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Dreamspirit

What would be Ayn Rand's position on Psychiatry?

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I think she probably would have deemed it a violation of individual rights. She herself said that suicide is a right and that it is morally incorrect to take away man's reason, thus she would be against the forced drugging which effects the mind. Also psychiatry is a set of beliefs, not proven by science and all about what the majority wants and thinks is "normal." It is very harmful for someone to be told there is something wrong with the way they think, instead of getting through their dark times and doing what works for them. I consider myself an objectivist, and I think psychiatric treatment is a very important issue that needs to be addressed because there are millions of kids who are being forced to take these drugs which will damage their minds and I don't like living in an environment where people are judged by their behavior based on some pseudo science. Also, based on other things she has said she believes, Ayn would have to think things such as narcissistic personality disorder were ridiculous.

Edited by Dreamspirit

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You seem to be addressing a couple different ideas in here at once.

True, forced drugging would be wrong, just as any other act of force. However, in the context of kids, if you were a parent, it is proper at times to make them take some sort of medication, if you judge it to be necessary. In other contexts, like someone with a severe case of shizophrenia, I wonder if a kind of forced treatment may be proper, but that's probably best left for another thread.

As far as psychiatry being pseudo-science, I doubt it. Of course, medications involving the brain are definitely in their infancy of development, so there is a lot of uncertainty. Just to be clear, since you seem to be considering psychiatry and psychology to be the same thing. But they are different. I don't know a precise difference between the two, but psychology is more broad. Minor point I guess, but I think you're more referring to psychology. The scientific process is just as applicable in both psychiatry and psychology as it is with any other logical and inductive thinking.

Because there are objectives to thinking in general and thinking about concepts, it is proper to judge how well a person is thinking. Is an individual on a functioning level of going to school or holding a job, for instance? Of course, there may be something wrong like having pneumonia so it's hard to function, but since thinking is also needed to function, there may be some issue with the process of something. One question is if the best thing to do is medicate, or to go about working on someone's volitional thinking processes.

Regarding something narcissistic personality disorder, or any personality disorder, my personal opinion is that those have little basis and more about how much you think like most people, too different being a "disorder". I suspect Rand would agree on that. A lot of people seem to think that the first sign of being different is a sign of malfunctioning rather than individuality. I think that the goal of psychology and psychiatry should be striving to think well and efficiently, rather striving to focus on disorder and mental malfunction.

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You seem to be addressing a couple different ideas in here at once.

True, forced drugging would be wrong, just as any other act of force. However, in the context of kids, if you were a parent, it is proper at times to make them take some sort of medication, if you judge it to be necessary. In other contexts, like someone with a severe case of shizophrenia, I wonder if a kind of forced treatment may be proper, but that's probably best left for another thread.

As far as psychiatry being pseudo-science, I doubt it. Of course, medications involving the brain are definitely in their infancy of development, so there is a lot of uncertainty. Just to be clear, since you seem to be considering psychiatry and psychology to be the same thing. But they are different. I don't know a precise difference between the two, but psychology is more broad. Minor point I guess, but I think you're more referring to psychology. The scientific process is just as applicable in both psychiatry and psychology as it is with any other logical and inductive thinking.

Because there are objectives to thinking in general and thinking about concepts, it is proper to judge how well a person is thinking. Is an individual on a functioning level of going to school or holding a job, for instance? Of course, there may be something wrong like having pneumonia so it's hard to function, but since thinking is also needed to function, there may be some issue with the process of something. One question is if the best thing to do is medicate, or to go about working on someone's volitional thinking processes.

Regarding something narcissistic personality disorder, or any personality disorder, my personal opinion is that those have little basis and more about how much you think like most people, too different being a "disorder". I suspect Rand would agree on that. A lot of people seem to think that the first sign of being different is a sign of malfunctioning rather than individuality. I think that the goal of psychology and psychiatry should be striving to think well and efficiently, rather striving to focus on disorder and mental malfunction.

IMO, true "schizophrenia" is actually a form of autism that hits in a different way. Basically every other disorder in the DSM is a made up medical condition making excuses for life's difficulties.

Well, no this is not what I meant exactly. I see no harm in psychology (ie maslow) because it simply attempts to understand human nature. What I do see a problem with is labeling bogus medical conditions on people so that they can bill an insurance company and/or control someone's behavior. And sometimes it's horrifying, as in the case of electroshock which is only done in very rare cases nowadays. These medications don't help people, and they are very very dangerous to use on children. It is also not proven, only "believed" that these drugs help a person and are not hurting them in any signifigant way. These psychiatrists basically believe that everybody needs medication and that every weakness in human nature comes from chemical imbalance. All the while there have been no chemical or biological abnormalities observed in any of these people thus most of it is pseudo science.

I don't object to someone trying to help someone like in psychology, but I do object to treating it like a medical condition when it is unproven.

Edited by Dreamspirit

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IMO, true "schizophrenia" is actually a form of autism that hits in a different way. Basically every other disorder in the DSM is a made up medical condition making excuses for life's difficulties.
I'm unfamiliar with the DSM classification, but what you seem to be saying is that actual physical-condition-based mental illness does, but that it is under a single DSM code; and, that all the other DSM codes are conditions that ought to be treated by psychology alone, because they are not based on physical conditions of the body.

