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    Medicalization of Deviance? 
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    This is kind of a touchy subject, so I'm gonna start by saying I mean no offense to anyone and it's just something I've been thinking about recently!

    I have become very interested in sociology lately, and it sparked this idea: does mental illness exist?

    20 years ago, it was normal to have children act wild and hyperactive and unfocused. Now, it is a medical condition, and children are prescribed serious drugs because of it. I'm very unfocused, but I've never tried to get prescribed adderall (though I love it's recreational effects). I feel that my lack of focus and lack of motivation is just part of my personality, I'm just easy going.

    Similarly, more and more people are prescribed anti depressants and anti anxiety medication. I often feel quite depressed, but again, I think it is part of my personality. I am introspective and quiet sometimes, but this shouldn't be a problem.

    What I'm trying to say is that I think doctors and psychiatrists are prescribing medicine to make a person more "normal," which is awful. No one should try to fit into the norm, different ways of thinking are the spice of life! We are being medicated to fit the mold they (whoever "they" are) want us to be. Any thoughts?
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    I think you might be interested in the work of Michel Foucault

    See for example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madness_and_Civilization

    It was published in the 60s, but the medicalization of the human psyche in our contemporary world only seems to support or complement his thesis.
    Last edited by Psyduck; 27-02-2013 at 10:11.
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    ^Seconded. It's an exceptionally dry read, but its provocative take on the history of the mental illness and of society's responses thereto did have a powerful impact within and beyond academia; indeed, it, along with other works by Laing, et. al., served as a seminal text in the then-burgeoning anti-psychiatry movement - the remnants of which can still be found on the internet today.
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    Thanks guys I'll give it a read!

    One of the craziest things about psychiatry is the history of it's founding... It was once used as a method of control. People could be called "crazy," stuck in mental institutions where crazy tests were performed on them, and there was nothing they could do! A crazy person never thinks they're crazy, so denying it would just get them further stuck.

    I think this history still contributes to the present. People believe what doctors say, without looking into it themselves. Doctors make huge amounts of money prescribing drugs they are asked to prescribe by big companies. In reality, if you are depressed you don't need drugs. The best thing to do is to eat healthy, exercise, attempt to put yourself in social situations, etc. Drug companies offer a quick fix, which is unhealthy, often unsuccessful, and can make symptoms worse than before.

    I view mental illness as a response to a sick society as opposed to a sick individual
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    Two things all people must understand about psychiatric illness:

    1. Every psychiatric illness known to medicine essentially involves too much or too little of one or more mentations that are common, normal, and healthy. In other words, it's not the content of the mentations of the mentally ill that make them pathological, but rather their frequency, intensity, or inappropriateness.

    2. A person is mentally ill if and only if they fail at life, and that failing is a direct result of maladaptive mentations. On the converse, a person's mindstate can be bizarrely odd or idiosyncratic, but if they cope with life just fine, they are not mentally ill, and do not warrant the services of a psychiatrist.

    As in all of medicine, you are ill if you suffer.
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    But often these people diagnosed can cope fine, though they may have more trouble than others. I guess I'm not really talking about people with say, severe OCD, which can prevent people from even leaving their homes. But something like depression, a very common diagnosis, doesn't necessarily make your life unlivable. I've dealt with pretty severe depression in the past, but like I said, I think it helped to make me more of an interesting person. Some of the greatest authors and philosophers have suffered from depression... I wonder if they would have come up with the same ideas if they were prescribed Xanax or Zoloft!

    What's considered mental illness depends on the culture... If I talk to myself I may be considered insane. If I'm talking to God, I'm sane. If God talks to me, I'm insane. In other cultures and passed times, if God or spirits talk to me, I'm a prophet. It all depends on the society you live in, and if you're fitting into that society's "norms."
    Last edited by Euphio; 28-02-2013 at 02:12.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Euphio View Post
    But often these people diagnosed can cope fine, though they may have more trouble than others. I guess I'm not really talking about people with say, severe OCD, which can prevent people from even leaving their homes. But something like depression, a very common diagnosis, doesn't necessarily make your life unlivable. I've dealt with pretty severe depression in the past, but like I said, I think it helped to make me more of an interesting person. Some of the greatest authors and philosophers have suffered from depression... I wonder if they would have come up with the same ideas if they were prescribed Xanax or Zoloft!
    Your post actually supports my point. Many people have mentations and behaviors that are the same as major depression, OCD, and other psychiatric illnesses. But if these mentations and behaviors do not bother them or the people in their lives, then they are not clinically mentally ill. If a person's mental states do not interfere with them holding down a job or academic program at their level of intellectual capability, keeping friendships and intimate relationships, staying out of serious legal and financial trouble, or be in any other way a danger to themselves or others, then they do not deserve a diagnosis in their medical chart and a treatment regimen from a psychiatrist. My father has attention deficits and obsessive compulsive traits in his personality. But I would be amiss to say he has these illnesses, because they have never bothered him or those who know him to the point where he has sought professional help.

