Medical Marijuana

Psychiatrists for Medical Marijuana

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The Assembly of the American Psychiatric Association, a legislative body composed of representatives from APA districts throughout the country, has unanimously approved an action paper that urges the federal government to stop interfering with the medical use of marijuana in states where it's legal. The paper, which won't be official until it receives approval from the APA's Board of Trustees in December, notes that 12 states allow patients to use marijuana for symptom relief with a doctor's recommendation, but there's a catch:

The threat of arrest by federal agents, however, still exists. Seriously ill patients living in these states with medical marijuana recommendations from their doctors should not be subjected to the treat of punitive federal prosecution for merely attempting to alleviate the chronic pain, side effects, or symptoms associated with their conditions or resulting from their overall treatment regimens…[We] support protection for patients and physicians participating in state approved medical marijuana programs.

Abraham L. Halpern, professor emeritus of psychiatry at New York Medical College and past president of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, called the vote "a landmark," adding, "As physicians, we cannot abide our patients being subject to arrest and jail for using a physician-recommended treatment that clearly relieves suffering for many who are not helped by conventional treatments." Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, says the action paper's unanimous approval "shows the growing acceptance of medical marijuana by organized medicine."

Other medical organizations that support the therapeutic use of marijuana include the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Preventive Medical Association, and various state medical societies. (Medical marijuana also has been endorsed by groups such as the American Public Health Association, the Federation of American Scientists, and the Lymphoma Foundation of America.) The American Medical Association, like the APA in earlier votes, has called for more research on the medical utility of cannabis and has said that doctors and patients should be free to discuss all "treatment alternatives" without fear of "criminal sanctions." But it has not gone as far as the new APA action paper.

If you haven't yet, check out Drew Carey's medical marijuana video at reason.tv.

NEXT: A Penny for the Old Guy

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  1. I wonder if all those drug warriors who’ve been saying how “there’s no evidence that marijuana has any medicinal value” are going to realize how much suffering they’re responcible for. I wonder if they’ll even care if they do.

  2. “there’s no evidence that marijuana has any medicinal value”

    It’s a catch 22, because there is ‘no evidence’ (i.e. peer reviewed double blind studies) it is illegal to do studies. All because congress (i.e. con is opposite of pro, so congress is the opposite of progrees), a body without medical expertise declared so in 1971, in direct opposition to the Shaffer (sp?) report which said otherwide.

  3. I should have proofread, ‘otherwide’ I meant otherwise.

  4. I have a girlfriend who’s Hungarian and has never been to the USA.

    I tried to explain to her a situation where a state can enact a law that was illegal in federal law but still legal in state law and endorsed by independant third parties and the
    public.

    And Americans wonder why no one abroad “understands” them.

  5. Marihuana has been proven by the experts to invariably lead to schizophrenia in most users, so perhaps the psychologists are just looking for future business.

  6. Yeah Dave, I have a girlfriend in “Canada.”

    😉

  7. I would like to smoke up Juanita.

  8. Here’s my question. Pot being illegal is insane. It makes no sense. It has medicinal qualities; it is mostly harmless; it has never killed anyone, ever; it is used by many, many people even though illegal; even the people (most of them) who think it is still bad consider it far more benign than heroin or coke.

    Why is the government so hell-bent on keeping it illegal? If they legalized pot, they could still have their WOD (on the rest) and the pigs would still get tons of money for it. They would make a killing in tax. They would save a ton of money on incarcerations of harmless pot-smokers without any appreciable crime rise.

    It makes no sense, even from the government’s power-hungry point of view. So why, why, why do we still have pot being illegal?

  9. I have a girlfriend who’s Hungarian and has never been to the USA.

    Porn star?


  10. It makes no sense, even from the government’s power-hungry point of view. So why, why, why do we still have pot being illegal?

    Because it would put the big lie to the government. It would be one of those watershed moments in American history like the civil rights movement (not equating, just comparing the two) where it was clearly laid bare that government policy is not only wrong, but evil and actively harmful.

    Also, it would put a lot of powerful people who like to play with guns and ninja gear out of a job.

  11. Warren, Epi, you have to understand the mindset. While getting my glaucoma test I joked about Medical Marijuana to my eye doctor. The smile disappeared and he became appalled. He then sternly lectured me about how medical marijuana was totally ineffectual and bogus. It should be completely illegal and had no medical value. Besides, he said, there are plenty of great medicines to treat glaucoma.