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"What would be Ayn Rand's position on Psychiatry?"

My first thought is you may as well ask her position on dentistry. Psychiatry is a form of specialized, not part of philosophy. As long as it isn't flouting the hierarchy of knowledge or involved in some kind of contradiction, it's pretty much not something a philosopher could have much to say on. It is aimed at treating health though, which is an aim at least that is supported by rational egoism, even if that's as fa as egoism can comment on the subject, with actual practices toward that aim in psychiatry being beyond its scope.

"I think she probably would have deemed it a violation of individual rights."

Assuming "it" here is psychiatry, that's an absurd statement. Psychiatric treatment is in no way inherently forceful. To go back to comparing to dentistry, the fact that somebody could or maybe at any point ever has forced dental work on somebody else doesn't make dentistry itself a rights violating profession.

"Also psychiatry is a set of beliefs, not proven by science and all about what the majority wants and thinks is 'normal.' "

What is your evidence for this? And do keep in mind you are not saying just some ideas floating around in psychiatric circles this applies to, not even ALL the ideas in psychiatric circles, you have said that this is the very nature of psychiatry here, that even any new ideas they could get would be this way too because that is what psychiatry is about.

"It is very harmful for someone to be told there is something wrong with the way they think, instead of getting through their dark times and doing what works for them."

Do you really at once claim to be an Objectivist AND that nobody could be thinking incorrectly? That there are no people whose ways of thinking are so incompatible with reality that there is no such thing as making it work for them without medical assistance? I could easily point out to you tons of ways people have mental problems that cannot be fixed or worked around well without some kind of medical assistance. Why do you think that medication doesn't count as a way for some people in some cases as how they can and do "get through their dark times" and and that it is "what works for them." Why do you believe they are necessarily mutually exclusive?

"there are millions of kids who are being forced to take these drugs which will damage their minds"

Again, where is your evidence for this claim? I don't just mean evidence that sometimes some kids have bad reactions or are given medication not right for them, I mean why do you contend that without fail it is "damaging their minds"?

"IMO, true "schizophrenia" is actually a form of autism that hits in a different way. Basically every other disorder in the DSM is a made up medical condition making excuses for life's difficulties. "

You don't get to have an "opinion" on what schizophrenia is - that's a matter of facts, not opinions. So where is your evidence for these strong claims?

"And sometimes it's horrifying, as in the case of electroshock which is only done in very rare cases nowadays."

Electroshock therapy is not at all, especially not now, always forced. Some people, seeing a shrink on a regular basis and/or taking anti-depressants just doesn't work for them, even after years and years, but electroshock does help them finally get better again. In the past couple years a treatment for depression has been legally approved which is based on the method of electroshock, but using electromagnetism to create a little weaker, but much more comfortable similar effect.

"These medications don't help people, and they are very very dangerous to use on children."

There are a TON of people who can testify otherwise and psychiatric medications are generally either not approved for use on children or only with very careful oversight.

"These psychiatrists basically believe that everybody needs medication and that every weakness in human nature comes from chemical imbalance."

Prove it.

"All the while there have been no chemical or biological abnormalities observed in any of these people thus most of it is pseudo science. "

You can see brain damage in in some people when they are scanned. Some conditions actually will have some abnormalities show up in blood tests. Also, "most of it"? You have been claiming all of it is.

dogbert_strong%20opinions.gif

(Dilbert: http://www.dilbert.com/)

*BOP!*

Edited by bluecherry

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"What would be Ayn Rand's position on Psychiatry?"

My first thought is you may as well ask her position on dentistry. Psychiatry is a form of specialized, not part of philosophy. As long as it isn't flouting the hierarchy of knowledge or involved in some kind of contradiction, it's pretty much not something a philosopher could have much to say on. It is aimed at treating health though, which is an aim at least that is supported by rational egoism, even if that's as fa as egoism can comment on the subject, with actual practices toward that aim in psychiatry being beyond its scope.

First of all, psychiatry as a whole is vastly different than other kinds of medicine. Patients don't always have the right to refuse treatment as they would with physical conditions. Rand established that she believes suicide is a right, and thus she would believe people being forced to undergo psychiatric treatments because they tried to kill themselves were having their rights violated. Of course she would probably think of them as weak and not objectively doing what's best for themselves. I have no problem with psychiatry when it is voluntary, but I do have a problem with people being held against their will when they have commited no crime and forced to adopt a set of irrational beliefs (if they refute their diagnosis it is a sign that their "illness" is worse).

Oh and btw you can have opinions or theories about psychiatric diagnoses because much of it is unproven except by supposed "statistics." Under objectivism, isn't it evil to indoctrinate people with something that is irrational (hasn't enough proof)? If you listen to any psychiatrist talk about mental illness you will hear many things like "we don't know as much as we should, and there's a missing link." Psychiatry is very much political, it is not just about "helping" dysfunctional people and there is a very very unholy alliance between the drug companies and the government.

Whether someone is physically able to think correctly in order to function or not isn't usually a clear cut line. Whether someone has cancer or not is. Whether someone has autism or not is, because you can take a picture of their brain and see that there is something missing and their symptoms are always consistent. Real brain diseases and diseases effecting the brain do exist (such as alzheimers and down syndrome), but there isn't any definitive proof for whether psychological dysfunction results from chemical imbalance in otherwise physically normal people.