    What's considered mental illness depends on the culture... If I talk to myself I may be considered insane. If I'm talking to God, I'm sane. If God talks to me, I'm insane. In other cultures and passed times, if God or spirits talk to me, I'm a prophet. It all depends on the society you live in, and if you're fitting into that society's "norms."
    Yes and no. If the way you think and behave hinders you from having your basic needs met, despite your best efforts, then the services of a psychiatrist would probably improve your health. Positive and validating social interaction is a human need, and many of our basic needs are met through our interactions with others in the society we live in. So if something about the way you think and behave makes most people you rely on to meet one or more of your needs not want to deal with you, then I think you could be deemed mentally ill. It is definitely more difficult to find the sorts of social interactions necessary to meet your needs the less "normal" or "typical" you are. But that said, societies are incredibly flexible by their nature, since they are made up of so many unique people and groups. Whatever your quirks, it's easier than ever before to find and latch onto others who are of similar mind. And when possible, I think that's a better option than going right to psychiatric diagnosis and treatment. I really think the latter is best saved for people who clearly cannot cope, are a clear danger to themselves or others, or are unfortunately stuck in a community with not much diversity or other resources available.

    Statements like "If one thinks / perceives / does X, then one is insane" is a slippery slope of normative statements, which eventually ends in persecution of anyone considered dissenting or potentially troublesome. You're right to keep a healthy skepticism about the mental health system, because it has been, and probably still is, used as a weapon to quell dissent and encourage quiet conformity in totalitarian states. The safeguard against this is clear, objective documentation of the patient's difficulties coping with life, seeking psychiatric help of their own free will, and receiving the minimum treatment necessary for them to resume a life they can cope with.

    Any psychiatrist worth his salt will ask all of his patients, when taking a history, "Does that bother you? Why?"
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    OP, there is virtually nothing i agree with more than what you posted. ive made it known on bluelight and gotten nothing but shit for it. psychiatry is a business like law enforcement, fishing, or anything else. it responds to simple human necessity. if everyone were lucid, content, and productive, psychiatrists would be out of work.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Myth_of_Mental_Illness

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R.D._Laing

    i believe mental illness is an illusory social construct that has seeped into and oversaturated our consciousness over time. there is no factual, objective basis for it. only theories that classify people as A or B. anyone with a functional brain can see that "mental illness" is spectral and not dichotomous.. that is to say, there are varying degrees of anxiety, OCD, bi-polar etc. and its not a yes or no thing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by trees_please View Post
    OP, there is virtually nothing i agree with more than what you posted. ive made it known on bluelight and gotten nothing but shit for it. psychiatry is a business like law enforcement, fishing, or anything else. it responds to simple human necessity. if everyone were lucid, content, and productive, psychiatrists would be out of work.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Myth_of_Mental_Illness

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R.D._Laing

    i believe mental illness is an illusory social construct that has seeped into and oversaturated our consciousness over time. there is no factual, objective basis for it. only theories that classify people as A or B. anyone with a functional brain can see that "mental illness" is spectral and not dichotomous.. that is to say, there are varying degrees of anxiety, OCD, bi-polar etc. and its not a yes or no thing.
    I'm not here to give you shit but I would like to know what experiences you have had with the mental health system that caused you to come to these conclusions.
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    You don't really need to have a lot of experience with it to see it... what other medical practice makes a diagnosis based entirely on opinions and questionaires? There is no physical evidence of mental illness (please correct me if I'm not thinking of something). Imagine if other doctors could do this..

