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Author Topic: Is psychiatry a pseudoscience?  (Read 3574 times)

Offline tkadm30

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Is psychiatry a pseudoscience?
« on: 22/12/2015 11:50:55 »
I believe psychiatry is a pseudoscience because it relies on subjective views of psychology to make diagnosis without biological testing:
     
"In 2013, psychiatrist Allen Frances said that "psychiatric diagnosis still relies exclusively on fallible subjective judgments rather than objective biological tests".[3]"

Thus, mental illness symptoms may be poorly associated to a mental disease like schizophrenia which is a highly profitable way for the pharmaceutical industry to generate revenues from sales of antipsychotic drugs.

Moreover, the schizophrenia label may exert a punitive usage on peoples with alternative political opinions:

"In particular, the diagnosis of many political dissidents with schizophrenia led some to question the general diagnosis and punitive usage of the label schizophrenia. This raised questions as to whether the schizophrenia label and resulting involuntary psychiatric treatment could not have been similarly used in the West to subdue rebellious young people during family conflicts"


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-psychiatry


 

Offline RD

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Re: Is psychiatry a pseudoscience?
« Reply #1 on: 22/12/2015 12:26:25 »
... the schizophrenia label may exert a punitive usage on peoples with alternative political opinions ...

Yes some people have been "fitted-up" with that diagnosis ... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sluggish_schizophrenia#Use_against_political_dissidents

However that does not mean schizophrenia is a fictional concept.

... psychiatric diagnosis still relies exclusively on fallible subjective judgments rather than objective biological tests ...

Those with schizophrenia-type illness can be readily recognised as they have unusual distinct positive-symptoms  ... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurt_Schneider#First-rank_symptoms_in_schizophrenia
« Last Edit: 22/12/2015 13:10:13 by RD »
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: Is psychiatry a pseudoscience?
« Reply #2 on: 22/12/2015 13:43:23 »
Eddingtonm (or was it Rutherford?)  said "all science is either physics or stamp-collecting", and to the extent that chemistry is physics in a bucket, and biology is chemistry inside a squidgy structure, it's hard to disagree.

This allows experimental psychology to be at least an observational science even if it is too diffcult to control the initial conditions for it to approach the rigor of physics. Psychiatry seems to be at the stamp-collecting stage, cataloguing anomalous behaviour in much the same way as Victorian biologists attempted to assign specimens to species by appearance, but any attempt to manipulate behaviour seems about as far from applied science as breeding plants with no concept of genetics.
 

Offline tkadm30

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Re: Is psychiatry a pseudoscience?
« Reply #3 on: 22/12/2015 14:41:31 »
Psychiatry seems to be at the stamp-collecting stage, cataloguing anomalous behaviour in much the same way as Victorian biologists attempted to assign specimens to species by appearance, but any attempt to manipulate behaviour seems about as far from applied science as breeding plants with no concept of genetics.

I agree. Schizophrenia don't relay on empirical evidences about the nature of the disease; Rather than by subjective observations of incompatible mental behavior and their connections to the mind of the patient.

Thus, I don't believe genetic testing for Schizophrenia could prove the existence of a schizophrenia gene, nor that homosexuality is genetic: Both conditions are pure creations of the human mind in the stamp-collecting stage.

To conclude, schizophrenia is a myth promoted by modern psychiatry to control behavior based on subjective interpretations of psychology:

"There is, in short, no such thing as schizophrenia" -Thomas S. Szasz, M.D

http://www.antipsychiatry.org/schizoph.htm
 
« Last Edit: 22/12/2015 14:45:22 by tkadm30 »
 

Offline RD

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Re: Is psychiatry a pseudoscience?
« Reply #4 on: 22/12/2015 16:06:26 »
... schizophrenia is a myth ...

If that's the case, what's occurring with the dishevelled guys, (some wearing tin-foil hats), who talk in word-salad, to people only they can see ?
« Last Edit: 22/12/2015 16:11:25 by RD »
 

Offline chris

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Re: Is psychiatry a pseudoscience?
« Reply #5 on: 22/12/2015 16:10:10 »
Psychiatry is a clinical disclipline which deals with the physical manifestations of underlying neurological disturbances, including genetic and biochemical disorders that cause depression and other behavioural abnormalities.

To say "psychiatry is a pseudoscience" is like calling cardiology quackery because you elicit a diagnosis by asking someone if they get chest pain when they exert themselves. It's not, and clinical diagnosis is the mainstay of medical practice. We identify the cause of a person's problems, in almost any sphere of medicine, more than 90% of the time just by talking to them. No stethoscope needed.