    You cannot combat that mentality. Ever.

  12. BTW, shrinks for marijuana isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement. Those guys don’t have such a great track record.

    Okay, I’m being snarky, actually shrinks for pot is probably a good thing because they have the cachet of the medical profession behind them. Even if they think people who own guns are mentally ill.

  13. You cannot combat that mentality. Ever.

    Yeah, but since when does the government care about that? They pass bullshit laws that most people think are stupid all the time.

    Since government is about power, what power does the government gain by outlawing pot that it wouldn’t get with the tax revenues from legalizing it?

  14. !!! Keep Dope Alive !!!

    !!! Keep Dope Alive !!!

    !!! Keep Dope Alive !!!

    !!! Keep Dope Alive !!!

  15. “the treat punitive federal prosecution ”

    What kind of sick bastard considers punitive federal prosecution a treat?

  16. “…should not be subjected to the treat of punitive federal prosecution…”

    hee hee, I think they mean threat but then again punitive federal prosecution is a treat for those doing the prosecuting

  17. Juanita…u and ur dry-ass-pussy knows nothing about nothing…so shut up.

    how’s that from Trolling

  18. It makes no sense, even from the government’s power-hungry point of view.

    Oh sure it does. How many billions will we be spending on the WOD this year? Sure you could legalize pot and go after crack, meth, etc. But pot is much easier to pad your stats with. Tons of pot laid out for the cameras looks more impressive than pounds of coke. Plus there are about a hundred people that will deal pot for every person dealing crack. Most of them are not full time dealers. They don’t know a lot about the legal system, so they are easy to catch and convict.

  19. Why is the government so hell-bent on keeping it illegal?

    To save the children?

    Seriuosly though, my personal belief is that there are many people (who vote) who believe whole heartedly that if the government makes it legal, then the gov’t is endorsing/approving of the use of it and that if its illegal status is revoked marijuana usage is going to go through the roof and our society will be filled with dangerous stoners.

    I also think that the drug companies don’t want you self medicating on something that you could grow and make all by your lonesome. I fully believe that if MJ were legal, prescription drug use would decrease.

    And finally, if the gov’t were to do an about face now and allow MJ, after years and years and years about harping about how evil and bad drugs are and how it will make you fry eggs and destroy kitchens with Cast Iron skillets, it would hurt their credibility and make average people think “WTF?? What else is the government being disingenuous /dishonest about?”

    At least that’s what I believe

  20. Juanita has to be a regular here who is running one of the longest inside jokes around. You always know when she is going to make an appearance (drug and sex threads) and you know exactly what she is going to say. It’s methodical.

    It has to be one of the regulars here. And if so, kudos on keeping it going so long. That’s one hell of an inside joke.

  21. So why, why, why do we still have pot being illegal?

    My guess is because it would be bad for the economy – pot tends to de-motivate people. Notice how pot is illegal but caffeine is not just legal but often provided for free by employers to their workers? People sitting around getting high all the time might come to the conclusion that there’s more to life than acquiring money and material possesions, and our ruling class just can’t have that.

  22. Epi, since when does the government care about that?

    Those guys are true believers.

    They pass bullshit laws that most people think are stupid all the time.

    I rest my case. 🙂

    And are those laws ever repealed? I say mostly not.

  23. TWC,
    These are not “shrinks”. Shrinks are psychologists. Psychologists are one step away from fortune tellers. The APA are psychiatrists. Psychiatrists are licensed medical doctors. They can prescribe medication.

  24. Besides, he said, there are plenty of great medicines to treat glaucoma.
    and then added, and the drug reps for the companies that produce them give out some nice freebies and swag

  25. My guess is because it would be bad for the economy – pot tends to de-motivate people. Notice how pot is illegal but caffeine is not just legal but often provided for free by employers to their workers?/i>

    Right, because alcohol is also great motivator and makes people productive as hell.

  26. Chicago Tom

    What credibility?

  27. Also, it would put a lot of powerful people who like to play with guns and ninja gear out of a job.

    Until they go to Blackwater. Face it, they have better suits, better sunglasses, more money, and less RoE.

    *think…think…think*

    You think they’re hiring?

  28. Dan T, you funny guy.

    I still say there is really nothing all that diabolical about any of this.