    Question: do you have chest pain?
    According to his answers on this questionaire, I've decided he in fact is having a heart attack!

    I wish I could remember the study and who conducted it, but a psychologist got a group of people and told them to attempt to gain admittance to a psychiatric hospital. Almost all of them gained admittance, though none of them had any history of mental illness. I'm surprised there can be a medical practice that has no basis in reality..

    Similar to the study, I feel nearly anyone could go to a doctor and get prescribed ADD and ADHD medicine. I knew many people in college who would do that and sell off their prescriptions each month. I also know many women in college who could get Xanax and do the same thing (for some reason it seemed women were more likely to get antianxiety meds than men). I just think it's bad news having such an over prescribed society...
    Last edited by Euphio; 02-03-2013 at 01:17.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Euphio View Post
    You don't really need to have a lot of experience with it to see it... what other medical practice makes a diagnosis based entirely on opinions and questionaires? There is no physical evidence of mental illness (please correct me if I'm not thinking of something). Imagine if other doctors could do this..

    Question: do you have chest pain?
    According to his answers on this questionaire, I've decided he in fact is having a heart attack!
    MDAO could better expand on this than I can, but this is sometimes the case. The person doing the diagnostics looks at both symptoms (reported by the patient based on their subjective feeling/sensations) and signs (objective criteria based on observation/tests done by the Dr/nurse/dentist/EMT/whatever professional is applicable in a given case) and then based on the findings, compare it to a set of diagnostic criteria and arrive at diagnosis and then decide on a treatment.

    So i.e. Patient goes to his GP and is like "My nose is all plugged and my throat is sore and tastes gross" The Dr then looks at the back of his throat and it's inflamed and there is mucus dripping down from the top. Then he looks up his nose and it's also inflamed and mucus filled. Dr is like "K, here is some mometasone. Yuo haz an post-nasal dripzors from teh tree sperms floating around in the airz. Dis should be halp."

    Mental illness has it's physical signs in many cases. repetitive movements, poor hygiene, scars/sharp injury from self harm, track marks and injection marks from substance abuse/addiction, vocalizations/talking to oneself, strange gestures, etc. Those are pretty objective, and there are many others.
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    You don't have to have a mental illness to do these things though. To prove a point, I could walk around making strange gestures, talking to myself, and harming myself (i won't though..) All of these things can be easily faked, and often are to obtain drugs. Also, who's to say that because you do these things, you are "ill?" Think of a homeless person, for an example. This person talks to himself. He has strange thought patterns, thinking he can control traffic as it goes by. He uses drugs when he can afford them.
    Now think about this person's life... He lives alone on the streets. He's basically invisible.. no matter what he does, people walk by him and ignore him. He might not survive through the night. He has no idea when his next meal will come. In these circumstances, how long do you think it would take you to go insane?

    I guess the point I'm trying to make through this is an argument of nature vs. nurture. Mental illness suggests there is something inherently wrong with a person, making the argument for nature. I am saying that many, if not all mental illnesses, are instead a problem with nurture, and are simply strange behaviors. Just because a person acts strange, does not mean they are ill.

    If a doctor could look at a person's brain, point out an area where there is a physical, tangible difference and say "this is why this person has ADD/depression/anxiety" I would agree and say it is an illness. Otherwise, I look at it as strange behaviors due to something possibly in the person's upbringing.

    Sorry my arguments are getting kind of rambly, I'm having trouble saying exactly what I'm trying to say haha Thanks for all the replies and discussions though guys!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Euphio View Post
    You don't have to have a mental illness to do these things though. To prove a point, I could walk around making strange gestures, talking to myself, and harming myself (i won't though..) All of these things can be easily faked, and often are to obtain drugs.
    I don't think you understand the nature of these drugs. Yes, someone can fake ADD and get Aderall, which has a street value. But the types of drugs that would be prescribed to a person experiencing psychosis (making strange gestures, talking to yourself, harming yourself) are not the types of drugs people WANT to take. You don't get high off these drugs. In fact, I'd argue that taking these drugs without having mental illness could potentially cause the very symptoms they are meant to suppress.