You want an example of something that is really pseudoscientific? Look no further than chiropractice, reflexology or, why not go for broke and consult a homeopath?
« Last Edit: 22/12/2015 16:26:11 by chris »
 
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Offline evan_au

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Re: Is psychiatry a pseudoscience?
« Reply #6 on: 22/12/2015 16:21:49 »
Quote from: tkadm30
To conclude, schizophrenia is a myth promoted by modern psychiatry to control behavior based on subjective interpretations of psychology

Quote from: Wikipedia
Research has consistently found that people with psychosis have higher rates of cannabis use, and that there exists an association between cannabis use and schizophrenia and other forms of psychosis
See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabis_and_psychosis

If you want to see a myth, see chemtrails.
 

Offline vhfpmr

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Re: Is psychiatry a pseudoscience?
« Reply #7 on: 22/12/2015 16:29:05 »
There are a lot who would agree. I've read a bit of evolutionary psychology and experimental psychology, and the proponents are often quite scathing of psychoanalysis, which seems to me to be little more than people dreaming up theories to fit their pet prejudices.

In Intuition, Myers describes the way psychologists are just as taken in by their own prejudices as the rest of us, and in Manufacturing Victims Tana Dineen describes some circular reasoning that just beggars belief. Pinker's The Blank Slate makes that particular philosophy look like a bad case of What's-bad-is-false. Alas Poor Darwin edited by Stephen and Hilary Rose is an attempt to discredit evolutionary psychology, and it's appalling, it reads like one long WBIF argument. Elizabeth Loftus' research has demonstrated how easy it is to plant false memories in people's minds, which pulls the rug out from under all those who claim to recover repressed memories. I think David Smail hits the nail on the head in his book Why Therapy Doesn't Work.
 

Offline vhfpmr

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Re: Is psychiatry a pseudoscience?
« Reply #8 on: 22/12/2015 16:37:27 »
Chris, cardiologists produce ECGs, echos, perfusion scans, angiograms etc. to back up what they say. If they were behaving the same way as shrinks do, you would walk in complaining of chest pain and they would say "Ah yes, that's because you got Chest Pain Syndrome", and then give you a coffee enema.
 

Offline chris

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Re: Is psychiatry a pseudoscience?
« Reply #9 on: 22/12/2015 18:18:07 »
Dear vhfpmr

I don't know when you last saw a psychiatrist, but it must have been a very long time ago (I hope).

I'd like to think my colleagues in that department are slightly better trained than you give them credit for. They should also not be confused with people who are not medically qualified but offer a variety of "counselling" services...

 

Offline tkadm30

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Re: Is psychiatry a pseudoscience?
« Reply #10 on: 22/12/2015 19:57:55 »
I believe psychiatry is psychological oppression: That why you must hope that no one should be suffering from the oppression that psychiatry generates.

"Belief in biological causes of so-called mental illness, including schizophrenia, comes not from science but from wishful thinking or from desire to avoid coming to terms with the experiential/environmental causes of people's misbehavior or distress.  The repeated failure of efforts to find biological causes of so-called schizophrenia suggests "schizophrenia" belongs only in the category of socially/culturally unacceptable thinking or behavior rather than in the category of biology or "disease" where many people place it."

http://www.antipsychiatry.org/schizoph.htm
 

Offline chris

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Re: Is psychiatry a pseudoscience?
« Reply #11 on: 22/12/2015 20:03:08 »
"Belief in biological causes of so-called mental illness, including schizophrenia, comes not from science but from wishful thinking..."

Right, so the genes that have been linked to the condition must be wishful thinking as well then...
 

Offline tkadm30

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Re: Is psychiatry a pseudoscience?
« Reply #12 on: 22/12/2015 20:59:44 »
Right, so the genes that have been linked to the condition must be wishful thinking as well then...

I think that genetic disorders could not explain the complex behavior generated from the unconscious mind. Chemical psychiatry is the purpose of theses so-called genetic disorders, hoping to provide a biological connection between mental illnesses and antipsychotic drugs. In reality, very few "mental illness" has been linked to genetics, and the causes of "schizophrenia" are still unknown to biologists.

 

Offline RD

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Re: Is psychiatry a pseudoscience?
« Reply #13 on: 22/12/2015 21:56:53 »
... In reality, very few "mental illness" has been linked to genetics, and the causes of "schizophrenia" are still unknown to biologists.

The ideal test to determine if something is genetic is a twin-study ...

Quote from: nhs.uk
... studies have shown that if one identical twin develops schizophrenia, the other has a 48% risk, even if they are raised separately.
http://www.nhs.uk/news/2014/07July/Pages/Study-offers-insights-into-genetics-of-schizophrenia.aspx

The incidence of schizophrenia in the general population is around 1% .

