Friday, June 3, 2011

There is no chemical imbalance, nor has there ever been

The Epidemic of Mental Illness: Why?
Marcia Angell
New York Review of Books

Excerpt from review of
- The Emperor's New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth (Irving Kirsch)
- Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America (Robert Whitaker)
- Unhinged: The Trouble with Psychiatry - A Doctor's Revelations about a Profession in Crisis (Daniel Carlat)

Second, none of the three authors subscribes to the popular theory that mental illness is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. As Whitaker tells the story, that theory had its genesis shortly after psychoactive drugs were introduced in the 1950s. The first was Thorazine (chlorpromazine), which was launched in 1954 as a “major tranquilizer” and quickly found widespread use in mental hospitals to calm psychotic patients, mainly those with schizophrenia. Thorazine was followed the next year by Miltown (meprobamate), sold as a “minor tranquilizer” to treat anxiety in outpatients. And in 1957, Marsilid (iproniazid) came on the market as a “psychic energizer” to treat depression.

then yada yada yada ..... But over the next decade, researchers found that these drugs, and the newer psychoactive drugs that quickly followed, affected the levels of certain chemicals in the brain.

more yada yada yada ... Thus, instead of developing a drug to treat an abnormality, an abnormality was postulated to fit a drug.....That was a great leap in logic, as all three authors point out. It was entirely possible that drugs that affected neurotransmitter levels could relieve symptoms even if neurotransmitters had nothing to do with the illness in the first place (and even possible that they relieved symptoms through some other mode of action entirely). As Carlat puts it, “By this same logic one could argue that the cause of all pain conditions is a deficiency of opiates, since narcotic pain medications activate opiate receptors in the brain.” Or similarly, one could argue that fevers are caused by too little aspirin.

But the main problem with the theory is that after decades of trying to prove it, researchers have still come up empty-handed.
Psychiatrist and author Carl Jung would not subscribe to the biochemical imbalance theory were he alive today.

These forces did not originate in our patient out of nowhere. They are most emphatically not the result of poisoned brain cells, but are normal constituents of our unconscious psyche. They appeared in numberless dreams, in the same or a similar form, at a time of life when seemingly nothing was wrong. And they appear in dreams of normal people who never get anywhere near a psychosis. (1939)

1 comment:

  1. Rossa,

    As a person who has had much more interest on the political-side of psychiatry than on the scientific-side (because there is NO science behind psychiatry), I view this article by Marcia Angell, M.D. as a fatal blow to psychiatry.

    Psychiatry is dead.

    It has been dead, for quite some time.
    Unfotunately, the proclamation of its death is taking some time to circulate.

    Dr. Marcia Angell (whose vitae includes Harvard Medical School, Ethics; Editor-in-Chief, New England Journal of Medicine) proclaimed its death in her piece (with parts two and three forthcoming)... two additional nails in psychiatry's coffin.

    Why do I come to this conclusion?


    Here in Texas (along with a few other states that were once part of the Confederacy), we celebrate, "Juneteenth."

    What is "Juneteenth?"

    Juneteenth is a celebration of the enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation of (then) President, Abraham Lincoln.

    Lincoln devivered his "Emancipation Proclamation" on September 22, 1862. Slaves (at least in the in the southern states, the Confederacy) were proclaimed to be "free."
    The effective date for their freedom was set to be January 1, 1863.

    Unfortunately, it took quite some time for the word to spread throughout the south. It was not until June 18, 1865, that General Gordon Granger, along with 2,000 feds arrived in Galveston, Texas to "enforce" the emancipation.

    A speech was delivered by General Granger on June 19,1865. This "Juneteenth" proclamation took place 2 1/2 years following President Lincoln's address...

    Two and a half years later!

    Psychiatry is dead.

    It no longer has authority over anyone's life. Any patient, or former patient who has received a psychiatric label, undergone "treatment" (mis-treatment), and been forced to undergo any of the barbaric ways of psychiatry is now free.


    Conventional psychiatric methods (incarcerations, drugs, ECT, etc)do not work.
    They have NEVER worked.

    They are (in the legal sense) "insult to injury." -

    And now the profession is dead.

    It may take some years to get the word out, but in my opinion, Dr. Angell's article is a proclamation of its death, and a statement that nobody should be bound by its methods, forced to undergo its slavery.


    The message of Dr. Angell will resound throughout the world, and when "slaves" to the mistreatment of psychiatry get the message, the world will forever be changed.

    Too passionate?
    I don't think so.

    Duane Sherry, M.S.


I am no longer approving comments. All I ask is that you be respectful of others and refrain from using profanity.