Sunday, November 12, 2006

Mental Health "200 to 300 years behind other branches of medicine"

A recent article in the NY Times illustrates the confusion in mental health. A Duke University professor of psychiatry says, "...the system of diagnosis is still 200 to 300 years behind other branches of medicine".

The article appears to be written by someone who is not really anti-psychiatry, but who is trying to make sense of the field. The result is journalistic anguish. One wants to take the writer by the shoulders, shake him and say, "Open your eyes! The field is completely destructive and insane!"

Psychiatry and psychology have been so ineffective for so long that people in the field have "adjusted" to it (to use their own term) and like the murderer who laughingly confesses to his crimes, they now freely admit their impotence, not realizing that such admissions are tantamount to a confession of guilt, in a field where innocence was lost long ago. If a family can find some combination of treatments that help a child improve, “then the diagnosis may not matter much at all," says one psychiatrist, apparently blind to the real implication of such a statement.

The article also exposes the lack of technology in the field, anecdotally relating the story of a family who tried to solve their child's so-called "mental problem" by going from psych to psych and getting different diagnoses and different treatments each time. Psychiatric terms like "ADHD" and "bipolar" are bandied about as if they meant something specific, but the article admits "Children can develop so fast that what looks like attention deficit disorder in the fall may look like anxiety or nothing at all in the summer."

Read the article at this link.

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