We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Today, Psychiatry contains two camps: The psychopharmacologist "Biological Psychiatrists," and what I can only term "Whole person" Psychiatry. I practice the latter - or try to.
What makes my life difficult is that, with the growing dominance of the Pharmacology shrinks, "best practices" become redefined in favor of medicine treatments. We do have remarkable medicines nowadays but they do not really "fix" anything and, in my experience, are widely over-used.
I will get to the DSM personality disorder flap when I get the chance. Since I think the DSM is sort of silly anyway, it's hard for me to get excited about the topic.
Except for the seriously troubled (bad depression, anxiety, etc.), psychiatry is a crock, a waste of money, something akin to a religion.
The vast majority of people going to "whole person" services are the "worried well". They keep the shrink profession afloat, talk about their troubles and fears for $200 an hour, then go home to a home, family, and job the next day, mildly depressed or anxious members of society, gettining the same relief as going to the spa for a massage.
There is a phenomenally detailed expose of the psychotropic drug industry at http://www.cchr.org/videos/marketing-of-madness/introduction.html
At that website, after each video segment plays, the links to remaining clips appear in the display window, and are visible only after you move cursor to the left side of the window, over the category titles. 'A very strange way to catalogue the video clips.
This video series should be viewed by everyone - it would immediately cause the entire psychotropic drug industry to vanish.
unfortunately it may be easier to convince someone to pop a pill instead of what he/she really needs to do--which is to seek therapy via the "whole person" treatment camp vs. the biological psychiatry. if said person can't even get out of the house or his pajamas and remains zoned out in front of the computer all day neglecting key adult responsibilities, chances are it'll be difficult to get him to a shrink's office. maybe some drugs would provide the boost to get to the next step. seems to me most effective treatment for mental health problems is combo drug/talk.
also, have there been any studies done on what percentage of bloggers have the soon to be removed narcissistic personality disorder?
Psychiatry has been a mixed bag at best and a failure at worst. Drugs have substantially helped many people with psychological problems. The problem that most people in the psychiatric field have with drugs is that they seriously cut into their $150 an hour racket.
There are nuances about side-effects, elusive or difficult diagnosis, and sequelae to having a mental illness that I would enjoyably discuss with people who knew what they were talking about. But I'm going broadside instead.
I've got over three decades and thousands of patients as a psychiatric social worker on an acute psychiatric emergency unit that says this thread is collectively talking out its ass. Drop the narrative of what you wish were true and get the facts. Schizophrenia is a real disease, you can measure its brain effects, and you can give people medicine that in hours (Invega) stops them from hearing voices. Or realise that the CIA hasn't implanted a chip in their head that whispers they're a faggot. Or somewhat longer with depression, enables them to get out of the bed where they have been soiling themselves and unable to eat. Or no longer have to touch every doorjamb 6 times before passing through. Not because of attained insight, and not zombified into submission, but because the medicine works.
Medications don't treat all conditions, maybe never will. And while nothing is a cure (though deep-brain or vagus nerve stimulation might prove out), that is also true of most other branches of medicine as well.
I don't make a dime off pharmaceuticals, BTW.
Assistant Village Idiot
Psychiatric drugs suppress symptoms, that's how they "work."
While I laud your dedication to your field and to your patients, I must disagree that psychotropics are somehow salutary toward one's health. They are very strong, mind-numbing toxins (hence their ability to knock out powerful delusions) that succeed only in depressing brain function.
It is a sign of psychiatry's defeatist philosophy that this is termed a "success." No cure, only "managing" mental illness with chemical agents known to shorten life span.
Dr. JB, thanks for the tip on this book. Medication-driven psychiatry has been a concern for this ornery LCSW for quite some time. There is something to be said for it - symptom management can be a good thing (I can attest to that from personal experience) - but to think of it as a solution is pushing things much too far. In fact, thinking of any approach in these juvenile disciplines we call "mental health professions" is pushing things much too far. (I constantly get into trouble by comparing our collective knowledge base to medicine just before William Harvey.)
But there are some honest folk out there. I've recently begun to study works by Richard P. Bentall, such as his latest Doctoring the Mind (NYU Press, 2009) and his earlier Madness Explained, which address the issues of (a) what really works and (b) the liabilities of the pharmacological approach honestly and dispassionately.