118. per hour; my medical doctor just gave me the medication, It worked and it has almost been 2 years and 10 months since I stopped drinking.

    I recently found out that the mental health department has Labeled me as having a Very Serious Substance Abuse Problem; and they are using that information to attempt to get me into going thru their rehab program. Until I pay them; I cannot PASS a Mental Health Background Check!

    I do not have a criminal record. Nor do I any DWI's or drug arrests. But I have been stigmatized by a psychiatrist for life!

    BEWARE!! What ever you discuss with a Therapist IS NOT PRIVATE!! What ever you tell them Can and Will Be Used Against You for the Rest of your Life!

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