While you say that these medications and ECT treatments helped many people, there is also a large number of people who believe that it is very harmful emotionally, psychologically, and physically. When under the control of something such as an SSRI, the person may not always be able to tell if they are doing well or not because it inhibits their negative thoughts. They may believe their life is great and all the while they could be degrading their memory, intellect, and sex drive as well as not being realistic and/or ambitious. The medications actually disable the brain. I know because I had to take one for a couple of months in adolesence, which my parents actually believed was having an adverse effect (that's why they stopped it) and they feel horrible about it now looking back on it, because I was treated innapropriately by the doctor. I was never depressive but I was very very resistant of therapy (was having girl troubles at school) and the doctor literally forced my parents to get me on a medication, because he believed my moods were abnormal and kept changing his opinion and saying different things when the medication didn't have the effect he wanted it to have.

There is no less proof that medications are harmful than there is proof that they are helpful. I'm sorry, but its just the truth. Did you know that the drug companies FOUGHT aganist putting a black box warning on antidepressants? "Statistics" show that people who take psychotropic drugs for an extended period of time have on average a 25% shorter lifespan. Many people also report things such as having permanently odd or disordered thoughts and decreased sex drive.

Psychiatry isn't much more than a set of beliefs disguised in science, that's why a philospher could offer their opinion on its relevancy. But I wasn't really asking what she thought of it as a belief system, I was asking more what she would think of it being implemented forcefully and agressively. It is a violation of individual rights, because it is irrational (hasn't enough scientific proof) and is being forced on people.

Edited by Eiuol

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From The Letters of Ayn Rand, from a letter to John Hospers dated April 29, 1961:

7. I am glad that you agree with me on the issue of justice vs. mercy. It is an enormously important principle that embraces all of one's relationships with men: private, personal, public, social and political. But you say that you are not clear on what I would regard as the deserved, in specific cases. My answer is: the basic principle that should guide one's judgment in issues of justice is the law of causality: one should never attempt to evade or to break the connection between cause and effect—one should never attempt to deprive a man of the consequences of his actions, good or evil. (One should not deprive a man of the values or benefits his actions have caused, such as expropriating a man's wealth for somebody else's benefit; and one should not deflect the disaster which his actions have caused, such as giving relief checks to a lazy, irresponsible loafer.) What specific form of reward or punishment is deserved in specific cases depends on the full context of the case. In personal relationships, the rewards deserved by virtue range from an approving smile to falling in love; the punishments range from a polite reproach or protest (when the action involved is an error of knowledge) to a complete break (when the action is
proved
to be a willful, conscious, deliberate immorality).

But you ask me what is the punishment deserved by criminal actions. This is a technical, legal issue, which has to be answered by the philosophy of law. The law has to be guided by moral principles, but their application to specific cases is a special field of study. I can only indicate in a general way what principles should be the base of legal justice in determining punishments. The law should: a. correct the consequences of the crime in regard to the victim, whenever possible (such as recovering stolen property and returning it to the owner); b. impose restraints on the criminal, such as a jail sentence, not in order to reform him, but in order to make him bear the painful consequences of his action (or their equivalent) which he inflicted on his victims; c. make the punishment proportionate to the crime
in the full context of all the legally punishable crimes.

This last point, I believe, is the question you are specifically interested in, when you write: "I find it difficult to say whether a man who has committed, e.g. armed robbery, deserves one year in jail, five years, ten years, or psychiatric therapy to keep him from repeating his offense." The principle of justice on which the answer has to be based is contextual: the severity of the punishment must match the gravity of the crime, in the full context of the penal code. The punishment for pickpocketing cannot be the same as for murder;
the punishment for murder cannot be the same as for manslaughter, etc.
It is an enormously complex issue, in which one must integrate the whole scale of legally defined crimes and mitigating circumstances, on the one hand—with a proportionately scaled series of punishments, on the other. Thus the punishment deserved by armed robbery would depend on its place in the scale which begins with the lightest misdemeanor and ends with murder.

What punishment is deserved by the two extremes of the scale is open to disagreement and discussion—but the principle by which a specific argument has to be guided is
retribution
, not
reform
. The issue of attempting to "reform" criminals is an entirely separate issue and a highly dubious one, even in the case of juvenile delinquents. At best, it might be a carefully limited adjunct of the penal code (and I doubt even that), not its primary, determining factor. When I say "retribution," I mean the point above, namely: the imposition of painful consequences proportionate to the injury caused by the criminal act. The purpose of the law is not to prevent a future offense, but to punish the one actually committed. If there were a proved, demonstrated, scientific, objectively certain way of preventing future crimes (which does not exist), it would not justify the idea that the law should prevent future offenses and let the present one go unpunished. It would still be necessary to punish the actual crime.