    IMO, 80% of the anti-dope crusaders are bristling self-righteous True Believers.

    They are helped out by the general public who think pot is not that big of a deal for them and their friends, but all those other dopers are a danger to society so we better keep it illegal.

  29. Also, Blackwater has a team of ‘net-ninjas who follow their operatives around and close their HTML tags for them. Big perks there….

  30. But Warren, that costs money, whereas think of the insane amounts of vote-buying politicians could do with tax money from weed. Plus, considering a disproportionate number of convictions are of young black males, think of how much black vote getting you could have by legalizing?

    There are so many upsides that you would think some polticians would go for it, but none do.

  31. Dan T

    Do more research cannabis is not a demotivator. More government propaganda that has been said for so long by so many drug war shills that it has become the truth.

    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” Goebbels

  32. Warren

    Read the “Myth of Mental Illness” by Thomas Szasz. He also has an interesting site where he talks about the practice of psychiatry.

  33. Warren, you’ll have to forgive me, but the difference between psychiatrists and psychologists is a difference without much distinction.

  34. They can prescribe medication. which is pretty much all the practicing of medicine those guys do.

    Would you let a licensed medical doctor who is a psychiatrist take your appendix out? If not, that precludes any status conferred upon said shrink by reason of owning a medical degree.

  35. Right, because alcohol is also great motivator and makes people productive as hell.

    Well, as some of you know, I am a tax guy and I can assure by the time the bottle is empty everybody is getting a refund! Now, that is productivity with a capital P.

  36. Also, Blackwater has a team of ‘net-ninjas who follow their operatives around and close their HTML tags for them. Big perks there….

    You don’t really need net-ninjas as long as you have a copy of THIS!

  37. Jimmy, that was great the first time and it’s still really funny.

  38. For the government to get behind medical reefer legalization it would require them to admit “I was wrong” or “I lied”. Our leaders almost never will admit either, even though both are the true for the lot of them.

    Pride, one of the seven deadly sins. Hell is going to be verrry crowded.

  39. Warren, you’ll have to forgive me, but the difference between psychiatrists and psychologists is a difference without much distinction.

    I’m afraid I have to call bullshit on you calling bullshit on me. Psychiatry is a biological practice, psychology is a sociological practice.

    I’m familure with Thomas Szasz. I think much of his critique of the profession is devastating. However I think he goes too far and undermines some excellent work. The human mind is far from understood but our understanding today is far more advanced than it was ten or more years ago. And of course we are learning more every day.

  40. Would you let a licensed medical doctor who is a psychiatrist take your appendix out? If not, that precludes any status conferred upon said shrink by reason of owning a medical degree.

    Would you let a licensed pediatrician take out your appendix?

  41. Warren

    He only undermines those works that are flawed.

  42. I know it’s futile, but I really wish that the government could wrap their heads around the fact that the legalization of marijuana would help the country immensely. Not from joking things like “sales of Doritos would go through the roof”. Not from the standpoint of increased tax revenues. Not even from the standpoint of the fact that it would take power away from the government it was never meant to have in the first place, and force a sea change in the way we view government itself.

    The biggest “positive” effect it would have on the country? Alcohol use would go down. Guaranteed. And anyone who’s ever dealt with drunk people and stoned people would tell you you’d much rather deal with stoned people.

    As an aside, as someone who deals with a major anxiety disorder and sees a psychiatrist for it, some people really annoy me with the whole ‘mental illness is a myth’ thing.

  43. Warren, you’ll have to forgive me, but the difference between psychiatrists and psychologists is a difference without much distinction.

    I’m sorry, that’s just uniformed nonsense.

  44. As an aside, as someone who deals with a major anxiety disorder and sees a psychiatrist for it, some people really annoy me with the whole ‘mental illness is a myth’ thing.

    I agree. It’s one thing to say “We don’t really know what autism (schizophrenia, etc) is. It’s diagnosis is just a constellation of symptoms. More people are being diagnosed every year. Many people in the industry are making a name for themselves doing research, treatment, writing books etc. But it’s not clear how many “patients” are better off” it’s another thing entirely to say “since it can’t be precisely defined and no theory of the systemic cause has been experimentally verified, then it doesn’t exist.”

  45. Would you let a licensed pediatrician take out your appendix?

    Yes.

