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Article on Thomas Szasz who made various critical observations on psychiatry

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS Discussion' started by Dolphin, Apr 27, 2013.

  1. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

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    Thomas Szasz, a psychiatrist himself, said controversial things about psychiatry. While some of them are extreme, I think it is interesting to be exposed to his ideas at least once.

    Here's a recent article on him, for what it's worth: http://www.aeonmagazine.com/world-views/holly-case-thomas-szasz-insanity-plea/

    Thomas Szasz made observations about the power given to psychiatrists by society e.g. to be coercive.
    I find it interesting to think of what Thomas Szasz wrote about when reading how some psychiatrists would like to deny some disability supports to people with ME/CFS e.g. http://forums.phoenixrising.me/inde...ice-guidelines-insight-into-their-views.1239/ . Also, want to coerce patients to do CBT/GET before get disability payments.
     
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  2. golden

    golden Senior Member

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    Hi Dolphin,

    My own person observations and life experiences brought me to similar conclusions.

    And having M.E. helped considerably too with these insights... being one of the lucky ones where the psychiactic profession is trying to take over treatment of this physical disease....

    And then I came across an article which somewhat validated my insights by Dr. V. Coleman:

    http://www.vernoncoleman.com/mentalill.html

    There are similarities in these articles.
     
  3. jeffrez

    jeffrez Senior Member

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    I think brain scans/advanced imaging techniques and neurobiology ultimately are proving him wrong and showing that common brain dysfunctions underlying mental illness do in fact exist - but some of his observations w/r/t ideological power constructs are definitely relevant.
     
  4. golden

    golden Senior Member

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    Yes I was musing this.

    But that would come under physical brain damage caused by for example: vaccination

    wouldnt it?


    The more I have seen of mental illness and people who have cured themselves through ecological medicine, removing sugar from their diet, macrobiotic diets curing schitzophrenia, parasite cleanses, removing chemical and detoxing the body etc etc

    the more I think its the way to go....

    Even the founder of AA had his protocol of Vitamins eradicated to just leave the talking element.

    Its such a peculiar situation how the physical body has been so neglected and malnourished and from that starting point drugs are tgen prescribed.
     
  5. golden

    golden Senior Member

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    This psychiatrist seems like one of the better ones:

    http://www.hayhouse.com/authorbio.php?id=76

    David R Hawkins MD PhD

    He says 'Truth is whatever is subjectively convincing given your current state of consciousness'

    When psychiatrists are all competing to see how many patients they can drug up to their eyeballs to win holidays and cruises etc. from the pharma companies.... it doesnt inspire confidence.

    Also their heads are jam packed with quack theories and nonsense labels ready to plaster them onto patients whenever it suits them.
     
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  6. jeffrez

    jeffrez Senior Member

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    Vaccination? Maybe. More likely genetics. The simple fact is that some schizophrenics, for example, are never going to be "cured" by things like macrobiotics, vitamins, or eliminating sugar. Their brains are often different, not only neurochemically but even structurally. The larger philosophical and political question is whether we consider those kinds of deviations or aberrations from "normal" as illness or simply as variance.
     
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  7. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

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  8. golden

    golden Senior Member

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    Do you mean genetics are the cause of adverse vaccination reactions or that genetics are the cause of mental illness?

    Does this paragraph not say exactly what you have said?
    "
    I repeat: all the diseases which we describe as types of mental illness are caused by one of two things: physical damage (as caused by poor development, injury, malformation, and the sort of damage produced by vaccination) and stress. This is true for schizophrenia, autism, compulsive obsessional disorder and every other psychiatric disorder you can think of. The more sensitive you are the more vulnerable you are, and the more likely you are to become ill in some way - whether it be depression, a phobia or some other labelled disorder. All mental illness is, therefore, a result of a combination of unavoidable stress and an inborn, irreparable sensitivity. Paranoia is an extension of normality. Schizophrenia is a confusion created by an inability to cope with what is going on without and within. Depression is an inevitable consequence of a susceptible organism struggling to survive in an increasingly toxic world. The people who cope best with our toxic world are the individuals who are least sensitive: the people whom we usually describe as psychopaths. Because they have little or no emotional response to stress, they are able to ignore moral and ethical issues and sail painlessly upwards to the very top of our society."