Therefore, "psychiatric therapy" does not belong—on principle—among the alternatives that you list. And more: it is an enormously dangerous suggestion. A. Psychiatry is far from the stage of an
exact science
; in our present state of knowledge, it is not even a science—it is only in that preliminary, material-gathering stage from which a science will come. B. The law, which has the power to impose its decisions
by force
, cannot be guided by unproved, uncertain, controversial hypotheses or guesses—and the criminal cannot be treated as a guinea pig (I am saying this
in defense
of the criminal's rights). C. Since the
prevention
of crime is a
psychological
issue, since it involves a man's
mind
(his premises, values, choices, decisions), it would be monstrously evil to place a man's mind into the power of the law, to let the law prescribe and
force upon him
any course of treatment involving or affecting his mind. If "
the prevention of crime
" were accepted as the province and purpose of the law, it would permit and necessitate the most unspeakable atrocities: not merely psychological "brainwashing," but physical mutilations as well, such as electric shock therapy, prefrontal lobotomies and anything else that neurologists might discover. No moral premise—except total altruistic collectivism—could ever justify that sort of horror.

Observe that it is I, the unforgiving egoist, who am more considerate of the criminals (of their
rights
) than the alleged humanitarians who advocate psychiatric treatments out of an alleged compassion for criminals. A penal code has to treat men as adult, responsible human beings; it can deal only with their actions and with such motives as can be objectively demonstrated
(such as intent vs. accident)
; it cannot assume jurisdiction over men's minds, brains, souls, values and moral premises—it cannot assume the
right
to change these by forcible means.

(If a man is
proved
to be legally irresponsible, that is,
insane
, it is a different issue: the law then has the right to commit him to an insane asylum—since, being incapable of reasoning, he is unable to claim the rights of a rational man. But even then, the law does not have the arbitrary power to impose treatment on him, particularly not treatment that might result in physical damage or injury. And, even in cases of insanity, the issue of proving it is enormously complex, controversial and dangerous, since no fully demonstrated, scientific knowledge is yet available on what can be taken as proof.)

The same reply posted in two topics! Its like getting a double kill in a Halo game.

chuff and Becky Cutting like this

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Oh and btw you can have opinions or theories about psychiatric diagnoses because much of it is unproven except by supposed "statistics."

Which diagnoses? As I was saying before, I suspect a lot of supposed problems are bogus for the reasons you state. At the same time, there are a variety of conditions which are empirically observed to be damaging, like depression, schizophrenia, or autism. By damaging, I mean difficulty in living life, in the same way being deaf makes it harder to live life.

If you listen to any psychiatrist talk about mental illness you will hear many things like "we don't know as much as we should, and there's a missing link."

Who, specifically?

Psychiatry is very much political, it is not just about "helping" dysfunctional people and there is a very very unholy alliance between the drug companies and the government.

I don't doubt this is true to some extent, but it doesn't follow from there that psychiatry as a whole works like that. Government is improperly mixed in with all sorts of business, psychological pharmocology even, as you state.

Real brain diseases and diseases effecting the brain do exist (such as alzheimers and down syndrome), but there isn't any definitive proof for whether psychological dysfunction results from chemical imbalance in otherwise physically normal people.

And depression, and ADHD. Those are what come to mind. As far as personality disorders, you may be right; a lot of those seem to be just a matter of learning how to deal with people, which is not something you're born knowing how to do.

When under the control of something such as an SSRI, the person may not always be able to tell if they are doing well or not because it inhibits their negative thoughts.

You mean the negative thoughts that make it nearly impossible to even get out of bed? Keep in mind that an SSRI doesn't actually disable something about the brain in a literal way, what happens is that the brain is able to use more seratonin than otherwise by inhibiting reuptake of chemicals by the firing neuron (I'll give you a link that discusses this and should help to address a lot of your other points). Brain chemicals are what allow you think at all, and when you are lacking in chemical [X], it's that much harder to maintain emotional and intellectual control. These brain chemicals are VERY complex, so the problem comes in with everything else that a chemical does, which is not as firmly understood in the same way as your blood cells. Further research in the field of psychiatry can only help.

http://www.physorg.com/news177102087.html (doesn't work on Firefox)

I was asking more what she would think of it being implemented forcefully and agressively. It is a violation of individual rights, because it is irrational (hasn't enough scientific proof) and is being forced on people.

Grames' post addresses it well, but I'd add that even if psychiatry could advance so far that one pill could literally cure depression, it would still be wrong to force medications on people.

Edited by Eiuol

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The same reply posted in two topics! Its like getting a double kill in a Halo game.

Except the bolding here is in the wrong place... So close... :thumbsup:

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As someone who took a lot of psychology, neurobiology, and neuroscience classes, I think people need to make less claims and providing more links, because there are a number of things I am seeing here being said about psychiatrists that are just plain wrong and are being espoused out of ignorance.

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As someone who took a lot of psychology, neurobiology, and neuroscience classes, I think people need to make less claims and providing more links, because there are a number of things I am seeing here being said about psychiatrists that are just plain wrong and are being espoused out of ignorance.

You need not look at any special links, just look at any label for an antidepressant or other psychotropic drug. You will see many words like "believed" and "thought to be." Or listen to the words of Dr. Timothy Johnson on "Bipolar disorder" and see how obsurd it sounds.

Edited by Dreamspirit

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You need not look at any special links, just look at any label for an antidepressant or other psychotropic drug. You will see many words like "believed" and "thought to be." Or listen to the words of Dr. Timothy Johnson on "Bipolar disorder" and see how obsurd it sounds.
Do you at least grant that some people can actually be insane, where they hallucinate and so on?

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Do you at least grant that some people can actually be insane, where they hallucinate and so on?

