Archive for September, 2007

Article in People, August 27, 2007, p. 123.

Monday, September 3rd, 2007

An article in People magazine last week featured the struggle by a college professor against her lifelong “mental illness.” Described are her symptoms of paranoia, her delusions, hallucinations, etc., the whole panoply of what modern psychiatry is pleased to call the disease of schizophrenia.

Now well into mid-life, the professor is portrayed as triumphant though haunted by the ever-present threat that these symptoms will probably return. There is, of course, at the end of the short article, a gratuitous sidebar telling the reader that “schizophrenia can be treated with drugs like risperidone” (generic name of Risperdal, one of the atypical antipsychotics).

 This statement is blatantly untrue. The evidence that Risperdal (or Zyprexa, or Seroquel, or Abilify, or Giodon) can in any way ameliorate the bizarre and distressing conduct of the so-called mentally ill is dubious at best: the research upon which such statements are founded is corrupted from the outset by meddling with the data as it is collected by researchers in the pay of pharmaceutical companies. In addition, the research designs are so flawed that any first-year graduate student in experimental psychology could list their weaknesses.

But more to the point: what is important about this article is not what it includes but what it leaves out. And what it leaves out is crucial! With the exception of the brief reference to the professor’s father being an attorney, nothing, repeat nothing, is said about the professor’s family of origin! Not her siblings, their gender, her place in the birth order, whether she came along at an inconvenient time in her parents’ lives, what her parents’ expectations (implicit or expressed) were for her, the trauma that may have occurred in her parents’ generation (or her own), the family rules for dealing with that trauma, how the professor (as a child and teen-ager) attempted to negotiate conflicts over her future with her parents, etc., etc.

Without this knowledge which, I contend, is deliberately overlooked, we can never get a grasp of the precursors of her bizarre behavior. We are left with psychiatry’s self-serving assertions that the professor’s bizarre behavior is somehow symptomatic of a “disease.” This is patent nonsense! It is a delusion which is foisted on unsuspecting Americans because it is profitable for both psychiatrists and their pharmaceutical patrons.