7.0 What They Say:

“Untreated mental illnesses that grow out of a terrorist assault can be widespread and devastating. Treated, they are eminently curable.”

7.1 What They Don’t Say:

  • There is no scientific evidence proving that any mental disorder is “eminently curable,” largely because there are no known causes of it. In 1995, psychiatrist and former director of the National Institute of Mental Health, Dr. Rex Cowdry, admitted that as for mental illness, “We do not know the causes. We don't have methods of ‘curing’ these [mental] illnesses yet.”46 Indeed, in 1994, psychiatrist Norman Sartorius, president of the World Psychiatric Association (1996-1999), declared at a meeting of a congress of the Association of European Psychiatrists, “The time when psychiatrists considered that they could cure the mentally ill is gone. In the future the mentally ill have to learn to live with their illness.”47

  • Professor Yvonne McEwan, advisor to the U.S. government after the Oklahoma City bombing, said the booming profession [psychology] was at best useless and at worst highly destructive to victims seeking help: “Professional counseling is largely a waste of time and does more to boost the ego of the counselor than to help the victim….” “The rights of the victims are being sacrificed to keep counselors in jobs.”48

  • In 1996, a team of psychiatrists at Whitechurch hospital in Cardiff, Wales, who monitored the recoveries of 110 burn victims, found, “Victims who are made to talk about the pain and shock of their accidents are three times more likely to suffer long-term problems than those who receive no counseling.”49

  • A Boston study on the long-term effects of aviation crash survivors found that “The psychological well-being of airplane crash survivors compared to air travelers who have never been involved in any type of aviation accident or crash was much better on all the levels measured. The crash survivors scored lower…on emotional distress than the flyers who hadn’t been in an accident.” “...Among the survivors who did not want or need counseling immediately following the crash, many appeared to be the least troubled by the crash experience and reported the least amount of distress among the survivors.”50

  • An editorial in the October 2000, British Medical Journal noted several studies showing that Debriefing Psychology methods don’t help and, in fact, may harm. Justin Kenardy, an associate professor in clinical psychology, cited studies that questioned the validity and workability of psychological trauma counseling.51

    8.0 What They Say:

    “Medical science is in an era where we can accurately diagnose mental illnesses and treat those afflicted so that they can be productive.”52 Mental Health Parity should be broadened to include all disorders covered by the APA Diagnostic & Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-IV).

    8.1 What They Don’t Say:

  • Psychiatric “disorders” can neither be reliably, nor accurately diagnosed. On the contrary, evidence points to the fact that there isn’t any reliability in psychiatric or psychological diagnoses. This is because it subjectively gives opinions about symptoms—not diseases—and based on a checklist, denotes what mental disorder the person has.

  • Professor Stuart A. Kirk (who holds the Marjorie Crump Chair in the School of Public Policy and Social Research at UCLA, and has served as Dean of the School of Social Welfare at the State University of New York, Albany) and Herb Kutchins (Professor in the School of Health and Human Services at California State University) wrote “The Myth of the Reliability of DSM,” published in The Journal of Mind and Behavior in 1994. This cites study after study of there being no reliability in using the DSM for diagnosing mental illness. The authors state: “The reliability of psychiatric diagnosis as it has been practiced since at least the late 1950s is not good” and “...the latest versions of DSM [DSM-IV] as a clinical tool are unreliable and therefore of questionable validity as a classification system.”53

  • In their 1997 book, Making Us Crazy, Kirk and Kutchins provide a clear cut warning of having any legislation based on the reliability of DSM: “If DSM is unreliable, it cannot be used to distinguish mental disorders from other human problems. In practical terms, this means that many people will be diagnosed with the wrong disorder and that clinicians will frequently disagree about which one is correct. It means that some people who do not have any mental disorder (although they have other kinds of difficulties) will be inappropriately labeled as mentally ill and those who may have a mental disorder will not have it recognized. It means that reimbursement systems tied to diagnostic categories will be misused.”54

  • Tana Dineen, Canadian psychologist and author of Manufacturing Victims, says that adding up the total reported number of sufferers of 17 different disorders alone, “the number of Americans who are mentally ill reached 560,950,000—more than double the population of the country!”55

  • Robert J. Franciosi, Research Fellow of The Goldwater Institute says that “Advocates of mental health parity often cite contradictory statistics regarding the need for and cost of mental health parity….The Oklahoma Psychiatric Association claims that the average person faces a 22% to 33% chance of developing mental illness; that heart attack victims have an 18% chance of developing major depression; and that those hospitalized with a major medical illness have a 20% to 40% chance of being depressed.

  • The most common drugs prescribed in Oklahoma are for treating depression and anxiety. Yet at the same time, backers claim the cost of a mental health parity mandate is negligible. Robert J. Franciosi points out that statistics are as high as 48% of Americans “will suffer from a mental illness in their lifetime” but “many of the complaints found by the surveys are normal, temporary reactions to the ordinary stresses of living, and do not necessarily require treatment.”56

    9.0 What They Say:

    Psychiatric disorders are “brain disorders” which, “like heart disease and diabetes, are legitimate medical illnesses. Research shows there are genetic and biological causes for psychiatric disorders, and they can be effectively treated.” Therefore, equal insurance coverage should be given to mental health in the same way as it is given physical disease.

