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Lifelong, maintenance medication, perhaps accompanied by periodic forced hospitalization (inpatient and outpatient); steadily building “extra-pyramidal symptoms” and side effects of medication that, on average, decrease the lifespan by 25 years; a mental illness “label” that never comes off, whether symptoms are present or no; chronic disability; charges of brain deformity ["chemical imbalance"]… this is the ”Western” approach to psychiatry. Is there any other way?
Yes. As a matter of fact there is.
Whether awarded by a psychiatrist after a 30 minute assessment (and perhaps a quick consultation with the DSM-IV [Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Vol. IV]), decided upon after longer thought and processing with a therapist or responsible professional, or a self-diagnosis, this ritual (Eduardo Duran likens it to a “naming ceremony”) is a central part of conventional, American mental health treatment today. But what do these diagnoses really mean? Where do they come from? And why is it that these diagnoses can come to define the identity of someone so labeled?
Public education and children’s mental health are intricately intertwined – many kids get their diagnoses and a start on pharmaceuticals at a teacher’s or school nurse’s request. Some contend that the ADHD [Attention Defecit Hyperactivity Disorder] diagnosis arose out of a need to keep children unnaturally quiet and obedient in their seats. And lots of kids find the enviornment of a school – with its institutionalized timetables, downright posionous foods, and abudance of bullying and negativity – to be absolutely maddening. Here is some information about compulsory schooling’s links to mental health, and some ALT_ernatives (ie joyful learning and education) that leave more to the inventive minds of children.
Psychopharmacology: gfom Greek ψῡχή, psȳkhē, “breath, life, soul”; φάρμακον, pharmakon, “drug”; and -λογία, -logia, this is the study of drug-induced changes in mood, sensation, thinking, and behavior. Psychopharmacology, and the PHARMAceutical industry that surrounds it, is central to psychiatry as it is practiced professionally in the Western world, although there are many researchers, scientists, psychiatrists, and patients who are questioning its dominance of the field.
What causes mental disorders, psychological trauma and distress? There is, as yet, no definitive answer, but theories abound. Explore some of them here and judge the evidence for yourself. What makes sense to you?
Psychological trauma is a type of damage to the psyche that occurs as a result of a traumatic event. When that trauma leads to posttraumatic stress disorder, damage may involve physical changes inside the brain and to brain chemistry, which damage the person’s ability to adequately cope with stress.