    Also, who's to say that because you do these things, you are "ill?" Think of a homeless person, for an example. This person talks to himself. He has strange thought patterns, thinking he can control traffic as it goes by. He uses drugs when he can afford them.
    This person prolly really is mentally ill and he uses alcohol or street drugs to self-medicate. The percentage of mentally ill amongst the homeless is staggering. Study after study has shown this. When you get drunk and pass out, the voices in your head aren't so loud.

    Now think about this person's life... He lives alone on the streets. He's basically invisible.. no matter what he does, people walk by him and ignore him. He might not survive through the night. He has no idea when his next meal will come. In these circumstances, how long do you think it would take you to go insane?
    So you do admit that there is such a thing as being insane? Good. That's progress in the right direction although the word "insane" is outdated and somewhat derogatory. This ^ is a chicken/egg argument. Some people, such as yourself, would argue that homelessness caused that person's mental illness. Others would argue that he was mentally ill FIRST and couldn't cope with the responsibilities of living in society, causing him to become homeless. Even others would argue that Reagan closed a bunch of mental hospitals and caused these people to be forced out into streets.

    I guess the point I'm trying to make through this is an argument of nature vs. nurture. Mental illness suggests there is something inherently wrong with a person, making the argument for nature. I am saying that many, if not all mental illnesses, are instead a problem with nurture, and are simply strange behaviors. Just because a person acts strange, does not mean they are ill.
    While I have heard cases of people being convinced of being mentally ill, I don't think you're understanding what it is like to BE mentally ill. You're not grasping the fear and panic that occurs within the mind of a person experiencing psychosis. The brain is a fragile organ. It's made up of chemicals and electricity and such. The human mind is more complex than you can even begin to imagine. Personally, I think your ramblings could be understood as being very insensitive to someone who may in fact be mentally ill. You know.....for realz mentally ill.

    If a doctor could look at a person's brain, point out an area where there is a physical, tangible difference and say "this is why this person has ADD/depression/anxiety" I would agree and say it is an illness. Otherwise, I look at it as strange behaviors due to something possibly in the person's upbringing.
    Unlike a kidney or liver or whatever, the brain cannot be taken out and put back in. A doctor cannot cut upen a living brain to find depression or anxiety and repair it like a fucking carburator. Shit doesn't work that way. The behaviors are real because other people can sometimes see them. The thoughts are real because the person experiencing them says so. I'm tellin ya, people don't WISH to be put on psych meds. Let me ask you something, Euphio. Have you ever seen your brain? Have you ever smashed your skull and actually looked at your own brain in the mirror? Because by your logic, if you can't see it then it must not be real. And by the way you're talking, I may argue in your favor and say that you do not have a brain.

    Sorry my arguments are getting kind of rambly, I'm having trouble saying exactly what I'm trying to say haha Thanks for all the replies and discussions though guys!
    Your rambling arguments warrant admission to the nearest psych ward and lots of pills.

    Just kidding. Please don't shoot anyone over this.
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    #14
    In the US at least, "insane" is a legal term. It means not mentally capable of comprehending the causal chain between one's prior actions and now standing trial in court. It has no meaning in medicine, and no capable psychiatrist uses this term in a non-forensic setting.

    "Mentally ill" is a medical term. It means suffering a diminished health and life quality as a direct result of one's thinking patterns. As a medical term, it is very broad. In common parlance, it is narrowly used, almost exclusively for schizophrenia and, to a lesser degree, other diseases involving psychosis that's not an effect of psychoactive substance use. It's used as a polite term for "psychotic". I don't like the term, because I'm tired of using it the broad (i.e. correct) way, and confusing laypeople who interpret it the narrow (i.e. common) way.

    OP, read rangrz post -- he's absolutely correct. There is not a whole lot of difference between how medicine diagnoses diseases of the body and diseases of the mind. Both cases involve patterns (hence, checklists) of findings not typically found in healthy people, in the setting of clear limitation or suffering. Treatment continues until the goals are met: the return of function lost, and the diminishment of suffering to tolerable levels. No one gets diagnosed or treated on the basis on one symptom occurring once or twice, that the person thinks nothing of.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Atrick View Post
    I'm not here to give you shit but I would like to know what experiences you have had with the mental health system that caused you to come to these conclusions.
    id like to know what experiences youve had with the mental health system that caused you to challenge my conclusions. ive been to court ordered therapy and ive certainly suffered from periods of anxiety and depression. ive visited a mental hospital and spoke with several recovering schizophrenics. whats your experience? because it sounds like you think my unconventional view is alarming and poorly representative of your cherished status quo.