    Of course the brain, given the right nourishment etc. can begin repairing itself and regrow. This has been well established so I think there ought to be room always for re-growing health...

    B.Wilson founder of AA was experimenting with B3 (niacin) thats pretty remarkable reading... :)
     
  9. jeffrez

    jeffrez Senior Member

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    It's really silly to argue about semantics. Further, genetic variance isn't "physical damage," nor is it necessarily the result of stress. So that initial statement is blatantly wrong. And I don't really know what is intended by the vague phrase "inborn sensitivity," let alone an "irreparable" one. It all sounds like primitive 18th or 19th century concepts to me. We have advanced fMRI imaging now, and other kinds of scans. We know there are structural brain differences from the norm in disorders like schizophrenia. Macrobiotic diet isn't going to change that, what a joke.

    Hoffman and others claimed cures of schizophrenia with high doses of niacin and some other nutrients. Who knows? Maybe in a minority of cases here or there, where there was some blatant nutritional deficiency or even some other metabolic problem it helped the person. I don't think those cases are well substantiated, though, and I tend to doubt most of those reports. And where it did "cure" the person, the initial diagnosis of schizophrenia was obviously wrong anyway. The person had a nutritional deficiency expressed in symptoms that were similar to schizoprhenia. They didn't actually have schizophrenia.
     
  10. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    Yuck.

    Which is rather a problem with psychiatry... we all have very different ideas about how we want our minds to work, and what changes count as improvements. This is why informed consent is so important, and this is an area where many of those psychiatrists working with CFS have done a lot of harm. If patients are being 'encouraged' to take a 'positive' view about the likelihood of recovery or the efficacy of treatments, then they are being manipulated in a way which prevents them from being able to give true consent for these treatments, never mind that it feeds in to a culture of disdain, in which patients diagnosed with CFS are treated as if they are unable to make their own decisions about how to live their own lives.

    The manipulation of the 'recovery' data from PACE, and refusal to release the data for outcome measures which were laid out in the trial's protocol seems to stem from this culture: http://forums.phoenixrising.me/inde...d-releasing-data-on-recovery-from-pace.20243/

    re Szasz: I found that I agreed with more of his manifesto than I expected. I'd be interested to read some of his views on how those with severe psychosis (for example) should be treated. While I think I'd like to see psychiatry/society go in the direction Szasz seemed to be pushing, it seems to me that his ideological purity just doesn't fit with the reality we're living in.

    Also - OMG at the Ignaz Semmelweis/hand-washing etc story. I didn't know about that.
     
  11. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

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    I read Dr. Coleman's article. Perhaps in the past I would have liked it more; having read a lot of research papers, these days I look for references or some sort of evidence for points. So, perhaps there is something to some of the points but to me, I found it a bit too "ranty" for my liking.
     
  12. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

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    Yes, think his "ideological purity" is a problem.

    Yes, shocking (or maybe that's not an appropriate word to use!). I'd heard before the idea of hand-washing had been dismissed, but don't think I'd read the rest.
     
  13. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Logan, Queensland, Australia
    Hi, Szasz did a great job of researching failures in medicine especially psychiatry. However his basic premise is that most of psychiatry is a fraud. He takes good observations and draws unsupportable conclusions. Its been a while since I read Science of Lies, but you might like to know that Szasz thinks that all (most?) psychiatric patients are liers, and there is nothing much wrong with them. I would approach Szasz with some caution.

    In fact he makes the same general error that those in psychogenic medicine make: it might be that their ideas are right, therefore they are right. Or at least sufficiently right that they use those ideas in practice. Medicine needs better standards of evidence.