Of course, but you cannot say that these hallucinations are necessarily part of a medical condition unless there is the proof. I don't THINK they always are part of a disease, they could occur from sleep deprivation, malnutrution, and other things like that. Just like Ayn said, to prove that certain states of mind are an irreversible medical condition, you would have to consider a painstakingly complex combination of factors. There is no reason why someone couldn't be irrational and/or delusional just for the sake of being so, rather than having major misfires in the brain. And even if mental disorders were absolutely proven to be the result of brain diseases, you still couldn't force someone to undergo physical treatments, just as you couldn't with chemotherapy. But I agree with Ayn, if someone commits a crime and is also unable to reason, then they must be held in a place where they can't act on their demented behavior.

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Dear Dreamspirit,

I see that you are or seem somewhat recently aware that psychiatry is not as scientifically backed, or as successful yet, as ohter branches of medicine like hematology, or general medical practice. Even as medical doctors say that curing is just an art as it is a science - I believe they refer to the extreme individuality and uniqueness of the case in those adages and euphemisms - the fact remains that for the last 100 to 200 years (smallpox vaccine, to sanitary barriers) normal 'body' western medicine is in face of the choices to be trusted. However we must not forget, or neglect to realize, that in order to achieve this success, normal body medicine had to experiment under diverse societal rules for most of its history, resulting in iatrogenesis, the harming of the patient with good medical intentions - bleedings are the classical example. the term means, originated from a doctor, and the implied part is 'harm' imparted in goodwill by a medical doctor. the more appropriate term would be iatrogenetical harm, but at least in my mother tongue we use iatrogenia -iatrogenesis- as meaning just that.

Psychiatry is passing through this stage were they do more harm than good, in goodwill. You are right in your indignation on this over drugged society, including the morally obvious cases of coerced medication.

That said, which is basically that you are half right, and fully right in your intention, I do have to speak a word in favor of psychiatric drugs.

They are marvelous creative inventions that for now are, to the risk of the consumer, a way to tinker semi voluntarily with our most precious organ and realize the mind brain, that is soul body, connection.

I am all in favor of more psychiatric (soul) drugs, just as a Babylonian several thousand years ago would have been all in favor of the fermenting of grain to make that new invented semi toxic water "beer". But just as if I were a Sumerian or Babylonian or Egyptian, I'd be in favor of beer but against drunkenness, and especially against enforced drunkenness.

Fast forward at least 5000 years and I am in favor of more psychiatric drugs as they will allow us to experiment and know more about ourselves, collectively speaking because it is an experience of many, I don't want to experiment all drugs. However I am against societal pressure or outright coercion to over medicate people, particularly children, and more particularly myself.

Every new great advance is a double edged swords - at least that's what I gathered from history.

Psychiatric drugs are in some cases good for the appropriate person, and surely a wonder in the future.

but the concept of Psychiatry, the study of the soul, and the medication of the soul, is in it's core fundamentally a thin veiled modern materialist replacement for religion. All churches deal with the soul. Medics, some, deal with the soul but get to be both scientists and priests by calling soul in ancient greek, psyche. it's so wonderfully easy to fool the general public it makes me first vomit, then rejoyce in my own indignation and now finally accept that we are as I alaways say in a rather primitive state of affairs, considering what humans could be like.

So my advice to specific patients is not to allow to make yourself guinea pigs for the benefit of my potential grand children who could use the test cases.

My philosophical advice is not to be fooled by the translation in greek. Something in greek can be just as religious even though now and for some people it seems to be the language of sience. Psychology and Psychiatry loosely mean study of the soul and began their existence along Marxism at the very same time the Church began to fall and Atheism and conceiled agnosticism began to rise. The Concilium Vaticanum "Rerum Novarum" marks a good spot for that transition that secularization. The vatican congress was regarding new things, that is the second idustrial revolution, the British and American gilded age of the late 19th centurty, and the growth of the human spirit to a size their religious caskets couldn't fit. the second concilium vaticanum in 1960's marked the de facto end of Christianity in the West in a Centralized formed, just to prove the validity of the first one.

Who and what filled that void

Psychiatry.

n

So we demonize it- partially, go to doctor bonkers for that http://www.bonkersinstitute.org/about.html he's great and cured my "depression" by recommending me to walk more and generate more endorphins, duh!, - while I reckon depression wasn't one, I do have other problems dr bonkers can't solve, but hey that's he's motto, he doesn't claim to knwo what he doesn't, no psychiatrist has that humble honesty tin real life.

But if we demonize it, while preventing potential harm, we can't benefit from it. So we analyze it rationally, and see individually, in your and your cared ones, whether maybe some of the advances of neurology and psychiatry and even the neutral suggestions of a psychotherapist, might help.

To answer your question I think Ayn Rand would hate fans speaking for her. As far as I know she used some drugs that now could fall into the spectrum of psychiatric drugs, but ceased to take them when her medical doctors adviced on the risks. I don't want to meddle into details but all I know is that she would have be in favor of people buying drugs freely, and against coercive medication. And she had her mind right and recognized that there exists mental illness or stress in fact she wrote extensively about its non exclusive philosophical causes, and if she had lived 300 years she would probably be studying neurology now. source absent but I know it exists.

regards

Matt

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To answer your question I think Ayn Rand would hate fans speaking for her. As far as I know she used some drugs that now could fall into the spectrum of psychiatric drugs, but ceased to take them when her medical doctors adviced on the risks.