    Quote Originally Posted by rangrz View Post
    Mental illness has it's physical signs in many cases. repetitive movements, poor hygiene, scars/sharp injury from self harm, track marks and injection marks from substance abuse/addiction, vocalizations/talking to oneself, strange gestures, etc. Those are pretty objective, and there are many others.
    jesus christ are you shitting me?? repetitive movements... whats that like walking? poor hygiene? anyone that doesnt shower 6 times a week is mentally ill.. and we all know that talking to yourself is a guarantee that youre mentally ill. yea, those are real objective. you totally proved that schizophrenia is a curable disease right there..
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    Repetitive movements that are purposeless and bizarre. Think something like touching the index finger on your right hand to the tip of each finger on your left hand over and over and over and over for hours on end while just sitting there. Talking to yourself? Not short, incidental and/or useful types. Not just saying "Oh fuck my life" once after finding out you have to work a double shift. Not just mumbling something to yourself while trying to remember an equation. More like carrying on a full conversation for an extended period of time.

    As MDAO said, the symptoms need to cause suffering and impair the patient from coping with life.
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    none of what youve said (other than symptoms that cause suffering) qualifies as objective criteria. prove to me how a mental patients brain differs from that of a sane person.
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    MRI white matter diffusion anisotropy and PET metabolic rate in schizophrenia

    ncreased dopamine synthesis rate in medial prefrontal cortex and striatum in schizophrenia indicated by L-(β-11C) DOPA and PET

    Three-Dimensional Analysis With MRI and PET of the Size, Shape, and Function of the Thalamus in the Schizophrenia Spectrum

    It can also be inferred from psycho pharmacology. We know what something, for example, amphetamine, causes symptoms not dissimilar to schizophrenia and/or mania. We also know that amphetamine releases dopamine and inhibits it's re-uptake. We know that haloperidol blocks dopamine receptors, and that haloperidol blocks the effects of amphetamine. We know that it reduces both amphetamine induced mania/psychosis, and naturally appearing mania and psychosis. We can deduce that something to do with dopamine is involved in this, and that there is likely either an overly sensitive dopamine receptor system, under-active dopamine reuptake transport mechanism or overly active dopamine synthesis mechanism.

    Generalize this concept to a bunch of substances and bunch of neurotransmitters and areas of brain etc.

    As for the rest. The suffering always makes or breaks a sign/symptom finding being a pathology or not. No suffering means no pathology. But things like repetative movements and talking to oneself are strong indications that when it comes doing the DDx, it's a psychiatric or neurological condition causing it.
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    trees_please, mental illness is not gauged by a difference in brains (at least in test subjects who are still living). Because psychiatry and psychology don't study brains so much. They study behavior and speech.

    What I find most intriguing about your story is that you were court-ordered to attend therapy. Which is to say, I cannot assume that you have seen mental health professionals of your own free will. I also find it plausible (but not necessarily true) that your sessions with mental health professionals had an outside agenda, that the professional(s) involved were in cahoots with. Consider that this might color your opinion.

    I assure you, though, it is not indicative of the whole mental health system, at least in the US.
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    Quote Originally Posted by trees_please View Post
    id like to know what experiences youve had with the mental health system that caused you to challenge my conclusions. ive been to court ordered therapy and ive certainly suffered from periods of anxiety and depression. ive visited a mental hospital and spoke with several recovering schizophrenics. whats your experience? because it sounds like you think my unconventional view is alarming and poorly representative of your cherished status quo.
    First of all, my post re: yours was written very politely. There's no reason to be a dick about it.

    Second of all, judging by your experiences, I would say that you have only scratched the surface of the mental health system. Court ordered therapy and visiting a mental hospital at your own free will is like saying you successfully completed one day of boot camp and are now a soldier. IOW you ain't seen nothin.

    I'm not going to share my diagnosis but I have been chewed up by the MH system and spat back out. During one of my episodes I ended up homeless for about six months. During another episode I couch surfed for nearly a year. I'm actually one of the success stories. It was five years of hell but I came out the other side, finished by bachelors degree, obtained a master's degree, and now work full time. It took several years of being diagnosed with different disorders at varying degrees before they finally nailed one to me and gave me a lifetime prescription of government subsidized meds.

