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Simon Wessely's Warped Mind Strikes Again

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS News' started by Hip, Sep 24, 2011.

  1. Angela Kennedy

    Angela Kennedy *****

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    Thank you for this Wonko - very useful.
     
  2. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    Not to hand.

    I followed up on some quotes/references that a CFS patient had used to claim that AIDS was thought of as psychosomatic. A lot of it related to this one guy who was self-publishing, and a couple of other bits were really preliminary speculative stuff that never got any traction.

    Without having something to start my search from, I think I'd struggle to find evidence of absence I'm afraid.
     
  3. SilverbladeTE

    SilverbladeTE Senior Member

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    I remember the "Gay Related Stress Disorder" crap from the time, blech.
    No, it wasn't "mainstream" but neither was it "only a tiny fringe", because the psychosomatic dingbats are ALWAYS looking for something to pin that on to make them seem legitimate, instead of being the dingbats they are :p
    Plus of course, there was the whole nasty bigotry issue about AIDS...so it was, for the scumbags and morons "more proof of the pudding that gays are abnormal deviants". Or that homosexuality could be cured with psychotherpay etc :/

    Talking about the very early part of the AIDS outbreak, by way, long before HIV was identified and by time death toll had hit about 100, support of any psychological cause had evapourated except for the kooks. Problem was they were still suggesting it was mental after 20 or so had died, iirc

    You will always find it hard to find the evidence of such stupid or nasty crap versus the discoveries/awards etc, because it is embarassing to show the screw ups so people hide such if they can, and it's about the "professional classses" (who can and routinely do get away with crimes and screw ups that would get anyone else jailed or ruined), and the subject of bringing up such gaffes doesn't make folk money ;)

    Gross stupidity, corruption, abuse etc regarding AIDS, syphilis and ME (plus osme other illnesses) are very telling indictments of how Human Society behaves and that scumbags are just as often to be found with PhDs, MDs etc as anywhere else in society, alas.
     
  4. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    Yeah - the history of Science does tend to focus on those who got it right, and forget about the harm done by those who got it wrong. If you're remembering stuff from the time, it could well be that it was coming from fundamentalist religious sorts/ kooks on TV/ psychologists on Talk Radio. I don't think there was much like that in medical journals. The willingness of some researcher/journals to treat medically unexplained conditions as if they were the result of cognitive/emotional factors feeds in to the culture, and may have legitimised some of the AIDS stuff you remember, but I don't think it came directly from journals/significant researchers/etc.

    edit: I should make clear - there could well be examples of attempts to psychologise AIDs in mainstream journals that I am not aware of, I just looked in to a collection of references that were given to support the notion that it was a widespread problem, and they didn't. Evidence of absence though... it's often rather tenuous.
     
  5. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    Actually, the history of science is a history of one self correction after the next.

    Prior to Joseph Lister's work promoting antiseptic surgery (in the late 1880's!) most scientists believed that "chemical damage from exposure to bad air" was responsible for infections in wounds. Those who had suspected germs caused infections were considered kooks by the medical establishment of that time.

    Prior to Robert Koch's discovery of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis in 1882, the "scientific theory" of that time was that TB was a "romantic disease" of spiritual purity and heightened sensitivity, that could be remedied by a retreat from the world in a sanatorium.

    "The first patient Freud ever treated was his former Nanny, who had Multiple Sclerosis. 'Creeping paralysis' as it was called in those days, was considered a mental condition caused by 'female hysteria'."

    These are just some of the highlights on the SCIENCE WAS WRONG UNTIL IT SELF-CORRECTED list.
    There were/are many casualties that resulted, and many lives that continue to be lost.
     
  6. meadowlark

    meadowlark Senior Member

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    Regarding GRID

    I wrote a long magazine piece in Canada on HIV/AIDS before HIV was discovered. I believe HIV/AIDS was first called GRID, which stands for Gay-Related Immune Deficiency, not Gay-Related Stress Disorder, The scientists using that acronym (and it's a weird one) did not associate AIDS with stress or hysteria. They had already discovered that their immune systems were being destroyed. "Gay-Related" was used because at the very start of the plague, the only similarity among the known victims was that they were in the gay community. The word "related" was meant to observe this commonality, not to imply that the illness was the result of homosexuality. All that said, the use of GRID did play into homophobia, and part of that homophobia was the belief that gay men were high-strung and self-dramatizing ... therefore, the illness must be due to hysteria.
     
    SOC likes this.
  7. Angela Kennedy

    Angela Kennedy *****

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    So have you got any sources on this Silverblade?
     
  8. SilverbladeTE

    SilverbladeTE Senior Member

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    Yeah I know about "GRID", I'm talking about some psychiatrists/pyshcoogologists who believed it was stress related to the issue sof being homosexual and that was what was making them sick, hence not GRID but GRSD gay related stress disorder

    Angela
    alas no, it was stuff from back then (think I head it first on a "Horizon" or similar UK documentary at the time when taking of initial thoughts on what the illness was) and items on the period that have cropped up sporadically now and then since.
     
  9. Angela Kennedy

    Angela Kennedy *****

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    Fair enough Esther.