I think that genetic disorders could not explain the complex behavior generated from the unconscious mind.

Genes have created all the organs in all the animals which have ever lived on Earth, why are genes not sufficient to build and run a human brain ?.
« Last Edit: 22/12/2015 22:03:28 by RD »
 
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Offline alancalverd

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Re: Is psychiatry a pseudoscience?
« Reply #14 on: 23/12/2015 00:08:52 »
You want an example of something that is really pseudoscientific? Look no further than chiropractice, reflexology or, why not go for broke and consult a homeopath?

I'm surprised you didn't  include acupuncture in that list. But then you would have had to consider electroconvulsive therapy, and you'd be skating on very thin ice.

Fact is that science generally follows engineering, not the other way around. We do something, discover that it works, and maybe many years later elicit some underlying mechanism. Aspirin, pennicillin, chloroform (I'll admit there are better anesthetic agents, but you get the point)....all the stuff of everyday medicine that really works, and we still don't completely understand how.

Now if you present to a reflexologist or a chiropractor with significant symptoms, and walk out of the office without them, I think we are at least talking about successful engineering, even if you don't understand how the magic worked. True, there is a lot of philosophical bullshit and quackery on the fringes of these subjects, but even the weirdo practitioners do a lot less harm than the average "scientific" lobotomy or "correction" of suspensory ligaments. I have my doubts about a veterinary client who practises "crystal healing", but her success with acupuncture pain relief is undeniable.

To date, I haven't come across anyone whose life has been improved by a psychiatrist, but I retain an open mind on the subject.
« Last Edit: 23/12/2015 00:16:07 by alancalverd »
 

Offline chris

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Re: Is psychiatry a pseudoscience?
« Reply #15 on: 23/12/2015 00:21:56 »
To date, I haven't come across anyone whose life has been improved by a psychiatrist, but I retain an open mind on the subject.

Probably because most people with a psychiatric history are disinclined to talk about it; and if they have recovered, they would probably rather forget the past...
 

Offline cheryl j

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Re: Is psychiatry a pseudoscience?
« Reply #16 on: 23/12/2015 07:29:29 »



I think that genetic disorders could not explain the complex behavior generated from the unconscious mind. Chemical psychiatry is the purpose of theses so-called genetic disorders, hoping to provide a biological connection between mental illnesses and antipsychotic drugs. In reality, very few "mental illness" has been linked to genetics, and the causes of "schizophrenia" are still unknown to biologists.


If it were true that the brain activity and mental illness can't be explained by neuroscience, you would also expect that it would be much more difficult to replicate the symptoms of mental illness so easily with drugs or other artificial means, that the mind would just go right on doing whatever the patient willed it to, regardless. You can criticize neuroscience for being currently less advanced than other sciences, but all the evidence so far says the mind is what the brain does. 

Ironically, the much maligned Sigmund Freud started out as neurologist, working on such things as neurons in crayfish. He even surmised that someday medicine would have a more mechanistic understanding of the brain and behavior. But there simply wasn't the underlying technology needed to do this at the time. So he went with the best data he could get  - what his patients said.

One of the problems with mind/brain debates is that we discount learning as genuinely biologically based brain function. Messy and inexact as it may be, learning is the brain function that cognitive therapists try to use in changing behavior, but it has its limitations. It requires a brain that has most of its system pretty well intact. But my point is, there is nothing mystical or pseudosciency about it, since even AI computer algorithms can learn and adapt.

 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: Is psychiatry a pseudoscience?
« Reply #17 on: 23/12/2015 13:28:38 »
To date, I haven't come across anyone whose life has been improved by a psychiatrist, but I retain an open mind on the subject.

Probably because most people with a psychiatric history are disinclined to talk about it; and if they have recovered, they would probably rather forget the past...
Not those I have met. 
 

Offline tkadm30

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Re: Is psychiatry a pseudoscience?
« Reply #18 on: 28/12/2015 11:15:01 »
If it were true that the brain activity and mental illness can't be explained by neuroscience, you would also expect that it would be much more difficult to replicate the symptoms of mental illness so easily with drugs or other artificial means, that the mind would just go right on doing whatever the patient willed it to, regardless. You can criticize neuroscience for being currently less advanced than other sciences, but all the evidence so far says the mind is what the brain does. 