    TP, I'm sorry you experienced that. Like I said, it is not intention to give you shit. Yes the doctors draw large salaries and drive fancy cars, but if you're gonna be mad at someone for the industry working like a business, blame capitalism. We live in a society where goods and services are exchanged for money. Doctors can't work for free and they have to pay off their med school student loans somehow.
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    well, i studied psychology (visited a mental hospital w/ my 400 level class) for several years in college, and I've read and experienced enough to formulate my own opinions about the matter. and thats all that either of us have- opinions. It is my opinion that behavior and thoughts allow mental health professionals to categorize someone as sane or insane. i dont believe such a distinction is valid, as mental health is complex, and not dichotomous like they would have you believe.

    I'm not concerned that they make a profit. everyone has bills to pay. im simply concerned that the pseudoscience of psychiatry has convinced our culture that people like you or myself are unfit to govern our own lives and must be aided pharmacologically. The problem is not behaviour or personal conduct, it is the restrictions and ordinances placed on the population that cause a disruption in one's well-being.
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    First off, mental health professionals have not used the term sane or insane for at least 70 years, the term is now only used in legal settings and has no meaning or relevance to psychology or psychiatry.

    Quote Originally Posted by trees_please View Post
    It is my opinion that behavior and thoughts allow mental health professionals to categorize someone as sane or insane. i dont believe such a distinction is valid, as mental health is complex, and not dichotomous like they would have you believe.
    Secondly, I agree. Mental health is definitly not dichotomous and any psychiatrist/doctor/phsycologist who believes it is should lose their degree. But i dont believe most believe it is. For instance Even the DSM recognizies the complexities of diagnosing mental disorders. A recent change to the next edition of the DSM(I think this is true correct me if im wrong) will be the removal of aspergers and the inclusion of an autistic spectrum(which will include aspergers), hence the DSM is recognizing the huge variety and complexity of autism and the fact that it is not a single disease much alike to schizophrenia, which is also considered a spectrum of diseases rather than just one.

    I agree with both sides of this argument, but there are ways to look inside the brain in fact there are many ways: MRI, fMRIs, ECG, CT or CAT and many others ways to look inside the brain. And in a lot of mental illnesses they have shown differences between the brains of people with a mental illness and people without, for instance the frontal lobes are indicated in ADD/ADHD and a structure(i forget which one) within part of the frontal lobes is abnormal within an ADD/ADHD mind, they have done brain imaging with major depression and discovered subtle differences/abnormalities compared to a "normal brain" too.
    Also Psychology does deal with the brain in fact there are many fields focused on the brain within psychology, probably the most relevant would be NEUROPSYCHOLOGY! its a huge developing field where they study the brain in great detail and how human behavior relates to brain structures. I am currently enrolled in an undergraduate course on Neuropsychology.

    Quote Originally Posted by Euphio View Post
    If a doctor could look at a person's brain, point out an area where there is a physical, tangible difference and say "this is why this person has ADD/depression/anxiety" I would agree and say it is an illness. Otherwise, I look at it as strange behaviors due to something possibly in the person's upbringing.
    ^They can look at a person's brain and as i explained before there are tangable differences between ADD/(major)depression/anxiety(Generalized, PTSD, chronic..) and a "normal" brain.

