Wednesday, September 24, 2014

There Is No Definitive Medical Test for Mental Illness

I don't have a grudge against medical psychiatrists with their bible of mental disorders (DSM-V). I do believe that their intentions are noble and compassionate. Like most physicians, they simply want to be of help to those who are suffering, and they sincerely believe they're helping.

But I just wish psychiatrists could be more accurate. It's hardly a secret. There is no objective laboratory diagnostic test for mental illness, unlike other areas of medicine. A troubled, mentally confused person goes to the psychiatrist. The patient describes his or her picture of "reality" or symptoms for a few minutes, and then is instantly diagnosed and given brain drugs by the doctor.

Bias is part of psychiatry, whether we like it or not. Built into the fabric of its training and protocol is biochemical or drug therapy, for their so-called "mental illness." That's their embedded bias. Psychiatrists are not or poorly trained in psychotherapy and counseling in the medical school. So, even when there is no objective, clinical basis for their "label" of a mental health patient, they'll get their pad and write a pharmaceutical prescription. Psychiatrists are the only M.D.s who prescribe drugs without definitive medical or objective diagnostic basis.

All too many people are diagnosed with mental illnesses they don't have. Too many are given brain drugs they don't need. Psychiatry is part of the spectrum of mental health care available to the psychologically or emotionally disturbed. But I'd feel safe (as well as the rest of humanity!) if psychiatrists are more able to present their ideas as "fact" with a reasonable degree of objective accuracy, beyond any vague diagnostic category.

Related link:  http://www.cchr.org/


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