I was not speaking for her exactly, I was estimating what position she might take based on objectivism and things she had already said. So what if she took something that was like psychiatric medication? I am talking about the state of mental health nowadays which is for some people emotionally abusive, physically and psychologically damaging, and unproven. Psychiatrists had to make involuntary commitment laws so that people would be part of their experiments and come up with the chemical imbalance theory so they could have absolute power over a person if necessary (not saying chemicals don't effect the brain). I do not object to psychiatry as a voluntary branch of medicine, but there can be no special "involuntary commitment" laws of any kind and children cannot be treated for something with unknown causes and that is not fully proven to exist. The idea is to have the proper scientific knowledge before you experiment on people.

I am also for the legalization of all drugs, but not for use on children because children are naive and their brain hasn't matured enough. Thus, they can't decide whether they want to take the risk of medicating themselves (not just psychiatric of course), so it WOULD have to be illegal to give a child a drug and not consult a doctor, because stupid and/or abusive parents could definitely hurt a child that way. IMO psychiatric drugs should never be prescribed for children, because they were not intended for children in the first place, and they have very different effects on a young brain than they would on an adult brain. They cannot and should not be able to use children with behavioral problems as guinea pigs in studies when there is so little proof of their so called "mental illness." (ie. now they believe children who have a lot of fits are bipolar and other nonsense)

I am not saying the advancements in neurology are not worth something, but psychiatry is not in that the act of forcing and/or brainwashing a person to believe their behavior is part of a mental illness will make them "get better." It is also not proven that people who are diagnosable under the DSM behave in a way that effects them negatively. Lets make up an example to clarify what I mean. John is 15 years old and he has some mood swings; these make him very productive at some moments and very lazy at others. Under DSM standards, he has bipolar I. When he is in a productive (or manic) mood he gets much more done than the average person and when he is in a low mood he gets less done than the average person. He has a supposed unrealistic view of himself, but one day he becomes a CEO, wins a competitiion, or makes a new discovery. How can a psychiatrist or doctor say that his brain chemistry is an illness rather than an abberation of what's normal? They did used to say that some mental illnesses are toxic to the brain, but this is a dead end that has never been proven.

Edited by Eiuol

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Well I fully agree with your last reply. As for the rights of children it's a whole other subject. and as of the vested powers of medicine I urge you to read Celia Green and Fabian Tassano, of the dissenting, "Oxford Forum".

As for a more general condemnation, all I can think of is what I said, it is the new religion and the new child abuse. The technological, medical improvements could benefit the patient if the patient were a customer with full rights.

Did you understand my parallelism between religion in mystic times and psychiatry and materialistic times-

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Well I fully agree with your last reply. As for the rights of children it's a whole other subject. and as of the vested powers of medicine I urge you to read Celia Green and Fabian Tassano, of the dissenting, "Oxford Forum".

As for a more general condemnation, all I can think of is what I said, it is the new religion and the new child abuse. The technological, medical improvements could benefit the patient if the patient were a customer with full rights.

Did you understand my parallelism between religion in mystic times and psychiatry and materialistic times-

Oh yes, in a way mental illness is to psychiatry as heresy is to the inquisition.

It certainly would benefit the patient to have full rights. Especially since when they cannot involuntarily commit people and must be responsible for their actions, their treatments would be much more accurate and safer for the patient since truly helping them would be their primary concern (not bullshitting diseases to get insurance money). Most of the common "mental illnesses" nowadays could be solved by traditional therapy and a healthier lifestyle, but they don't want people to know that. And also a lot of times there is something going on in the body that is doing something to the mind. Some thyroid problems for example, can produce pseudo bipolar like behavior.

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Psychiatrists had to make involuntary commitment laws so that people would be part of their experiments and come up with the chemical imbalance theory so they could have absolute power over a person if necessary (not saying chemicals don't effect the brain). I do not object to psychiatry as a voluntary branch of medicine, but there can be no special "involuntary commitment" laws of any kind and children cannot be treated for something with unknown causes and that is not fully proven to exist. The idea is to have the proper scientific knowledge before you experiment on people.

How do you know it's unproven, rather than you not knowing that much about the topic? In the past I'm positive I've argued your point of view exactly, until I learned more about these sort of topics. You do need to provide some kind of evidence of your claims, because most of your claims appear to come out of thin air and probably influenced by media. Your dislike of psychiatry seems to be general lack of knowledge in a field as compared to cardiology. In some cases, it is proper to act on relatively imprecise knowledge for people with severe problems, and over time, build a knowledge base through objective research. There are plenty of doctors in other fields who prescribe medications without much justification, and prescribing medications *improperly* or too hastily.

What involuntary commitment laws are you referring to, anyway? Where does that claim come from?

What experimentation on people are you talking about? You mean voluntary studies that were more than likely justified based on studies in animals?

It is also not proven that people who are diagnosable under the DSM behave in a way that effects them negatively.

For some things on the DSM, you may be right. If you look at the link I gave before though, you'd see how depression has evidence of being literally toxic, contrary to what you claim.

I understand your example, but do you have anything to link with evidence of the frequency in which doctors make a diagnosis without much exploration of the person? I'm not looking for proof per se, but at least provide some evidence.

(by the way, in the future, please snip some text from quotes out of your replies, just an etiquette thing. I cut some of your large quotes down.)

