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L.A. Times Article on Psychiatry Today


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Here's the link: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/sunday...1&cset=true

basically, for those who don't want to read it, the author argues that in this modern era we lable evrything as a disorder or disease mental-health wise. he (i do believe it is a he) stresses that some of these behaviors we attribute to illness are actually normal or the responsibility of the person in question, and cannot be attributed to a disorder. he cites SAD as an example of what he feels is normal behavior turned into a disorder.

my personal opinion is that while there are those who would like to use the blanket of mental illness as an excuse for wrongdoing, most people would not. the reason is the stigma. there is so much stigma attached to being MI in any way, even having SAD, that people suffer for their whole lives and never come forward with it.

when it comes down to criminal defense and the defense will try anything, sometimes psychiatry is abused and becomes a tool for the defense to use to attempt to persuade the jury that this person was really sick and had no concept of his or her actions. that is a very high bar, a very hard thing to prove. most of the time, the defense has to prove that the defendant had no concept of right or wrong when s/he commited the acts.

so even if psychiatry is abused in the legal system, i think it is unlikely that even in legitimate cases that juries will go for it. there was recently that sniper case here in ohio, where a schizophrenic man (who was not taking his meds) went on a shooting spree off of a highway overpass and killed several people over a course of time. the jury found him guilty, even though i believe the evidense was there to put him in a psych ward for awhile and make him take his meds.

as for these disorders that the author claims are just being invented when they are a part of normal behavior, i would like to see the author try to cope with SAD or any other disorder and see what it is like to be MI. for those of us in that position, it is no joke, and we don't seek treatment and come out of the woodwork about our disorders to our families and friends. it isn't easy to seek treatment or admit to MI to anyone, due to that stigma again. people with disorders of all kinds should be encouraged to come out and get treatment, rather than be told that they're "normal" and be forced to live in misery.

loon

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Well. We continually develop treatment for things that make people miserable, because we want to make people feel and function better. If insurance companies would pay for it, we wouldn't need to label it mental illness because it wouldn't matter. We could talk about conditions or syndromes or symptoms and maybe talk about range of impairment, rather than drawing a big huge line between "normal" and "mentally ill". It sucks that to get insurance help for something it has to be a diagnosed disorder, because then a lot of people who have subsyndromatic issues can't get affordable help.

Why doesn't the man advocate for insurance paying for treatment that enables people to take responsibility for their problems? Medication definitely does that for me.

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If the author is a guy, I wonder if he would be so willing to surrender his E.D. medication. Should he ever have the need to use it? Wasn't so long ago that E.D. was considered "all in a guy's head". (the big one people, not the little one)

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

*goes off to corner now*

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Fist off, the dude who is in charge of the editorial section of the L.A. Times is a total dick and ever since he took over the op eds have been psycho conservative.

Second... this fucker is a PROFESSOR AND A PSYCHIATRIST? WTF?

now i'll bitch about specifics...

The association specializes in turning ordinary human frailty into disease.
paranoid much? jesus. the APA has no vested interest in doing this. maybe we could be paranoid that big pharma does this (why yes, i will take your pill for toe fungus that is only successful in around 40% of patients , has a high risk of causing liver damage, is expensive and not covered by insurance, because my toe nails are ugly! (sorry if that link isn't the best, i couldn't find the article in forbes i was looking for.)) but psychiatrists are just there to help people function and get better.

and he says they make up more and more dxs.... aren't many of these refinements and subcategories of existing issues?

and screw him for saying SAD is normal. yes, a lot of people get a little down in winter. some people can't move in winter. one is something that is bothersome, the other interferes with normal life to a degree that requires medical intervention.

All medicine rests on the premise that disease is a manifestation of diseased tissue. Hepatitis comes down to an inflamed liver, while lung tissue infiltrated with pneumococcus causes pneumonia. Every medical student learns this principle. Where, though, is the diseased tissue in psychopathological conditions?

wait... my brain isn't a tissue? my nerves that send pain throughout my body because i'm messed in the head, they aren't tissue?

they have shown that the brains of MI people function differently. that thar be proof that it is physical.

Someone who declares himself the messiah, who insists that fluorescent lights talk to him or declares that she's the Virgin Mary, is an example of such behavior. Such people are deemed — labeled, really — sick by psychiatrists, and often they are taken off to hospitals against their will. The "diagnosis" of such "pathological behavior" is based on social, political or aesthetic values.
ok, sure. homosexuality as a disease was a major fuck up on the APA's part. and yes, in some cultures people who hear voices are seen as spiritual and are given a special place in the community.

but this is not just about society. is the person who insists that fluorescent light talk to him (god fluorescent light FUCKING SUCK, by the way) happy that they do? having gone through psychosis and having heard voices, i'm going to bet that there is a very very large possibility that mr. fluorescent lights would like it if the lights shut the fuck up and leave him alone.

Analogously, brains that produce weird or obnoxious behaviors are not diseased. They are brains that produce atypical behaviors (which could include such eccentricities as dyed hair or multiple piercings or tattoos that nobody in their right mind could find attractive).

UH. has he met a crazy person? i have never met someone who tried to pass their eccentricities off as mental illness. no one wants to be labeled crazy. crazy people have to go sit in the corner. crazy people are shunned. they are a "burden" on their friends and family.

besides, right now tattoos, dyed hair and multiple piercings ARE social conformity. "look i'm different, i rebelled and got a tattoo. just like all my friends!"

