Wednesday, September 22, 2010
When a Doctor Says "You're Sick," You Lie Down
To rely on the psychiatrists' disease theory of depression causes people become the passive victim to the vagaries of the changing chemistry in their own brains. I would go so far as to make an analogy between your brain and your muscles. If you give up trying to exercise your brain to get it to quit focusing on neural paths that are causing you stress, pain, depression and anxiety and follow the neural paths that are more productive and anxiety free, it's the same as not exercising and wondering why you can't lift up a fifty pound bag of dogfood at the grocery store. When a doctor says you're sick it's just human nature to believe it, and feel like lying down. Whole crowds of people have been documented as going to hospital with vomiting and cramps and other symptoms of food poisoning only to find out that they were not physically ill but were, instead, suffering from mass hysteria.
Psychiatrists who insist on the “disease theory” of depression often cite findings of "chemical imbalances" in those who suffer from depression. The problem with these claims isn’t that psychiatrists can find a connection between brain chemistry and behavior. The problem is that "chemical imbalance" is a more of a social judgment than a medical one. Psychiatrists could find any segment of society that might have a brain chemistry different from those not identified with that segment of society. If they found that marathon runners had a brain chemistry verifiably different from non-marathon runners, by the same logic, psychiatrists could therefore infer that being a long distance marathon runner is a mental illness.
And then for these same psychiatrists to say that anti-depressants are the only answer to depression because they can change brain chemistry, and thereby behavior, is not actually any reliable evidence that that the initial behavior was "a disease" in the first place. For instance, if alcohol makes people less shy and inhibited, is that medical evidence that shyness, therefore, is a medical disease? A. B. Curtiss