Skip to comments.Meds aren't always the answer
Posted on 05/10/2013 8:57:29 AM PDT by Oldpuppymax
It is customary to define psychiatry as a medical specialty concerned with the study, diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses. But according to prominent psychiatrist and academic Thomas Szasz MD (1920-2012) this is a worthless and misleading definition. Mental illness is a myth. Psychiatrists are not concerned with mental illnesses and their treatments. In actual practice they deal with personal, social, and ethical problems in living. (1)
Szasz write that
the notion of a person having a mental illness is scientifically crippling. It provides professional assent to a popular rationalizationnamely that problems in living experienced and expressed in terms of so-called psychiatric symptoms are basically similar to bodily diseases. Moreover, the concept of mental illness also undermines the principle of personal responsibility...
(Excerpt) Read more at coachisright.com ...
It was my job to psychologically test and give a patient a diagnosis of a mental disorder/mental illness, if one was present.
What has happened is this:
When a patient has Appendicitis, the patient has a diagnosed medical illness. When the appendix is removed, the patient no longer has a medical illness. When a patient has a mental illness/mental disorder, and is treated with psychotherapy and can then run his/her own life without any more treatment, the patient no longer has a mental illness/mental disorder. Unfortunately, in reality, that mental illness/mental disorder label tends to stay attached to that person forever after. I see that as a major problem in society to keep hanging a label on that person even if he/she is doing well and needs no therapy to continue doing well.
I never gave a mental illness/mental disorder diagnosis unless it was a valid one which had to be made in order to help the patient get treatment. By treatment, I dont mean medicine. I mean psychotherapy. In my psychotherapy practice, the goal was to determine the problem(s) that was/were affecting the patient to the point the patient couldnt run his/her daily life. We worked through those problems together so the patient could understand and learn methods to deal with problems so the patient wouldnt need me anymore.
There are some patients who need to be in a mental hospital if their problems cause them to be a danger to themselves or others. Being in a mental hospital/mental ward doesnt necessarily mean the patient needs medicine even if a danger to him/her self and/or others. What has happened is, medicine is being used to get around time consuming psychotherapy. The attitude is, Put them in a mental ward, give them a pill and they wont bother you anymore.
Psychotherapy is exhausting work for the psychotherapist. A psychiatrist is not going to spend that amount of time with a patient pills are faster, write a prescription, charge for an office visit, and go to the next patient. My person opinion, is, that is malpractice. Part of the medical oath is, First, do no harm. Giving pills and calling it a day, is harmful in my opinion.
I have told this story before on FR. An art therapist who worked for a psychiatrist, came to my office which was across the hall from the psychiatrists office, and asked me how to cure a patient because a woman patient of the psychiatrist had problems, was taking meds from the psychiatrist, and the insurance was running out, and she wanted to know how I fixed patients so they didnt have to come to me anymore, so she could help this woman. At that moment, I felt revulsion that this patient had been strung along on meds instead of getting help to learn to manage her life.
What was my method to cure people? I didnt cure the patient, I allowed the patient to cure him/her self by learning how to deal with problems. If someone was depressed, I explained no outside person can depress another person. The person is the one who depresses him/her self, therefore the person could decide to be depressed or not. Then, I asked the patient to decide how long he/she would like to be depressed. Would he/she want to depress him/her self another day, or another week, or another month? I empowered the patient to control his/her depression and he/she could decide not to depress today or tomorrow or the next day. That is empowerment to the patient, not a pill for depression. There is a view that if a patient lacks this or that substance in the brain, that person will be depressed. I dont object to that view, but I never had one like that in my office over a number of years. One would think I would get one of those, but I never did imagine that.
I would tell parents of children with the diagnosis of ADD or ADHD, not to worry, because the child wouldnt have that any more after high school. I was old enough to have seen what happened to ADD or ADHD students after high school. If they went to college, they would usually go junior college, arranging their day so they could handle it. They might take only one or two courses a day if that was what they could handle. They had no control over public school they had to be there x number of hours and take x number of courses they had little control of their life during the day. I saw success after success by these students in junior college.
I actually worked at a junior college with handicapped students (oh my God, I just wrote handicapped.) We had one student who just blew my mind. He had a learning disability but he didnt care. After class, he would hound the instructor until he understood what happened in class that day. He would make appointments with instructors before or after class, and stay with it until he knew what he was supposed to know. He was driving instructors a little nuts because they had to teach this kid the information. One day the Dean of Education came to see me about this student who wouldnt leave instructors alone until he learned one or more of the instructors had gone to the Dean of Education about this. When he explained to me why he was seeing me, I laughed. I said he is one wonderful kid who is going to learn no matter what. I said he is the poster child of learning disabilities never give up. I suggested the instructors teach the student and all would be well. It brings a smile to my face now to remember that student who was going to get his education, no matter what.
One more story: When I was working with the learning disabled in a high school, I set up meeting for parents and teachers of these students because we had to write a plan and every year we had these meetings. So, we have this male high school student with a learning disability. The teachers were there and they were giving this parent all the bad news about how bad off this student was. I was saying nothing at this point. When there was a slight lull, the mother said, He going to inherit the building business anyway. I could have kissed her what a great response and the teachers looked downcast it was great. I took over at the point and we developed a plan for this student. The building business was a hugely successful home building business of the father and mother.
I liked parents. Many in public schools dont like parents. They should as it is the parent who knows their kids. I never had a problem with a parent.
Yes once you are a “patient” the only ways to no longer be a “patient” are to die or move out of the catchment area. Sad but true.
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