Viewpoints I – A look at Psychiatry

From time to time I will post viewpoints from academicians which tend to mirrorm mine. Here is the first of such postings:

MORE BRITISH ACADEMICS SPEAK OUT!

Tom Cruise is most certainly right. Psychiatry is, and will remain a
pseudoscience and the only caveat to that statement is that it may give it
more credibility than it deserves.

I speak as a medical ethicist and I congratulate Tom Cruise first for his
courage to speak out on such issues and second on his obvious dedicated
interest in the subject demonstrated by his knowledge of the issues. The
detractors especially those who support psychiatry because it has ‘helped
them’ miss the point. Tom Cruise is speaking about the subject, they are
speaking about themselves. The subject is this. Psychiatry demands
recognition within the healing arts and claims to be both a science and a
branch of medicine. It is neither for these reasons.

For years psychiatry has propagated a myth that mental illnesses are
biological and has even gone so far in many cases to deny that we are
creatures of free will at all. For years those who refuse to accept this
dogma have asked them for evidence, not conjecture, to support this
position. It has not been forthcoming and the best they have ever been able
to come up with are “maybes”, “possiblies” and “we believe”. Not one piece
of real evidence has ever been adduced and it places this branch of
‘science’ in the same category as that that searches for the Yeti and the
Sasquatch, except of course that those who believe in Yetis and Sasquatches
have never had access to the vast research funds that the biopsychiatric
fraternity have.

Medicine is bound by an ancient and laudable tradition of ethics in which
primum non nocere (first do no harm) is the foundation stone that the
doctrines of beneficence and non-malfeasance are built on. Those ethics are
abrogated and control has primacy over care, first do no harm but second do
what you like. Lying to patients in any branch of medicine is a breach of
that ethic. Forcing medication is a breach of that ethic, denying the right
of consent is a breach of those ethics and if those ethical conditions
cannot be met then psychiatry does not belong in their world.

Respect for autonomy is a pillar of medical ethics. Autonomy is a myth in
psychiatry and cannot be found in any psychiatric hospital or in any society
where medication with dangerous drugs is a condition of liberty. Justice is
the fourth pillar of medical ethics and as with the others it is totally
absent in psychiatry. Where is the justice in telling patients that ‘mental
illness is for life’ when that excludes them from many areas that those of
us who are not ‘mad’ take for granted. Where is the justice in lying to
patients that mental illness means they must take drugs forever when real
science has shown that is not the case. Where is the justice in detaining
people against their will, without due process, on the spurious grounds that
they are a risk to themselves. Where is the justice in billions of dollars
being spent on mood adapting drugs while those drugs that save lives ‘cannot
be afforded.’

Even if psychiatry were a ‘science’ it would belong in the field of what is
now described as the most dishonest science of all, Biological Science.
This once noblest of sciences was originally a search for knowledge and
truth. It is now a search for dollars and when truth gets in the way of
that, it is buried. Case after case is now coming to light where the
bioscientists have lied to get research dollars, kudos and personal wealth.
Some of these scientists gone bad are now facing well deserved jail
sentences. Manufactured mental illnesses have provided the biggest growth
industry to these characters, puffing up egos and fattening wallets. Real
science and real people have suffered the cost of this with real illness
neglected and real science ignored.

Biopsychiatry is the biggest pseudoscientific lie since eugenics, to which
it is of course closely related. A big hand to Tom Cruise and all who keep
reminding us of this.

Barry Turner
Lecturer in Medical Ethics and Law
University of Lincoln
London, England

July 20, 2007. dishonest, drugs, ethics, mental illness, Psychiatry, science, Tom Cruise, Uncategorized.

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