    9.1 What They Don’t Say:

  • There is no scientific proof that mental illness or disorder has genetic or biological causes. Psychiatrist Joseph Glenmullen, clinical instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, wrote in 2000: “We do not yet have proof either of the cause or the physiology for any psychiatric diagnosis. In every instance where such an imbalance was thought to have been found, it was later proven false.…No claim of a gene for a psychiatric condition has stood the test of time, in spite of popular misinformation.”57

  • Review any studies that purport there is a biological cause for mental disorder or “brain scans” that make it so, and you will find the words, “suggests,” “suspect,” “believe,” “may,” “could,” “think,” “probably,” “perhaps,” “argue” and every other conceivable verbal safety-valve possible. Theories perpetually stay theories; never move any closer to facts or laws. Prediction—a key expectation of a true science—is impossible. “Clinical intuition” is how Professor of Psychology at Boston University, Margaret Hagen, coins it.58 Furthermore, close scrutiny of the current brain scans being touted around to “prove” that mental illness is a “neurobiological brain disease,” and you will find that the studies fail to or insufficiently mention that the research subjects had been on psychiatric drugs, which do alter brain chemistry.

  • Even the World Health’s 2001 Mental Health Report refers to the biological and genetic causes in terms of “may” and “it is possible.”

  • The U.S. Surgeon General’s definitive report on mental health also admits that “No single gene has been found to be responsible for any specific mental disorder” and “It is sometimes difficult to determine when a set of symptoms rises to a level of a mental disorder.”59

  • As for the “brain imaging” that supposedly shows mental disorders are brain-diseases, Rodolfo Llinas, a neuroscientist at New York University, said of neuroimaging, “You find somebody who has a particular problem, and you see a red spot on the front of cortex and you say, ‘Okay, so that spot of the cortex is the site where you have bad thoughts.’ It’s absolutely incredible! The brain does not function as a single-area organ!” He compared this to phrenology, described by John Horgan in The Undiscovered Mind, as “the 18th century pseudoscience that divided the brain into discrete chunks dedicated to specific functions.” Llinas states, “You have a patient, and you put the patient into the instrument, and you write a paper, because you can just see it. It’s phrenology.”60

  • According to Horgan, “Neuroscientists have sought to find physiological correlates of schizophrenia and other disorders by probing the brains of the mentally ill with PET [Positron Emission Tomography that monitors, through x-ray photography short-lived radioactive isotopes of oxygen that have been injected into the blood] and other imaging technologies. So far these efforts have yielded frustratingly ambiguous results.”

  • One of these studies was hailed in 1990 by Lewis Judd, then the director of NIMH, as a “landmark” that provided “irrefutable evidence that schizophrenia is a brain disorder.” Unfortunately, the researchers could not establish whether the enlarged ventricles were a cause of an effect of schizophrenia—or of the drugs used to treat it. Follow-up studies also showed that many normal people have relatively large ventricles and many schizophrenics do not.61

  • Elliot S. Valenstein, Ph.D., author of Blaming the Brain, says that the arguments that a chemical imbalance is at the root of mental disorders “rests on shaky scientific foundation,” are “ideas” which are “simply an unproven hypothesis” and are “most likely wrong.”62 “The theories are held on to not only because there is nothing else to take their place, but also because they are useful in promoting drug treatment.”63

  • As Valenstein and others point out: “There are no tests available for assessing the chemical status of a living person’s brain. While there are some reports of finding evidence of an excess or deficiency in the activity of a particular neurotransmitter system in the brains of deceased mental patients, these claims are controversial, as other investigators cannot find any such relationship.”64 “Moreover, the brains of some ‘normals’—people with no history of mental disorder—may show signs of some excessive or deficient neurotransmitter activity.”65

  • New York psychiatrist Ron Leifer says, “There’s no biological imbalance. When people come to me and say, ‘I have a biochemical imbalance,’ I say, ‘Show me your lab tests.’ There are no lab tests. So what’s the biochemical imbalance?” 66

  • Margaret Hagen, Ph.D., psychologist and lecturer at Boston University writes, “…the APA’s [American Psychiatric Association] assumption of a biologically determined cause for every mental disorder in their nine-hundred-page diagnostic manual has led clinical practitioners in a stunning logical non sequitur to attribute all bad behavior to brain damage, and, indeed, to dismiss the whole idea of personal responsibility for behavior.”67

  • In 1996, psychiatrist David Kaiser wrote: “...modern psychiatry has yet to convincingly prove the genetic/biologic cause of any single mental illness....Patients [have] been diagnosed with 'chemical imbalances' despite the fact that no test exists to support such a claim, and...there is no real conception of what a correct chemical balance would look like.”68

  • Jeffrey A. Schaler, Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia warns that: “Legislators and the general public should not be hoodwinked....Behaviors cannot be diseases.”69

  • Mary Ann Block, author of No More ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) states: “Let me clear this up right now. ADHD is not like diabetes and [the stimulant used for it] is not like insulin. Diabetes is a real medical condition that can be objectively diagnosed. ADHD is an invented label with no objective, valid means of identification. Insulin is a natural hormone produced by the body and it is essential for life. [This stimulant] is a chemically derived amphetamine-like drug that is not necessary for life. Diabetes is an insulin deficiency. Attention and behavioral problems are not a [stimulant] deficiency.”70

    Next: Mental Health Parity Analysis continued

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