    I’d let my heart doctor, Julie Ann, do it as well. Course, she is kind of cute.

    That’s because each of those people are practicing medical doctors.

    You and J Sub both missed this: I am well aware of the difference between a psychiatrist and psychologist. In theory. In practice there are good people in both fields.

    For the record, I am not nearly as dismissive of the MSW’s of the world as you are.

    My point is that the medical degree conferred upon psychiatrists is a credential that doesn’t buy much credibility because they, in fact, rarely to never practice medicine.

    They practice drug therapy in addition to counseling. Well, once upon a time they actually did counseling, now that duty has been relegated to the Phd’s and MSW’s of the world.

  46. TWC – So you do you know med school is essentially the same for all different future specialists. (And that it in absoultely no way resembles a psychology degree program?) Future surgeons, future internists, future psychiatrists all spend 2 years learning all the lovely minutia of the human body and the chemistry and physics involved in its workings, then they all spend 2 more years doing short rotations in all major specialties.

    So how is specializing in the interactions of drugs or other stimuli on the brain not “practicing medicine”? (And your comment about “once upon a time they” did counceling seems to me to strengthen the “medicalness” of their practice.) I think I could dismiss each speciality with trite comments. Surgeons are highly skilled plumbers. Family practicioners are antibiotic factories. Etc. In reality each of them has learned a shitton about a specific aspect of human physiology.

    Since the science of the brain is in it’s infancy, are you suggesting we not pursue it?

  47. The biggest “positive” effect it would have on the country? Alcohol use would go down. Guaranteed. And anyone who’s ever dealt with drunk people and stoned people would tell you you’d much rather deal with stoned people.

    I once read of a study that showed a correlation between increased crackdowns on pot with increased drunk driving deaths. Seems plausible.

  48. As Szasz say where in the brain can mental illness be found?

  49. says dammit says

  50. Warren is the practice of medicine considered a science?

  51. “To save the children?”

    Why do we put so much effort towards saving the chidren when everyone knows that in just a few years, they’ll just be asshole aduklts?

  52. “Popular belief and scientific dogma notwithstanding, the term “mental illness” refers to unwanted behavior, not medical malady. Derivatively, the term refers to the role of “mental patient,” a social role imbued with far-reaching legal and political implications. The law assumes that persons called “mental patients” are more likely to be dangerous to themselves and / or others than are persons not so called, an assumption most people accept as self-evident fact. Herein lies the source of the psychiatrist’s traditional social obligation to control “harm to self and/or others,” that is, suicide and crime.” Thomas Szasz

  53. “Physicians, criminologists, politicians, and the public use advances in medicine and neuroscience to convince themselves that such interventions are “scientific” and do not violate the moral and legal foundations of English and American law. This is a serious error. Many years ago I suggested that “formerly, when religion was strong and science weak, men mistook magic for medicine; now, when science is strong and religion weak, men mistake medicine for magic.”

    In 1960, when I first publicly asserted that mental illness is a myth, I meant to remind people that, according to scientific-medical definition, disease is a predicate of bodies. If we accept that definition, we need not examine any particular person to know that he does not have a mental illness. Separating literal from metaphorical diseases is a variation on Kant’s theme of separating “analytic truths” from “synthetic truths.”

    We know that bachelors are unmarried without investigating their marital status. The truth of an analytic proposition is contained in the meaning of the words involved. Analytic truths are “truths of reason,” based on logic and the precise use of language. Conversely, we know that lead is heavier than water by reference to appropriate observations or reliable records. The truth of a synthetic proposition is contingent on what we call and accept as “facts.” Physicians discover diseases, such as malaria. Psychiatrists construct and deconstruct diseases, such as homosexuality.

    We need linguistic methods to verify or falsify analytic statements, empirical methods, to verify or falsify synthetic statements. Diseases have causes, such as infectious agents or nutritional deficiencies, and often can be prevented or cured by dealing with these causes. Persons have reasons for their actions, regardless of whether they are said to have or not have mental diseases. It is as foolish to look for the causes or cures of the behaviors we call “mental illnesses” as it would be to look for the causes and cures of the behaviors we call “religions.” Action, behavior, conduct, call it what you will, is goal-directed and meaningful. Unless it’s “senseless mental illness.”

