Psychiatry – How the Mentally ill Treat the Mentally ill

by Philip Jonkers

“If you’ve never picked up DSM-IV™, we strongly recommend that you do so. You’ll find yourself in it. You’ll find your friends and associates in it. You’ll find your family members in it. Indeed, you’ll find everyone in it. In other words, from the point of view of psychiatry, everyone has a “mental disorder.” For psychiatry, there is no such thing as mental health, only degrees of pathology!”
C.S.Hyatt – psychologist and author of The Psychopath’s Bible

“The ostensible validity of the DSM is reinforced by psychiatry’s claim that mental illnesses are brain diseases—a claim supposedly based on recent discoveries in neuroscience, made possible by imaging techniques for diagnosis and pharmacological agents for treatment. This is not true. There are no objective diagnostic tests to confirm or disconfirm the diagnosis of depression; the diagnosis can and must be made solely on the basis of the patient’s appearance and behavior and the reports of others about his behavior.”
Thomas Szasz, social critic and a psychiatrist critical of psychiatry

With the DSM, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, growing ever more voluminous with every new edition, the probability that any arbitrary person can be diagnosed as having one or more psychiatric disorders, is growing ever larger. Indeed, assuming Hyatt ‘s quote mentioned up above is about right, if it were up to the army of shrinks at large, it is unlikely that any person qualifies to be considered perfectly free from mental illness, disorder and deviation. It is exceptionally unlikely in fact, to be able to satisfy the ever narrowing psychiatric norm that constitutes soundness of mind, i.e. their idea of it of course. Any diagnosed deviants are at once to be brought into the sanctum of psychiatric normalcy through medication and therapy — of whatever form, morally acceptable or not (e.g. barbaric electroshock treatments). To the psychiatrist, it is highly verboten to be a “deviant of mind”.

In a narcissistic context, psychiatry only “loves” those mental health states which mirror its own specific mental health ideal or norm, its own progressively narrow definition of soundness of mind. This inherent narcissistic attitude is of course highly ironic as psychiatry should precisely be preoccupied with the combat of general psychopathology, including narcissism, rather than fall prey to its sway itself. Nonetheless it is exceedingly hard to deny that the current obsession of psychiatry with twisting and turning collective mental health to make it conform to its own proverbial mirror image is anything else but narcissistic.

But it doesn’t end with narcissism. Psychiatry is mentally ill in yet another way, albeit one closely related to narcissism. This other type of psychopathology is revealed when one realizes that psychiatry basically is a lucrative business enterprise. And like any other ambitious type of business, psychiatry too is highly driven by the profit motive. In fact, profit is not only far more important than helping the patient, it is business-wise patently unethical to go ahead and actually cure a patient, as a cured patient translates into a lost customer. As such, psychiatry is mainly interested in the “expedient” practice of combating or mitigating symptoms rather than offer real cures. In addition, it has succumbed to adopt the commercially obvious strategy of market expansion through expansion of the spectrum of possible mental disorders; this of course is reflected by the DSM getting more corpulent as the next edition replaces the previous one.

And so, by putting profit way ahead of the welfare of the patient combined with its commercially dictated tenacity to retain patients (read: customers), the second type of psychopathology that psychiatry is troubled by, unveils itself: psychopathy.

The psychiatric clinic is therefore a place of doubtful morals and efficacy where deemed psychiatric deviants are to be treated via a mental health profession that paradoxically itself is plagued by at least two, albeit strongly related, forms of rather serious psychiatric deviancy.

In so many sobering words, psychiatry itself is seriously and alarmingly mentally ill.

Small wonder then, that I am not the first to observe its crooked morals:

“What do you do when you don’t know what to do? No wonder there are more suicides among psychiatrists than in any other profession.”
Psychiatrist R. D. Laing, Wisdom, Madness, and Folly, p. 126

“Much of today’s psychiatric science is based on wish, myth, and politics…”
Loren Mosher, M.D., Former Chief of the Center for Studies of Schizophrenia, The National Institute of Mental Health

“A psychiatrist is a man who has studied medicine, which he does not practice, but practices psychology, which he has not studied.”
Dr. Harriet Babcock, former Chief Psychologist, Bellevue Hospital

“The field of mental health is highly subjective, capricious, and dominated by whims, mythologies, and public relations. In many ways it is a pop culture with endless fads but with no real substance.”
Dr. Walter Fisher, Assistant Superintendent, Elgin State Hospital

Disclaimer: I am not claiming that psychiatry as a whole is incapable of helping people, nor am I denying the existence of psychiatrists whose integrity can be said to not be spoiled by the selfish profit motive. If I did, I would perpetrate an unwarranted act of over-generalization, if for no other reason than that I simply do not know all the living psychiatrists on a personal well-enough basis to bolster said claim. The intent of this entry was merely to point out the hypocritical and injurious absurdity that has become definitional to the practice of psychiatry and that therefore extra caution needs to be taken before resorted to for help.

This post may be regarded as a follow-up to an earlier entry I did on the nefarious character of psychiatry.