Many psychiatrists are simply unaware of the mecanisms and functions of the drugs they're prescribing. There is simply no way to tell why a antipsychotic must be "good" for the mental illness. It's a bit of a human level experiment were the patient is a test subject and its behavior a measure for the effectiveness of the drug. As far as I know, there's no brain analysis a priori to a clinical diagnosis of mental illness, so its hard to quantify the value of the diagnosis in terms of neuroscientific evidences.
« Last Edit: 28/12/2015 11:17:48 by tkadm30 »
 

Offline RD

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Re: Is psychiatry a pseudoscience?
« Reply #19 on: 28/12/2015 11:54:51 »
... There is simply no way to tell why a antipsychotic must be "good" for the mental illness ...

Yes there is : if the anti-psychotic works, the patient is less psychotic after the medicine takes effect , ( which may take weeks ). The patient may not have the insight to realize the medicine is effective , they may only notice the side-effects, and wish to stop taking the medication because of them.

... As far as I know, there's no brain analysis a priori to a clinical diagnosis of mental illness, so its hard to quantify the value of the diagnosis in terms of neuroscientific evidences.

Comparing schizophrenics with non-schizophrenics shows differences in fMRI ... http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3181978/#__sec4title . fMRI shows schizophrenics neurology is functioning abnormally & in a similar way, and that anti-psychotic medications normalized their brain activity.
« Last Edit: 28/12/2015 12:23:05 by RD »
 

Offline cheryl j

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Re: Is psychiatry a pseudoscience?
« Reply #20 on: 28/12/2015 21:43:59 »



Many psychiatrists are simply unaware of the mecanisms and functions of the drugs they're prescribing. There is simply no way to tell why a antipsychotic must be "good" for the mental illness. It's a bit of a human level experiment were the patient is a test subject and its behavior a measure for the effectiveness of the drug. As far as I know, there's no brain analysis a priori to a clinical diagnosis of mental illness, so its hard to quantify the value of the diagnosis in terms of neuroscientific evidences.

You're not entirely wrong, but you're not completely right either. I once heard a lecture by a psychiatrist/neurologist who said "Psychiatrists are the only doctors who rarely see the organ they are treating." He then showed several vastly different brain scans of patients with identical symptoms and said more than likely they were all treated clinically the same way. He said that when treating patients himself, he often felt like he was throwing darts with his eyes shut in dark room.

That said, there is a scientific or statistical basis for treating patients- ie, most people with these symptoms seem to improve if we give them this or that drug or therapy. It's not all snake oil, Big Pharma, or some sinister political plot to make outliers conform.

When I was a kid, I has scoliosis and they fitted me for a back brace to stop the progression and try to correct the curvature of my spine. I suspect that while actually accomplishing that goal to some extent, the brace I wore caused other skeletal problems. But they didn't even understand the cause of scoliosis, whether it was skeletal or neuromuscular, or if all forms of it were the same. ("Idiopathic" was the term they used.) My treatment was simply the best science and technology they had the time, and it was better than being a hunch back without a bell tower.
« Last Edit: 28/12/2015 21:46:03 by cheryl j »
 

Offline tkadm30

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Re: Is psychiatry a pseudoscience?
« Reply #21 on: 03/01/2016 11:28:00 »
That said, there is a scientific or statistical basis for treating patients- ie, most people with these symptoms seem to improve if we give them this or that drug or therapy. It's not all snake oil, Big Pharma, or some sinister political plot to make outliers conform.

The truth is, America is being overmedicated by psychiatrists. This makes psychiatry a highly profitable business.

Furthermore the chemicals used for theses synthetic drugs (antipsychotics) can have serious side effects including neurological disorders, seizures, and obesity. 

http://www.madinamerica.com/2014/03/overmedication-vulnerable-youth-psychiatric-medication-boon-pharmaceutical-industry/
« Last Edit: 03/01/2016 11:29:59 by tkadm30 »
 

Offline cheryl j

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Re: Is psychiatry a pseudoscience?
« Reply #22 on: 04/01/2016 04:10:20 »


The truth is, America is being overmedicated by psychiatrists. This makes psychiatry a highly profitable business.

Furthermore the chemicals used for theses synthetic drugs (antipsychotics) can have serious side effects including neurological disorders, seizures, and obesity. 

http://www.madinamerica.com/2014/03/overmedication-vulnerable-youth-psychiatric-medication-boon-pharmaceutical-industry/
But all drugs have side effect risks. The question is do the risks outweigh any benefits? What are the alternatives to medications, and is there evidence that it works better?

Actually, since drugs are cheaper than weekly cognitive therapy sessions, I'd think the more likely reason isn't psychiatrists trying make more money, but insurance companies trying to save more money and increase their own profits.
 

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Re: Is psychiatry a pseudoscience?
« Reply #22 on: 04/01/2016 04:10:20 »

 

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