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Do you at least grant that some people can actually be insane, where they hallucinate and so on?

What is meant by hallucinate with respect to the insane (Insanity is a legal concept, as I understand it, not a medical concept)? That the insane who hallucinate hear voices that command that them to do something horrible?

It's not possible to hear voices that do not actually exist (there's no one there saying anything to the person who "hears" the voices), so, presumably, the claim that some people hear voices that are not really there (there's no one actually saying anything to them, commanding them to do this or that) is to say that they imagine that they hear voices but cannot distinguish the voices that they "hear" as imaginary versus actual, or that somehow they do hear voices that are not real but that the voices are somehow generated internally by their brains, as some kind of malfunction of the brain, and it's not possible for them to distinguish those voices from actual voices (of others)?

I've mentioned Dr. Thomas Szasz, who has long been very critical of psychiatry, of even the idea that there are literal mental illnesses (he views them as illnesses only metaphorically), before — for anyone interested, there are quite a number of his various articles on his website, on the "Szasz Materials" page, and you can get some idea of his various views.

In one of those articles, "Mental Illness: Psychiatry's Phlogiston," he says:

"Prior to the eighteenth century, people who committed heinous crimes and acted strangely were thought to resemble wild animals. Hence, the antiquated "wild beast" model of insanity and the defence based on it. Seeing the "deluded" person whose "voices" command him to kill as similar to an automaton or robot-that is, an object that performs human-like motions but is not human-is a modern idea. Accepting the assertion of a "schizophrenic" that he killed his wife because God's voice commanded him to do so is not evidence of the validity of the explanation. In my view, such a person kills his victim because that is what he wants to do, but he disavows his intention; instead of acknowledging his motive, he defines himself as a helpless slave obeying orders. As I have shown elsewhere, the so-called voices some mentally ill people "hear" are their own inner voices or self conversations, whose authorship they disown.(10) This interpretation is supported by the fact that neuroimaging studies of hallucinating persons reveal activation of Broca's (speech) area, not activation of Wernicke's (auditory) area.(13)" [bold mine]

That at least seems to be one explanation of hallucinations of the insane. They're not hearing voices; they are "hearing" their own thoughts but disavowing that what they are "hearing" are in fact their own thoughts.

Continued from that Szasz article: "It is not by accident that, in all the psychiatric literature, there is not a single account of voices that command a schizophrenic to be especially kind to his wife. That is because being kind to one's wife is not the sort of behaviour to which we want to assign a causal (psychiatric) explanation."

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What is meant by hallucinate with respect to the insane (Insanity is a legal concept, as I understand it, not a medical concept)? That the insane who hallucinate hear voices that command that them to do something horrible?

I'm unsure what you're getting at. Are you arguing that there is no such thing as an auditory hallucination?

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What is meant by hallucinate with respect to the insane (Insanity is a legal concept, as I understand it, not a medical concept)? That the insane who hallucinate hear voices that command that them to do something horrible?
Well the particular example I had in mind was from personal experience, where someone whose brain had been attacked by a disease would suddenly start imagining spiders and trying to catch them with tissue.

Yes, I agree that the person is not seeing them in the regular sense. That goes without saying, or we would not call him crazy. So, it would not be surprising if the sight portions of the brain play no role at all. So, yes, I agree that the person's brain is creating these phenomena (whether from some other external stimuli, or from something internal). If he were an author, concocting this while knowing it was unreal, or even if he was carried away by his imagination and then later realized it was unreal, we would not call him insane. If he took some drug and imaging something like this, and only did so under the influence, we would again not call him crazy, but "high".

I'm not sure how much of that is compatible with the Dr. you quote, and if not, in what way, and what his explanation would be.

I'll just add this: as a layperson, it is implausible to me that the brain would be the only body part that cannot malfunction by some physical deformity or by some physical attack by an external agent.

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I'm unsure what you're getting at. Are you arguing that there is no such thing as an auditory hallucination?

No, I'm not arguing that there is no such thing as an auditory hallucination. I just think it's important to identify exactly what it is that an auditory hallucination (or any other kind of hallucination) refers to. I myself am not certain.

When someone does something really horrible, there's an incentive to deny responsibility for what they've done, to avoid the consequences. When I hear that someone has murdered someone or several others and they claim that God told them to do it, I do not believe them — I do not believe that they heard God (there is no God to hear), and I do not believe they they heard any other "voice" that ordered them do do so. My view is that they chose to do what they did.

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How do you know it's unproven, rather than you not knowing that much about the topic? In the past I'm positive I've argued your point of view exactly, until I learned more about these sort of topics. You do need to provide some kind of evidence of your claims, because most of your claims appear to come out of thin air and probably influenced by media. Your dislike of psychiatry seems to be general lack of knowledge in a field as compared to cardiology. In some cases, it is proper to act on relatively imprecise knowledge for people with severe problems, and over time, build a knowledge base through objective research. There are plenty of doctors in other fields who prescribe medications without much justification, and prescribing medications *improperly* or too hastily.

What involuntary commitment laws are you referring to, anyway? Where does that claim come from?

What experimentation on people are you talking about? You mean voluntary studies that were more than likely justified based on studies in animals?

For some things on the DSM, you may be right. If you look at the link I gave before though, you'd see how depression has evidence of being literally toxic, contrary to what you claim.