    To say that psychology doesn't look at or deal with the brain is ridiculous... it is just that in most cases a patient or a client cannot afford a MRI or other brain imaging technique so they base the diagnosis off of reported symptoms and observed behavior.
    That being said I do believe that many many drugs like SSRI (and other anti-depressants), benzos, and amphetamines are over prescribed and are not a cure for an illness, in many cases they hinder progress. I also agree with you that people who may show eccentric or antisocial(not the personality disorder, but antisocial as in shy, introverted, nontalkitive.) tendencies are given drugs to "normalize" them when they should not be. Whats going on today with children and ADD/ADHD diagnosis in this country is appaling(and reckless, disgusting, inhumane even) and seems like an attempt for parents/society to control there childs behavior.
    Finally one of the basic concepts behind psychology is the nature vs. nurture philosophy: For example when looking at twin studies(identical, gentically clones) with schizophrenia spectrum disorders, if one twin has schizophrenia the chances the other twin will have it is very high, but if the twins were raised seperatly by different parents and again if one twin has schizophrenia, the chances of the other twin having it are lower, than if they were raised together. But the chances of the twin, whose other twin has schizo.., and was raised seperatly still has a much greater chance of having becoming schizophrenic than the average person. Hence there is evidence that schizophrenia is partly genetic (nature) but also life events, upbringing and personal history/story (nurture) plays a large role in whether someone will become schizophrenic or not. One of the most important concepts within psychology is that no illness/disease/disorder is all nature or all nurture its a mixture of the two.
    here is a link to what i was talking about, has pictures that show obvious differences in the brains of identical twins one with schozophrenia and one without:
    http://www.schizophrenia.com/research/hereditygen.htm
    Last edited by YellowNikes; 06-03-2013 at 16:36. Reason: typos and links fixed/added
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    #23
    Bluelighter rangrz's Avatar
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    In my undergrad I did a few research positions (like you know, go and be a bitch to a Doctoral student, who is in turn the Prof's bitch and do lab work) in radiology and nuclear medicine. In one of them, we where doing diffusion tensor MRI and single photon emission computed tomography comparison between people bipolar 1 and control. I do recall there being a subtle, but statistically significant difference in blood flow to certain areas of the brain at the level that I was working at. (Which was essentially just crunching numbers from raw data...I was not blinded, and that was indeed part of the reason I was there, to be able to crunch numbers and work with data without needing to be blinded between experimental and control populations...the Doc students and Prof needed to be kept blinded).

    Currently, my research assignment in my M.Sc physics degree is related to radiotherapy of solid neurotumours. While not directly related to this issue in the thread, we do note a difference in cognition and behaviour based around what areas of the brain are irradiated at extremely high doses. Because, well, ya, it damages the brain, and we have to find collametry techniques to avoid this as much as possible. But as some the induced lesions caused by over-dosage of radiation have similarity to some mental illness, it provides evidence that mental illness, like everything else to do with the mind, be reduced to the physical state of the brain.
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    Bluelighter P A's Avatar
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    Though (as usual) I'll second just about everything said by rangrz, Jerry, and MDAO, I'm surprised that no one's yet broached the thorny topic of the so-called 'personality disorders' as described by the DSM. In contrast to the readily apparent debilitation and distress induced by, say, psychoses or anxiety disorders, many of these 'illnesses' (if you could even validly index them by that name) of personality are classified by the extremity and variety of 'deviate traits' exhibited by their 'sufferers.' For obvious reasons, personality disorders are perfect representative cases of the critical points made by Foucault, Laing, and the anti-psychiatrists. While I do not sympathize with the sentiments of hardline anti-psychiatrists, I am of the firm opinion that the current edition of the DSM (the manual providing the descriptive paradigm within which most researchers work and to which most clinicians refer for diagnostic purposes) is of mixed clinical value at best. It is a bloated, ethically questionable catalog purporting to enumerate and describe the full scope of human mental dysfunction, which dysfunctions include, in some cases, mere deviance from a vague societal norm, as the OP addressed in the title of this thread.

    Take, for instance, 'Schizoid Personality Disorder,' which effectively categorizes apathetic, dreamy loners as having a mental disorder that shares a loose (unproven?) epidemiological connection to psychosis. This is a particularly innocuous example, as diagnosis of SPD is rare, but a quick glance at the DSM criteria for a variety of such 'illnesses' will reveal a distressing pattern indicating that the psychiatry, as a field of medicine and a discipline in its own right, has quite a long way to go before it fully dissociates itself from its dubious origins as means of social control on the one hand, and a verbose, overly descriptive pseudo-science on the other.
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    #25
    Thats true the personality disorder diagnosis definitely seem like a remnant of psychology's past more pseuodoscience theories, like Freud and many others these theories that attempt to broadly categorize "strange"(non-societal) behaviors. Is there any empirical evidence supporting the personality disorders? Also part of the dogma around personality disorders is that they are essentially permanent and unchangable, hence what's the point in a diagnosis of there is no cure, treatment, or even the attempt to find a cure or treatment. In some ways personality disorders could be seen as scapegoat diagnosises...
    Haha im rather green in the head atm.
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