    If you do find anything about that in the future, Id be grateful if you send it my way :)
     
  10. Angela Kennedy

    Angela Kennedy *****

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    Thanks Silverblade. If you find anything let me know? :)
     
  11. meadowlark

    meadowlark Senior Member

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    That's interesting, Silverblade. I lived in Canada and NYC pre-HIV, and never heard that term, Today, googling turns up several definitions for Gay Related Stress Disorder, usually about the stress of living with stigmatization, etc., and some dating back to the stress of seeing one's community decimated by AIDS. But google doesn't capture everything. I was trying to tell this to a young relative the other day, who replied, "oh, you mean the old stuff?" Unfortunately, with hysteria theories, everything old becomes new again.
     
  12. SilverbladeTE

    SilverbladeTE Senior Member

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    Angela
    will do :)

    Meadowlark,
    I'm reasonably sure it occured, presumably because some psychobabblers of that era came up with that tripe as a cause for AIDS 9and in ealry days it was big mystery and not realized how awful it was)

    Also recall from way back where the oft-repeated rumour of CIA-creation of AIDS came from as I saw the interview with the Russian scientists who claimed that
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_INFEKTION
    later said to have been KGB "black" propaganda, ie, psy-ops...real problem with the conspiracy theories was it stopped too many folk taking medication and thus they died :/
     
  13. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    I have also heard that diabetes and hypothyroid (untreated, as they originally of course were) were also once considered psychiatric conditions. Possibly MS too.

    I don't have any refs, but I suspect that delving into some medical history might unearth even more examples like this.

    I don't mind mental illness labels for mental symptoms, even in CFS (especially as in recent years, mental illnesses are being de-stigmatized). But I find it outrageous that shrinks rush off to psychologize the causes of these mental symptoms the psychiatric profession are unhealthily obsessed with psychogenic explanations for mental symptoms.

    Many psychiatrists are like spoilt children that have never matured properly: they only want to live in the "world of mind", and shun the "world of matter". This is why they shy away from biochemical explanations for mental symptoms: a biochemical explanation is a bridge from the world of mind, to the world of matter (matter being neurons, hormones, brain chemistry, microbial infections). Psychiatrists seems to dislike the latter.

    There is a horrible decadence about these "mind only" psychiatrists; they don't want to get their hands dirty by dealing with the material world.

    However, we can hope that a new generation of psychiatrists and physiologists will embrace and bridge both the world of mind, and the material world, in terms of finding the causes of mental symptoms. I suspect that the vast majority of mental symptoms will, in future, be pinned down to physical abnormalities in the brain, particularly the subtle effects of microbial infections on the central nervous system.

    We still need psychiatrists and physiologists that have empathetic abilities to reach into the minds of people, and characterize their mental symptoms; but then look for physical causes, rather than decadently and lazily psychologizing everything.
     
  14. ixchelkali

    ixchelkali Senior Member

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    Kind of like Simon Wessely and his pals...
     
  15. ixchelkali

    ixchelkali Senior Member

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    It's funny: the purveyors of "mass hysteria" such as Simon Wessely offer it as an explanation for what they like to call "medically unexplained" illnesses. Any time there's an outbreak of disease where the cause is unknown (especially if the patients are women), they say there's no evidence it's real, and offer up mass hysteria as the explanation. Yet there is no evidence that mass hysteria is real. There are only anecdotal examples, given by "experts" in mass hysteria. They say "we never found a medical cause, therefore it was hysteria" as though they're saying it makes it fact. Their historical examples are even more tenuous. Like the example in the article of young women in convents in the middle ages, thought at the time to be demonically possessed. Without a way to examine them, they pronounce it hysteria. Couldn't be ergot poisoning or some other environmental hallucinogen, couldn't be schizophrenia. Where is the evidence, other than "we don't know what else it was"? If you start looking at their references, they become very circular: Expert A writes an article, citing a book by Expert B, who cites Expert A as his source.

    So firefighters who were at Ground Zero following 9/11 have persistent coughs, and since the air is no longer dusty, Dr. Wessely decides it must be a mass psychogenic disease. It couldn't be something that was caused by the toxic soup they were breathing for days and weeks. And if the medical community accepts his expert opinion, they won't continue to look for the unknown physical cause, and Dr Wessely won't be proved wrong. And if someone does find the cause of the firefighters' coughs, Dr Wessely will simply say that even though that instance turned out not to be hysteria, all the other outbreaks of "medically unexplained" illness still are. It's perfect. Snake Oil salesmen could take lessons from him.

    And Dr Wessely, if you're reading this, no, I don't fear the stigma of mental illness. I also don't believe that medical science has learned everything there is to know about physical illness, so maybe if they don't know what's causing something, it's just that THEY DON'T KNOW, not that the patients are hysterics.
     
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  16. Enid

    Enid Senior Member

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    I think it was Angela who coined the phrase - gods of the GAPS.
     
  17. Nielk

    Nielk

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    Where there is fire - there is smoke
    Where there is a possibility to coin an illness "mass hysteria" - there is Wessely
     
  18. Desdinova

    Desdinova Senior Member

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    IMO Simon Wessely himself is suffering from a state of Hysteria over ME/CFS being a physical condition.
     
  19. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    He must have unresolved issues. I hope he gets help soon before he destroys more lives.
     
  20. Nielk

    Nielk

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    There must be a psychological condition for people who are fixated on calling illnesses "mass hysteria". And if there isn't - there should be.
     
    ixchelkali likes this.

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