    Thomas Szasz

  54. Ryan, I am not suggesting that we ignore the science of the brain. I am suggesting that a large majority of psychiatrists do not pursue the science of the brain, opting to see patients at a hundred bucks a pop and prescribe drugs that they think might help. Sometimes they get lucky. Sometimes not.

    I make a serious distinction between real mental illness, such as my nephew’s autism, and the kinds of things that are routinely classified as mental illness in our culture and by the profession, which are not mental illness at all. That umbrella grows ever larger and now covers every middle age guy who buys a Harley and every school boy who is disruptive in class. Give him drugs. He needs counseling. The APA is an integral part of the problem and by extension so is the profession.

    There is nothing wrong with shrinking as a line of work. I know good people in psychology and psychiatry. OTOH, I’m not Thomas Szasz but I have concluded over time that the shrinking profession (both kinds) is not nearly as effective as we have been led to believe.

    Those who place too much confidence and faith in the profession may just end up disappointed.

    Often a person just needs a bartender, a friend, a joint, a glass of beer, a good roll in the hay, a vacation, a new job, a divorce, a drink. or a couple of glasses of wine.

    Or as Don Henley once said, sometimes you just need to Get Over It.

  55. James –

    As Szasz say where in the brain can mental illness be found?

    I’m glad most doctors and medical researchers give up far less easily than Dr. Szasz.

  56. Now I’m going to lunch with Mrs TWC and have some spicy Nu Awlins style BBQ shrimp with rice and some clam chowder. MMMMM. Have a good afternoon boys.

  57. It is as foolish to look for the causes or cures of the behaviors we call “mental illnesses” as it would be to look for the causes and cures of the behaviors we call “religions.”

    And this is where I Szasz looses me. Honestly, I don’t see how anyone follows him over this cliff. While schizophrenia may yet be a mysterious err condition. I can’t even begin to see how you could deny it’s a disease. Schizophrenics aren’t born that way, they become schizophrenic. AND we know know that there are genetic and environmental causes that precipitate the change. Frankly I find the suggestion that people suffering from schizophrenia chose it, as one might chose religion, patently offensive.

  58. TWC –

    I have as much a problem as you with the “growing umbrella”. (Aside – I don’t think this is drastically different than the failure of many specialties to openly discuss the limitations of medicine. e.g. – that antibiotic will not help your cold, flu, or any other viral infection, but the internal medicine docs keep cranking out the prescriptions.) But to argue against psychiatry as a legitimate medical specialty by focusing on depressed housewives is insincere. There are legitimate, incapacitating mental illnesses, and autism is only one. Bipolar, schizophrenia, paranoia – these can be completely debilitating; a sufferer may lose the ability to hold a job or maintain basic self-care. These people need help, and a shot or a lay is not it.

  59. Ryan it’s not that Szasz has given up it’s that he is skeptical of mental illness based on its history. Homosexuality was once upon a time considered a mental disease so was lying and masturbation to name a few things. He is skeptical because the profession has been so wrong before look up the history of things that were once considered mental diseases.

  60. Warren

    We know no such thing. Where is the cure then if they have discovered the causes of these so-called mental diseases. In the same thread he talks about diseases have causes and that often treating these causes cures the disease. Where is that the case with the mental diseases you are not following Dr. Szasz reasoning because you are letting your personal belief get in the way of the facts. They cannot even locate the causes of these so-called diseases so how can they be real diseases.

  61. TWC –

    You generally seem thoughtful, so I ask you to be careful with this statement as this:

    sometimes you just need to Get Over It

    If you were simply arguing that psychiatry is overreaching into less severe mental issues, fine. But in a discussion about the legitimacy of the profession in general, you have to imagine speaking those words to a schizophrenic picking the spiders off his knees and screaming about the chip the FBI planted in his ear. That is some horrendously unlucky (not drug-induced, not victim of poor personal choices, NOT THEIR FAULT) person.

  62. James –

    At one time bad humours caused disease. At one time leeches were state of the art care. At one time smoking was believed to be healthy. At one time bloodletting cured what ailed ya. Too bad Szasz wasn’t around to nix internal medicine at those times.

    Sheesh. Talk about throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

    I’m glad most doctors and medical researchers give up far less easily than Dr. Szasz.

  63. James –

    At one time slavery was legal in the US! What a shitty country we’ve got.

