No shit, and I will not sleep tonight. Anyone heard of the Candid Psychiatrist? He’s got articles, a blog, forum and a mission statement! And he’s nice! I’m gonna do some reviewing here while reading his articles.
I believe that too much of contemporary psychiatric practice indulges in half-truths, often avoiding the sort of frank honesty that might be helpful to our patients. My purpose in this website, my writing, and my other efforts is to provide greater knowledge about psychiatric issues to the general public, particularly those who have been in psychiatric treatment.
I was thrilled to read in Psychiatry’s Own “Inconvenient Truth” the scientific method plainly used to explain the fallacy of a chemical imbalance, ergo, huzzah.
An American Illness links our high depression rates to entitlement:
You, the stinking rich American with cable TV, convenient food, reliable plumbing, and a relative absence of infectious disease, are one lucky bastard by any objective measure you can name.
So why do we deserve any more consideration in this world than an Asian rice-farmer? If he’s happy with his life, why shouldn’t we be happy with ours? What defeats our efforts to be satisfied? Our own expectations do, of course. It’s not the fact that we don’t have, because the vast majority of humanity makes do with a hell of a lot less than we do. It’s what we want. As David Byrne once queried, “This is not my beautiful car…this is not my beautiful wife…how did I get here?” And the answer is…well, shit happened.
I was however, disappointed to see the standard line given to schizophrenia, but it’s not unexpected, I too have seen the worst of that decline, and it really is difficult to doubt a neurochemical basis for it.
As regular readers of this blog know, Dr. John Read in New Zealand is doing just that, and I’m listening to both sides; just bought Read’s book, Models of Madness, which I won’t review unread, but the value is in the dialogue itself, in Read calling for debate and the need to acknowledge our beliefs about the cause of schizophrenia as just that. Modelzzzz of madness, as in, yo, there is more than one. And until the biological route is proven, we should put funding dollars into psycho-social research too. Which is not happening. The Candid Psychiatrist gets all that, but still builds a case for biological schizophrenia, and criticizes the anti-psychiatry stand as delusional, so that’s a minus, but dogma is inescapable in this game, and he seems generally more sympathetic than establishment.
I liked what he wrote about the conflation of clinical depression with simple laziness, and another that points to shitty marriages as the unspoken cause of incurable malaise:
A patient that is in a miserable marriage can present with all the cardinal symptoms of depression, including lack of energy, lack of pleasure, sleep and/or appetite disturbance, lack of motivation, even suicidal thoughts. Uncovering this problem is complicated by the fact that patients are not generally forthcoming about their marital problems, but instead accustomed to lying to others about it.In some instances, patients even lie to themselves about it, denying their brooding resentment rather than giving it voice.
What’s even worse is that many psychiatrists never bother to adequately probe this issue—submitting such patients to multiple medication trials in a vain effort to alleviate these symptoms, without any exploration of the underlying relationship issues.
This is largely because of the contemporary fixation of psychiatrists on the “chemical imbalance” model of depression, and excessive reliance on medications.
I haven’t read the forum articles yet, but so far so good; he wants feedback, describes himself as a patient advocate, and was a big hit at Daily Kos, in a post diagnosing you know who. I wish he would talk more to his colleagues than patients, but maybe that will come, once he realizes how savvy we internet folks are. I can play spot the dealbreakers, or be supportive, and I choose the latter for now. Frankly, he had me from the git with the “About” page:
While I was pursuing my professional career I also played bass and sang in rock bands, including a number of punk-oriented bands. I bring this up because this experience significantly influenced my world view—not that I’m a nihilist by any means, but I am a believer in the power of truth, even (or especially) those truths that may be hard to take.
Punk rock underpinnings are a plus in my world, for the exact same reason. In the end he says it comes down to this:
The existence of spectrum disorders …calls into question the very meaning of psychiatric illness, as well as “normality”. Fortunately, you are the one who gets to decide how normal you want to be.
Yes indeed. What say you, any comments on this post?