Tuesday, May 22, 2012

topical insanity

i upset a couple of someones with my comment yesterday regarding psychiatric labelling.

you know it's a scientology campaign, right?
no i didn't know that it's a scientology campaign, and i find that so ironic my head might explode. their trick is to show people that they need help because they have normal traits.

my label as dyslexic was what saved me and allowed me to break free of the shackles that held me down and allowed me to succeed the way i feel i have done this far and will do in the future. ... it's not so clear cut as saying "labels limit kids" and that's it.

dyslexia is not a disease, it's a different mode of functioning. there are advantages to dyslexia, but it's a very difficult thing to integrate with our industrialized education system. the problem is with the system, not the person. you're right, the label is not the problem: i was thinking in context only about psychiatric use of the DSM.

PTSD or 'shell shock' as it was once known, absolutely exists. PET scans show hypertrophy of the amygdala in individuals placed in prolonged periods of stress such as a war zone and this in turn heightens their autonomic 'fight or flight' response. people with true PTSD develop anxiety behaviours that are disproportionate to the eliciting stimuli that effect their ability to live, work or experience any quality of life. as with any condition that leads to the same, sufferers of PTSD need a combined approach of medication and cognitive behavioural therapy to allow them to have as normal a life as possible.

all traumas require drugs. from simple analgesia to vasoconstrictors/vasodilators and plasma expanders, as a trainee trauma surgeon i have not as yet had a patient under my care who has remained, or even wanted to remain 'drug free'. what people suffering from either condition don't need is guilt from an uneducated, ill-informed palaver that makes them feel guilty for accepting help.


yes, once someone's suffered trauma for a while they might need drugs to control the physical effects of that stress, but the underlying cause for (mental) trauma needs to be dealt with on a psychological level. just throwing drugs at people doesn't help, which is the predominant mode of psychiatry. i was sure i'd written it, so i apologize for somehow missing it, but trauma sufferers need and deserve a lot of TLC and should in no way be made to feel guilty whatever treatment they require. that's totally not what i meant.

"PTSD or 'shell shock' as it was once known, absolutely exists" - i never claimed otherwise

"all traumas require drugs" - seriously? including the little traumas? because people have traumatic experiences all the time, it's part of life. i'm sure you're thinking of physical traumas. people experience little traumas every day. your last statement is something i disagree with. human minds are incredibly powerful things, and the use of drugs should be minimized for "stabilizing behavour/emotions" if used at all. i'm not talking about something like bipolar disorder (which regrettably was mentioned in the video, and i forgot about that until now - i think that's much more complicated), but my point is that psychological issues need to be dealt with psychologically.

again, if someone wants to take drugs to chill out, that's cool. if the trauma has begun to develop physical symptoms, then those can be treated but not as the primary focus, because the root cause is psychological. but the kinds of drugs psychiatrists usually hand out are scary as hell. living in a society which thinks that if your life's difficult to face you should take drugs instead of changing something is disturbing. therapy doesn't need drugs to work if it's the right approach.

anyway, scientology-driven or not, psychiatry is a terrible practice. meds for PTSD symptoms are definitely okay, but psychological therapy is the only way to deal with the trauma itself.

the idea of "normal" behaviour and emotional range is itself insane. every person responds differently to life, and the world is a mess. an interesting mess, with good stuff all around, but a mess. being strange is okay. taking drugs is okay too - but being prescribed drugs on the basis of a DSM listing is outrageous. and that's all i was trying to say. taking anti-psychotics or other weird shit in order to be normal? that's what my fight is. i'm not against the soldiers, i'm against the war.

[in retrospect: why the heck would anyone have to feel guilty for TAKING drugs? my issue is with kids having drugs forced down their throats by clinicians and parents who don't know what normal is any better than anyone else]

[also: being called an "uneducated, ill-informed palaver" totally made my day :/ ]

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in defence of psychopaths: because i just read it and it's appropriate

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