    Szasz is arguing that psychiatry should not be practiced. He is not skeptical, he is convinced.

  64. James –

    They cannot even locate the causes of these so-called diseases so how can they be real diseases.

    Think about what you are implying here and decide if it makes any sense. Psychiatrists use chemicals to alter the behavior of the brain. Are they just wildly throwing anything they’ve got in there? No. They target specific structures in the brain, specific chemicals in the brain that, if altered, may allow a sick person’s brain to work more like yours or mine. So if altering a component of the brain corrects a problem, isn’t it possible the doctors located a cause? Maybe not the primary cause, but at least the immediate cause.

    Is that not helpful to sick humans? Isn’t the goal of doctoring to help sick humans?

  65. Ryan that is exactly what they are doing if they really understood how “mental” diseases worked they would have a cure for them. They absolutely do not. So you take these pills and hope that they will make you better there are no guarantees. If they understood better what the causes are then they would be able to deliver genuine cures

    Ryan I hate to break it to you buddy leaches as a cure for certain things are making a come back. Dr Szasz believes that the whole point of creating mental illness was to coerce and control people who behaved in ways that others determined were not normal. Szasz does not dismiss medicine that works just psychiatry

  66. james/TWC

    With all due respect, you can go f*** yourselves. You want to trade brain chemistry? You want this damn crippling anxiety? You want to stand in the corner in social situations where you’re fighting the overwhelming urge to roll up into the fetal position, puke, and/or run away? You can have it.

    Until you’ve walked a mile in my shoes, you have no idea what you’re talking about with this “mental illness is a myth” bullcrap. It’s incredibly offensive.

  67. Ryan when did they discover a cure for a mental illnesses or what mental illnesses have they cured? Alzheimer’s is a real brain disease it causes changes in the structure of the brain changes that can be seen.

  68. As for the “if we understood what caused them we’d have a real cure”… that’s just asinine. We know exactly what causes a whole host of diseases (like MS) that we have no cure for.

  69. Andrew believe what you want. What is the cause of your anxiety a mental illness. You are anxious for a reason only you know the reason for that I can assure you that if you doctor knew he would have manufactured a cure for you. I’m not saying that anxiety is real humans have experienced anxiety but you think that extreme anxiety is a disease what is normal anxiety then. Example anxious about how you are going to be able to pay your rent, afford your car insurance, find a job, etc. I have been anxious and I am frequently anxious but I don’t have a mental illness and I don’t believe you do either and that is not said to shit on your belief but to point out that we are often the authors of our problems not some mysterious maladies.

  70. James –

    You’re not trying.

    Only diseases with cures are real? Let all the cancer and AIDS patients know, they’ll be pumped.

    If a disease can’t be cured then symptom management is malpractice? You just lost all your new cancer patient friends.

    ZING! on the leeches. They used to be used to treat, well, all kinds of stuff. They aren’t now.

    Please go talk to the neighborhood schizophrenic and explain to him he is simply acting in ways other people don’t consider normal and that his evil doc is just coercing and controlling him. I hope for your sake he’s on his meds that day.

  71. Normal anxiety is normal. Having a complete inability to interact socially with people due to a hyper-anxious reaction is not normal. Sorry. Everyone gets anxious about things. You’re right. But there’s a point where it becomes a problem.

    Like I said, want to trade places? I’d gladly do it.

    You have no clue what you’re talking about yet you continue to spout this BS like it makes you look like you have a brain.

  72. James-

    You are ignorant beyond belief. Coupled with your overwhelming arrogance makes you unbearable. I cannot believe your response to Andrew.

  73. James – Go tour a psych ward at a hospital before you spout any more bile.

  74. Andrew –

    I sincerely hope the researchers and doctors ignoring Dr. Szasz discover a cure or at least more robust treatment for your problem, and soon.

  75. Ryan-

    Thanks.

    If I could get over it, I gladly would. Trust me. I’ve managed to teach myself to integrate into such actions, mostly because I’m in a profession that requires constant interpersonal relation. But it’s not easy.

    And I have it fairly easy compared to some people I’ve met.

    Mental illness is real james, whether you like it or not. I truly hope neither you nor anyone in your family has to suffer it.

    Though you’ve helped me to learn that my mom must not really have MS, and that must be a myth, since they have no cure, they must not really understand what causes it — it might not even exist! Thanks though. Appreciated. She’ll be happy.