I understand your example, but do you have anything to link with evidence of the frequency in which doctors make a diagnosis without much exploration of the person? I'm not looking for proof per se, but at least provide some evidence.

(by the way, in the future, please snip some text from quotes out of your replies, just an etiquette thing. I cut some of your large quotes down.)

If I were going to take time out of my busy day to multi quote for a person who simply doesn't pay attention carefully to what I'm saying, I would have already done it. No one is forcing you to read it, so either read it or don't.

You say that I need to provide evidence for my CLAIMS? I did not claim anything that isn't already obvious, such as that the existance of mental illnesses have not been proven yet. I suppose you would have to disagree with Rand on that one. My opinions do not have to have evidence, because they are just my opinions and I would never state an opinion of mine (or of anyone else's for that matter) like it was a fact. If you want to investigate my thoughts on a particular subject, YOU NEED TO DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH. There is no law against making claims without evidence anyway. I can tell you I have not said anything out of thin air that I didn't have some kind of specific, factual reason for saying. You ask me how I can be an objectivist and make claims without evidence but how can you possibly be an objectivist and believe that insanity is proven to be a sickness in the body?

A good example of careless diagnosing of patients is in a documentary called "The Medicated Child." You can look it up on youtube. There are some examples of it in there, but not all are particularely careless. IMO, the psychiatric method of diagnosing a person is in itself devoid of rationality for many reasons, but mostly because it closes people up. If you don't understand the causes for something, you can't possibly know whether what you are doing to a person is helpful or hurtful. For example, if a supposed "schizophrenic" hears voices in their head that tell them negative things about themselves and they were actually just hearing their own thoughts, telling them they are schizophrenic and that they can't help it might actually reinforce the problem.

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Well the particular example I had in mind was from personal experience, where someone whose brain had been attacked by a disease would suddenly start imagining spiders and trying to catch them with tissue.

Yes, I agree that the person is not seeing them in the regular sense. That goes without saying, or we would not call him crazy. So, it would not be surprising if the sight portions of the brain play no role at all. So, yes, I agree that the person's brain is creating these phenomena (whether from some other external stimuli, or from something internal). If he were an author, concocting this while knowing it was unreal, or even if he was carried away by his imagination and then later realized it was unreal, we would not call him insane. If he took some drug and imaging something like this, and only did so under the influence, we would again not call him crazy, but "high".

I'm not sure how much of that is compatible with the Dr. you quote, and if not, in what way, and what his explanation would be.

I'll just add this: as a layperson, it is implausible to me that the brain would be the only body part that cannot malfunction by some physical deformity or by some physical attack by an external agent.

I basically agree with what you've said, as I understand it, and I'm certainly not claiming that the brain cannot malfunction. I'm not even claiming that there are no such things as hallucinations. I'm just not sure what they are or even if they are, nor how they are distinct from misidentifications of perceptual data or imagination.

Perhaps helpful, from Wikipedia, Hallucination:

"A hallucination, in broadest sense of the word, is a perception in the absence of a stimulus. In a stricter sense, hallucinations are defined as perceptions in a conscious and awake state in the absence of external stimuli which have qualities of real perception, in that they are vivid, substantial, and located in external objective space. The latter definition distinguishes hallucinations from the related phenomena of dreaming, which does not involve wakefulness; illusion, which involves distorted or misinterpreted real perception; imagery, which does not mimic real perception and is under voluntary control; and pseudohallucination, which does not mimic real perception, but is not under voluntary control.[1] Hallucinations also differ from "delusional perceptions", in which a correctly sensed and interpreted stimulus (i.e. a real perception) is given some additional (and typically bizarre) significance."

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No, I'm not arguing that there is no such thing as an auditory hallucination. I just think it's important to identify exactly what it is that an auditory hallucination (or any other kind of hallucination) refers to. I myself am not certain.

When someone does something really horrible, there's an incentive to deny responsibility for what they've done, to avoid the consequences. When I hear that someone has murdered someone or several others and they claim that God told them to do it, I do not believe them — I do not believe that they heard God (there is no God to hear), and I do not believe they they heard any other "voice" that ordered them do do so. My view is that they chose to do what they did.

By definition, a delusion is any type of false notion. By definition, a hallucination is a delusion that would appear perceptible. Obviously, these are very broad definitions which could be interpreted to mean seeing things from the corner of one's eye, hearing subtle sounds, or just thinking anything falsifiable; however, the distinction's applied to one's mental status, and how well it corresponds to reality. In this case, "seeing" jet-pack toting panda bear-tigers does not correspond to reality; believing that a twenty-thousand year old insect instructs you to kill people and consume their flesh does not correspond to reality, either. When applying such examples as these for evaluation of one's mental status, the psychiatrist must assess how consistent are these thoughts. One could hardly call a Scientologist insane just because, however, a "Scientologist" instructed by Xenu to blow-up a hospital filled with blasphemers almost certainly is.

I think the issue some have with Psychiatry, Psychology, and other mental academics is that there isn't a really concrete line between what's normal, and what isn't: What defines a normal train of thought? As opposed to abnormal? Is one insane because of one hallucination, or several, or chronic ones over periods of years? These are all valid inquiries, true, but the trick is--being redundant--to evaluate how consistently these thoughts are applied.

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