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Dr. Spock Would Say: Yanniru Is Not Being Logical!

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Posted by Alan on February 25, 2002 10:00:55 UTC

Sorry Yanniru, it was fun to mention Star Trek!
But truly, a careful logical analysis shows your view to be a popular myth.

Time and time again this myth is trotted out by believers in schizophrenia:

"But progress has been made in the last 50 years. The chemical nature of the illness has been identified and specific drugs have been found which alleviate the symptoms."

I do not deny that people suffer; or that some people are disatisfied with their brain-state; and do not deny that people who take substances (eg. opium) to alter their brain-state manage to do that. All I'm saying is that shizophrenia, as it is currently 'defined' and 'identified' is plainly NOT a bona-fide medical condition. If it was, it would be identified differently, and it would be kicked out of psychiatry and into neurology. And you would not be chemically raped for allegedly 'having it'.

Look at any pathophysiology textbook. First point to note: until not many years ago, they completely ignored the alleged illness of schizophrenia. Ignored it. Now, regarding those texts that now include the fictitious illnesses of psychiatry: read what they say about them, and compare it with what they say about real medicine.

The entries for items like "depression", "schizophrenia" etc. are as bizarre compared with the real medical entries, as astrology entries would look like in an astronomy book.

Now look at the DSM (the psychiatric witch-finder's heads-I-win-tails-you-lose book) or any standard psychiatry text. It is plainly obvious that the "diagnosis" of shizophrenia etc. is not a medical diagnosis at all; but a heads-I-win-tails-you-lose ritual for invalidating people who are in disputes about acceptable behaviour.

The few times that psychiatry in its history has mistakenly labelled a genuine medical condition as a psychiatric one (eg, pareisis); when the mistake was realised the item was removed from psychiatry and placed with real medicine.

So where does that leave psychiatry? As a list of disapproved behaviours and ALLEGED illnesses that have so little evidence they are rejected by scientific medicine.

There are two issues here. Do you claim that schizophrenia is a real medical condition; and if so how come it has not been dumped from pyschiatry and placed in neurology? Do you recognise that psychiatric illnesses are metaphorical?

Here is what is really going on:

Humans can be found in a wide variety of bodily states. In a FREE society; you are free to choose whatever RULES of what is a 'right'(healthy) and what is a 'wrong' (sick) bodily state you like.

Some bodily states (eg. broken leg) are popularly regarded as 'wrong'- but that is a value-based choice. The science of physical medicine is about cellular patholgy; it is not about unacceptable behaviour. However, people that wanted to coercively control behaviour dreamed up a metaphorical patholgy called psycho-pathology; here the term "pathology" is clearly metaphorical. Sick behaviour is no more sick than a sick stock market. It is possible to suffer without being sick (as any sharemarket speculator may tell you!).

Have you heard of "drapetomania" the mental "disease" that "causes" slaves to run away; that "has a physical cure" namely the exhalation and inhalation of good fresh air in hard manuel work carried out for the white man as in keeping with 'the proper state' for the black slave? In his book "Insanity: The Idea And Its Consequences" professor of psychiatry Thomas Szasz exposes the justificatory rhetoric that characterises metaphorical-coercive modern psychiatry.

Consider the following: you set out for a run. After running for twenty minutes you get "runner's high". So what, that chemicals released in to your bloodstream, gave you the "high" feeling. That doesn't mean you didn't choose to go running. It doesn't remove your responsibility while "high". If you took another chemical, say an antidepressant, and felt less high: it doesn't mean that the "high" is a "sympton" or that the chemical that "alleviated" the high is a "treatment".

See what I'm saying? The taking of chemical substances to change one's chemical balance does not in itself make one chemical balance an "illness" and another chemical a "treatment".

Note: you are free to CHOOSE to go running and get the "runners' high" chemicals naturally released in your body.

And if you don't like that "high", you are free to buy some chemical to influence it. Just because some people get in to a state where they are disattisfied with their chemical balance and obtain "relief" by taking some chemical, does NOT mean the state they are seeking to change is an "illness". In fact, all judgements of the "health/illness" type are moral-value judgements.

Every mental state has a chemical nature. The people who take drugs to change their "schizophrenic" mental state are (if in a free society) merely indulging in COSMETIC medicine. That they succede in alleviating their disapproved-of (by themselves) state does not prove anything. Of course you can influence your brain chemistry by taking chemical substances.

But until a genuine medical pathology is found; "shizophrenia" remains a vague justificatory term that may or may not conceal in some cases a as yet never found and un-named phenomenon.

The genes argument remains pure speculation. Families pass on patterns of behaviour historically by example; no need for genetrics there.

It is possible that some people have weird brain experiences and that an un-named phenomenon with genetic characteristics is involved; but it sure isn't what is currently called shchizophrenia.

Note too that human differences are not diseases. Someone once tried to claim that negros had a skin disease! (I think it was Benjamin Rush, the "father of American Psychiatry"; who tried to "cure" black persons and make them white!)

In practice, of course some people are hard to live with. But they are no more sick than the slave who tries to run away. Curiously, behaviours labelled "schizophrenic" in adults are accepted as normal in very young children. And when adults are severely deprived of sleep, they can show some behaviours similar to "schizophrenia". And "crazy" people are inevitably stubborn; which implies rebellion; which implies the whole thing is about power and authority and dispute.

If someone experiences dream-type consciousness during wake; is stubborn; experiences aspects of childhood-development such as the sub-structure of their "inner voice" and of their pattern-recognition sub-systems; acts like a two-year-old; etc. etc. -no doubt they could be hard to live with. But that would be the break-down of adult-reality-evasion; not illness.

It's not difficult to figure out what may be going on with very-crazy people: just investigate your own consciousness and map the underlying structures and phenomena! Explore the boundary of sleep-and-wake etc.!


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