  76. Andrew MS is not a good example we don’t know what causes it.

    I repeat there is a reason for your anxiousness and your having a mental illness is not that reason. Being anxious is normal part of life it is something that is controllable. I was painfully shy as a young man. I’m not anymore even though I am still uncomfortable in social situations around people I am not familiar with.

  77. Ryan because I don’t believe in mental illness I’m spitting bile. Let’s be real here. Anxiety is anxiety it is not being mental ill. The doctors would have you believe that seeing them will cure this. Well Andrew has it cured you and made you feel any better to talk to a doctor?

    I have had family members who suffered from Alzheimers which is a real disease. I have had family member who have killed themselves. Do I believe that they were “crazy” or “mentally ill” I did once upon a time but just because I was uncomfortable with the choices they made doesn’t mean that their wasn’t a reason for their actions that made perfect sense to them.

    My father and brother both took their own lives I don’t believe they were “mentally ill” even though most pyschiatrist would disagree.

  78. You’re really confusing me. You seem to still be saying that if there’s no cure, and we don’t know what causes it, then it’s not real.

    So your method of thinking would then apply to diseases such as MS, right?

  79. James –

    You are spitting bile when you tell a sufferer of an ailment you are clearly ignorant of that he needs to suck it up.

    So back to the schizophrenic picking spiders off his knees and trying to dig the FBI-planted bug out of his ear. Am I just uncomfortable with his choices, or is there perhaps a real problem?

  80. Andrew I did not say that MS was not real. I said there is no cure for it. Reread my thread. My friends wife suffers from MS and as he explained to me they don’t know what causes it.

    Mental illness is not the same it is a label. Unless parts of your brain are damaged by it how can it be a real disease. Alzheimers causes brain damage. Being labeled mentally ill does not.

    Ryan just because medicine changes how your brain functions that doesn’t mean you have a mental illness if you drink alcohol, snort coke, smoke a joint, shoot up heroin. All these things can change how your brain works none of them are proof of having a mental illness. Believe what you want to believe man. As we believe so we are.

  81. I did not say he needs to suck it up. I said I don’t believe mental illness is real. Not the same thing at all.

  82. Mental illness does cause changes in the physical structure of the brain though. With scizophrenia, for example, brain volume is known to decrease 5-10% in the first decade after a person develops the disease.

    Similar (though to less of a degree) changes occur in people with depressive disorder.
    But I suppose that’s all in their heads, right?

  83. James –

    Please respond to what I actually say or this is pointless. What I said that I think you were referring to:

    “(Psychiatrists) target specific structures in the brain, specific chemicals in the brain that, if altered, may allow a sick person’s brain to work more like yours or mine. So if altering a component of the brain corrects a problem, isn’t it possible the doctors located a cause? Maybe not the primary cause, but at least the immediate cause.”

    I did not say anything like the seeming non sequitur in the 3rd paragraph of your 4:13 post.

    Would you like to discuss what I actually said?

  84. Andrew, I’m not going to go fuck myself at your invitation. Go back and re-read my post at 12:41. I never said mental illness was a myth.

    Ryan, the key word is SOMETIMES you need to just get over it. Preceding that I wrote that

    I make a serious distinction between real mental illness, such as my nephew’s autism, and the kinds of things that are routinely classified as mental illness in our culture and by the profession, which are not mental illness at all.

  85. TWC –

    Welcome back. How was lunch?

    I noted your distinction; like I said in my comments when I mentioned it, I thought given the context it was at best unclear what you meant. You were arguing that psychiatry was perhaps not real medicine, then (in part) making your case by discussing their most mild cases. In light of the scope of your previous comments, I think that argument was a bait and switch. Thus I found your comment questionable.

    To clarify, I did not mean that I thought you would say that to a severely mentally ill person, just that the scope of the previous argument made the comment questionable.

  86. I make a serious distinction between real mental illness, such as my nephew’s autism, and the kinds of things that are routinely classified as mental illness in our culture and by the profession, which are not mental illness at all.

    Valid point, like the distinction between schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, and things like “social phobia disorder” or defiance disorder.

    Type one has actual brain changes, type two is just culturally unaccepted behaviors.

  87. Tym –

    Genuine question: Is it known (if so, how) that there are not actual brain changes in those conditions you refer to as type 2? (is that a standard classification?)