    However if you look at Szasz kind of slanted, his first principle in the manifesto on the link earlier sounds reasonable:
    ""Myth of mental illness." Mental illness is a metaphor (metaphorical disease). The word "disease" denotes a demonstrable biological process that affects the bodies of living organisms (plants, animals, and humans). The term "mental illness" refers to the undesirable thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of persons. Classifying thoughts, feelings, and behaviors as diseases is a logical and semantic error, like classifying the whale as a fish. As the whale is not a fish, mental illness is not a disease. Individuals with brain diseases (bad brains) or kidney diseases (bad kidneys) are literally sick. Individuals with mental diseases (bad behaviors), like societies with economic diseases (bad fiscal policies), are metaphorically sick. The classification of (mis)behavior as illness provides an ideological justification for state-sponsored social control as medical treatment."

    If I were to take this to include illnesses misdiagnosed as mental are really undiagnosed physical disorders, then Szasz makes some sense. In Science of Lies though I thought he put forward the extreme view that these people are not sick, just different or malingering or lying. So by all means read Szasz for inspiration, but don't buy into this more extreme views without better evidence.

    However for anyone wanting to see just how far the rabbithole goes down into the Wonderland of psychiatry, Szasz is worth reading.
     
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  14. golden

    golden Senior Member

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    Ah, I see. Horses for courses, not everyones cup of tea :)

    I find most research papers full of deceit, ignorance and psychopathic tendency masquerading as objectivity these days... They tend to fill me with a bit more death each time I read a new one.

    I admit I think the VC articles are colourful and give life to subject matter. However he does reference many 'scientific' research...

    its just in this article as he readily and honestly admits himself at the bottom of the page - 'i dont have any research to back up my theories....but neither do they (the psychiatrist)'.


    Are we training medical people to become psychopaths or just offering a fertile environment to allow it to manifest?

    I am trying to think of clear examples.

    Up until 1985, newborn babies- 18 months were routinely operated on with no pain relief. Drilling holes in them, open heart surgery and so on...

    How could the medical profession be doing this in 1985? Because the scientific research educated them that babies did not feel pain.

    Medical students , very intelligent, would be taught this and then they too woukd operate in this way.


    Now somehow and in some way, who knows?, but I just knew that babies felt pain. When I was a baby, when I was a child, when i was a teenager and now.

    Hand Washing after autopsy was no doubt considered magic or fringe.

    Where is the common sense, where is the wisdom?

    Its no joke that Food Is Medicine. That removing the onslaught of chemicals and heavy metal burdens from the body, re-establishing sleep, and high quality nourishment to the body can work wonders... but it doesnt seem to be being understood.
     
  15. golden

    golden Senior Member

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    jeffrez
    i suspect there has been mis-communication as I was not arguing semantics etc..

    rather than continuing to get tangled in mis-communication trying to unravel it

    lets just start/stop with a clean slate?
     
  16. jeffrez

    jeffrez Senior Member

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    The important thing to remember is that Szasz was making primarily a political argument, not a medical one. He's basically irrelevant anyway, as no one takes what he says with any practical consideration. He was already looked at with a kind of amused curiosity when we were studying him in college back in the 80s.

    With the advent of anti-psychotic drugs and their at least partial effectiveness in schizophrenia - not to mention lithium's effectiveness in bipolar disorder - it's clear that there is such a thing as mental illness, and that furthermore it's often treatable, reducing the suffering of the people who are undergoing it. Szasz is (was) basically just a contrarian crank, maybe useful to the extent that he caused us to question some of our underlying methodological assumptions, but otherwise not really worth wasting much time on, except perhaps in a very specialized academic setting.
     
  17. Sean

    Sean Senior Member

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    Szasz is a very mixed bag. Made some good and necessary points. But not a very realistic thinker, IMHO.
     

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