Thursday, December 29, 2005

Refuting the Witch Doctors of Psychiatry

It is sometimes argued that psychiatric drugs "curing" (stopping) the thinking, emotions, or behavior that is called mental illness proves the existence of biological causes of mental illness. 

This argument is easily refuted: Suppose someone was playing the piano and you didn't like him doing that.  Suppose you forced or persuaded him to take a drug that disabled him so severely that he couldn't play the piano anymore.  Would this prove his piano playing was caused by a biological abnormality that was cured by the drug?  As senseless as this argument is, it is often made. 

Most if not all psychiatric drugs are neurotoxic, producing a greater or lesser degree of generalized neurological disability.  So they do stop disliked behavior and may mentally disable a person enough he can no longer feel angry or unhappy or "depressed".  But calling this a "cure" is absurd. 

Extrapolating from this that the drug must have cured an underlying biological abnormality that was causing the disliked emotions or behavior is equally absurd.
Lawrence Stevens, J.D.