    My hunch has been that among DSM disorders for which changes in the brain have not been observed, we will discover those changes in some cases and not in others. But that is just a hunch.

  88. Ryan, lunch was quite good thanks.

    It seems like bait and switch because my earlier comments were quite flippant and I’m now trying to clarify it. Sometimes it is very difficult to make nuanced observations in this kind of medium. After all, you can’t see the expression on my face.

    At the risk of sounding like the guy who says I am not racist, some of my best friends are black, I can say I have a little experience dealing with mental illness. IOW, I know a little about crazy people. 🙂 More than I would like to actually.

    You were arguing that psychiatry was perhaps not real medicine

    I was actually arguing against Warren’s proposition that psychologists were one step above fortune tellers and that psychiatrists were medical doctors. Which they are, on paper. In reality, they are not practicing medicine in the sense that heart doctors, pediatricians, GP’s, or internists do. sole exception would be psychiatrists engaged in research in a true biological sense.

    My second unclear point was that until recently there was little practical difference between going to see a psychologist and going to see a psychiatrist except that the latter will give you drugs (think of Tony Soprano and his shrink).

    Today, it seems that for the most part psychiatry has dispensed with the “couch” and sub’d in the drugs. The psychologist has capitulated as well, dispensing with the need to explore every facet of early childhood and decided that we just need a few quick wham, bam, thank you ma’aam sessions, and you’re cured. Both of these scenarios (in my cynical little addled brain) seem to directly correlate to something other than medical break through. IE, that fact that insurance companies are loath to pay for shrink visits. No more of those once a week sessions like the 1970’s, it’s five per year.

    I am not unsympathetic to genuinely debilitating mental health problems, whether brought on by circumstance or genetics or something we don’t know about.

    Psychologists are NOT one step up from fortune tellers (see, Warren’s comment).

    There is good work being done on behalf of the mentally ill and the debilitated in both disciplines.

    There are some people who need drugs. Some who need counseling. Some both.

    Many shrinks are dedicated caring professionals, way too many others are not. Might be accidental complacence, might be arrogance, might be something else, but for every Alex Delaware, there are dozens of guys who aren’t.

    And why are looney bins painted bile green? Oops, there I go getting flippant again, sorry.

  89. Tym, I have social phobia disorder. You can’t get me to leave the house but if you do get me to a party, you can’t get me to go home.

    My kid has Hold On disorder. Every time you ask him to do something he says HOLD ON.

  90. I haven’t taken the APA seriously since they decided that homosexuality wasn’t a psychological disorder by taking a vote.

    It may have been the right decision, but that’s not how science is supposed to work.

  91. The APA also believes strongly in gun control laws and gun registration and background checks. They just don’t think you should be able to check and see if the purchaser has a history of mental illness.

  92. I haven’t taken the APA seriously since they decided that homosexuality wasn’t a psychological disorder by taking a vote.

    It may have been the right decision, but that’s not how science is supposed to work.

    Psychiatry isn’t science, it is a branch of the medical profession tasked with dealing with unpleasant patients whose condition has no known pathology. If and when a “mental illness” is found to be a brain disease it will become the province of neurologists.

  93. If and when a “mental illness” is found to be a brain disease it will become the province of neurologists.

    Hmmm, never thought of it that way. I think you’re right.

  94. TWC,

    If and when a “mental illness” is found to be a brain disease it will become the province of neurologists.

    Hmmm, never thought of it that way. I think you’re right.

    The point is made repeatedly by Szasz.
    His detractors nearly always mis-state his position. His supporters often do so as well.

    The best example is tertiary syphilis which used to be a common, if not predominant, cause of “psychiatric” disorders. Psychiatrists don’t have much to do with treating it anymore, except in the case of a misdiagnosis.

  95. TWC-

    I’d like to apologize to you… subject of my ire was james, not you, and I completely misread what you had written.

  96. Andrew, thanks. I can understand your frustration.

  97. Andrew – if you’re still reading this thread, I’d suggest Toxic Psychiatry by Peter Breggin to you. Most (if not all) of the brain shrinkage seen in schizophrenic patients is due to the neuroleptic drugs prescribed for schizophrenia.

    The reason that this is not commented on more frequently is that the same people prescribing the drugs are the ones writing the papers.

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