Mental disorders are not diseases: David A. Hancock (Opinion)

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Guest columnist David A. Hancock of Chesterland taught science and health in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights schools from 1968 to 2003. He is the author of “The Diary/Letters of a Mad Public School Teacher.”

Does psychiatry maintain the fiction of mental illness?

The American Psychiatric Association, after being pressured and threatened by anti-psychiatry activists, has admitted that “there is no biological evidence of biological abnormality in any psychiatric disorder.” (APA, Statement on Diagnosis and Treatment of Mental Disorders, press release #03-39, Sept. 26, 2003)

The real conundrum and paradoxical paradox is The Psychiatric Bible. The complete title is DSM: Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. That’s disorders — not illnesses.

The mind is not a physical organ; it cannot have a disease. While one can have a diseased brain, one cannot have a diseased mind.

The DSM is simply a manual of symptoms elicited from thoughts, feelings and behaviors as a conscious choice or as responses to psychological stress, anxiety, frustration, anger, fear and perceptions. Including symptoms resulting from ingesting toxic substances that damage/impair the brain — a chemical imbalance — is pure guesswork.

If an MRI, SPECT, PET or CAT scan shows no pathology in the cerebrum/brain, we can conclude that we have a Mental Disorder of Cognition (thinking) — we are not mentally “ill” and we do not need psychotropic drugs.

As Jerome Lawrence, playwright, said: “A neurotic builds a castle in the sky. A psychotic lives in it. A psychiatrist charges them both rent.”

William Glasser, MD, psychiatrist and author of “Reality Therapy and Choice Theory/Warning: Psychiatry Can Be Hazardous To Your Mental Health,” never prescribed a psychotropic drug!

Dr. Glasser maintains that “when you (we) are diagnosed with a mental illness (disorder), such as depression, schizophrenia, bipolar, obsessive-compulsive disorder, ADHD, etc. and treated with a brain drug, we have become one of the millions of geese who lay golden eggs for the multibillion-dollar brain drug industry. There are big bucks in brain drugs.”

Examples of this funding include lucrative research grants to psychiatrists who can come up with supportive research, plush conferences and liberal grants to mental health-care associations that vigorously support mental illnesses and brain drugs, large grants to patient advocacy groups that do the same, and millions of dollars to fund high-powered public relations firms to promote the “new drugs” to “cure” mental disorders and to persuade the media to report these cures.

Dr. Glasser also states: “We are led to believe that if we have psychological problems, we are ill; all we need to get our mental health back is a pill. There is a further price we risk when we take strong brain drugs; many of them harm the brain and cause real mental illnesses.”

Thomas Szasz, MD, author of “The Myth of Mental Illness” and several others, states: “Giving oneself an addictive drug is a crime; receiving it from an addiction specialist is a treatment.”

As an example, children should not be ingesting brain drugs. ADHD is a culturally induced myth. Are there any drugs for children who exhibit behavior traits of being too focused, too compliant, too still and too hypoactive?

As Thomas Szasz, MD, said: “A person who pretends to practice medicine without a license is a quack. A person who pretends to practice medicine with a license is a psychiatrist.”

Check out: cchr.org (Citizens Commission On Human Rights International)

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