Historically, that influence has appeared most dramatically in the insanity defense.
Pathology has replaced morality. Treatment has supplanted punishment. Imprisonment is now hospitalization.

okay. so the twinkie defense sucked. but the insanity defense rarely works. you have to show that the person did not know what they were doing was wrong.

i think the reality is that hospitalization is now imprisonment. deinstitutionalization and the extreme lack of psych beds has resulted in a situation where a large portion of the prison population is mentally ill. they don't get off on the insanity defense. they don't get proper treatment. they do get a lot of meds. and then when they are released, they no longer have access to meds (in most states) they relapse, and often end up back in jail.

he has it all wrong. we don't more imprisonment, we need more treatment.

The erosion of personal responsibility is, arguably, the most pernicious effect of the expansive role psychiatry has come to play in American life.

i agree that there is an erosion of personal responsibility. but i think this is rooted in the self indulgent additives of the baby boomer generation (no offense intended) and the increasingly litigious nature of this country.

for instance, a woman once tried to sue my father because she fucked up her car by turning into a driveway 5 feet too early (yes, five whole feet, i took pictures of the skid marks and measured it myself) and so she scraped the bottom of her car and popped a tire. she admitted that she had been driving into the sun, was going above the speed limit, couldn't really see where she was going, and that she was distracted because she was changing the stations on the radio. but it wasn't her fault that she fucked up her car and left skid marks on the side walk. no, it was my dad's fault because it was his driveway. THAT is an erosion of personal responsibility and that type of behavior is a serious problem.

but i know that i go out of my way to not use my illness as an excuse. to not disclose it unless absolutely necessary, for that matter.

there is stigma around being crazy.

sadly, there is no stigma around being an idiotic asshole who wants to sue someone for no legitimate reason.

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I'm wondering if people who treat psychiatric patients get their definitions of "normal" reset such that "normal" is the average of everyone they see. Then they decide that everyone about that "normal" doesn't have real problems.

Also, some pdocs are trained in the psychotherapy tradition, some in the biological traditions. Tanya Luhrmann, an anthropologist, has a great book on the differences between the two in her book "Of Two Minds". People who come from the psychotherapy tradition are probably less likely to see problems as rooted in biology.

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I'm wondering if people who treat psychiatric patients get their definitions of "normal" reset such that "normal" is the average of everyone they see. Then they decide that everyone about that "normal" doesn't have real problems.

in that case... wouldn't the previously normal people be abnormal in comparison? you aren't depressed, you're weird and should be put on depressents...

abi

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Western society has preferred to lock up Mr. Talking Fluorescent Light Bulbs for far longer than there have been light bulbs or

psychiatrists. This is mainly because the lights and voices eventually drive him so bugnutz crazy that he goes out and kills people.

Everyone feels a little "blue" now and then - that's Normal. Gargling gasoline and lighting up a smoke - Not So Normal.

To paraphrase a poster on the previous boards: "If all it takes is yoga, it ain't major depression."

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i agree with abi! let's put all "normal" people on depressants today, because the "real normal" is depressed, and we wouldn't want to let those who currently believe they are "normal" to be out of range, now would we?

i don't understand how disorders and illnesses, that interfere wtih your life in interpersonal and physical ways, can be viewed as inventions of psychiatry. and it is so true that our prisons are now the treatment centers for our MI population, not the hospitals where MI people should be. now suicidal people are kept in the hospital for 3 days and released (ah hem).

and i'm with you- if yoga fixes it, it ain't major depression!

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Let me tell "if all it takes is yoga..." to my relative who thinks relaxation exercises will help me reduce anxiety in order to sleep. I say that I'm awake for weeks without being anxious, but she just does not get it. Never mind that SHE is the one who is high strung and needs to relax.

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but, see, that is because you do NOT have a MI issue, it is normal to feel the way you do. your "issue" is just an invention of modern psychiatry to give you an excuse from being a responsible human being. didn't you read the article? ;)

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  • 4 weeks later...

According to Snopes, the actual "Twinkie defense" was very dissimilar to what was reported in the news media:

White's defense was that he had been suffering from a long-standing and untreated depression that diminished his capacity to distinguish right from wrong, and thus he was not capable of the premeditation required to support a charge of first degree murder. Dr. Martin Blinder was called as a witness by the defense to testify that the conversion of the previously health-conscious White to a diet of Twinkies and other junk foods was evidence of his depression. This testimony was similar to offering evidence that the habitual wearing of torn and dirty clothes by someone who had previously always been a snappy dresser was a sign that that person was suffering from depression. Nobody who paid attention would claim that such testimony asserted that bad clothing had caused the defendant's depression, but that is essentially what happened in White's case. Junk food was used as evidence that White was depressed; White's depression was used to establish grounds for a successful diminished capacity plea; and therefore White was judged incapable of the premeditation required for a murder conviction.

When the diminished capacity defense was successful and White was convicted of the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter, an outraged media and public skipped the middlemen. White's depression wasn't mentioned; instead we were told he had claimed that "Twinkies made him do it." (Dr. Blinder did suggest excessive sugar could have aggravated a chemical imbalance in White's brain, but that comment was offered only as a parenthetical remark during Blinder's testimony about White's depression. It was not in any way a substantive part of White's defense.)

So the shrink who wrote the article isn't too good at getting his facts straight.

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I suffer SAD and am also ill right now my arthritis is bad...anyhow my bf over dinner the other night looked at me...when I said I don't think I will ever get better...and he said..."Thats your usual winter lament" I ALMOST had to lol but I will say I have never blamed my disorders for my crimes or behavior. I do feel many normal things are being treated like like dudes who need Viagra to get it up when they do not have a medical issue that keeps it down...they work too much and play too little...Also kids are being drugged to the gills..some in my days would have called brats and the parents would have been looked at..I am NOT talking autisum or ADD though I think ADD gets dxed way too much now...Its normal to CRY and be mega sad when someone dies..now days they hand ya Paxil...I can see minor points in what this dude sez but for the most part its trash

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