Psychiatry: A Malingerers Heaven

Psychiatry as a malingerers heaven is no myth. The reality of how modern medicine has turned psychiatry into a place for malingerers to flourish has become very evident.

M. Scott Peck in his book “The People of The Lie” describes malingering as a side effect of our modern approach to medicine and a blight on psychiatry as it encourages and supports the practice of lying for some gain.

According to Wikipedia “Malingering is the fabricating of symptoms of mental or physical disorders for a variety of reasons such as financial compensation (often tied to fraud); avoiding school, work or military service; obtaining drugs; or as a mitigating factor for sentencing in criminal cases. It is not a medical diagnosis. Malingering is typically conceptualized as being distinct from other forms of excessive illness behaviour such as somatization disorder and factitious disorder, e.g., in DSM-5 , although not all mental health professionals agree with this formulation”

Malingering then is the faking of a physical illness for some other gain. This phenomena was first observed, or defined, in battlefield conditions going back thousands of years where a soldier would invent an illness to keep himself from being exposed to imagined or actual death. It is a defence reaction of the mind brought about by the desire to avoid some consequence or situation where a fear would have to be faced.

As opposed to a psycho-somatic condition involving a Conversion Reaction where a person’s unconscious mind creates physical symptoms as a result of a reaction to some traumatic event that the person is unwilling to face, or the mind is unable to deal with. These symptoms are very real. A person will actually go blind or paralysed without the actual physical injury to cause such a condition. Many soldiers were regarded as malingerers in the 1st World War when they developed symptoms that could not be explained through physical injury. It has since been recognised that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can manifest with very real physical symptoms.

This ability to create or dissolve physical symptoms is proven by the Placebo Effect which has been proven scientifically as being a very real ability within people to the point where science allows for the effect and discounts it as a distortion within statistical data. However, the Placebo Effect proves the mind’s ability to control physical states of existence.

Thomas Szasz in his book “Psychiatry: The Science of Lies” explores the idea that most people seeking help for physical illnesses are doing so out of some other psychological reason and are in fact malingering. He goes to the extent of saying that many people seeking help for mental health problems are doing so out of a desire for some other secondary gain not revealed to the treating physician.

The Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM) defines a condition known as Factitious Disorder as being ” the intentional production or feigning of physical or psychological symptoms with the motivation to assume the sick role, in the absence of external incentives (e.g., economic gain) for the behavior. There may be fabrication of subjective complaints, falsification of objective signs, self-inflicted conditions, and/or exaggeration or exacerbation of an actual medical condition. ”

The person may or may not be aware consciously of the intent to deceive as the motivating beliefs or thought patterns may be hidden in the sub-conscious mind. In its chronic form it is referred to as Munchausen Syndrome.

Many health professionals are either ignorant of this condition, are unwilling to cast doubt on reported symptoms or continue to encourage patients in reporting these symptoms for financial gain. Or, it could be that allowing the ‘sick’ person to act out their role is complimented by the ‘healer’ role. This allows people who are seeking ‘health care’, ‘attention’ or drug prescriptions to continue to return for bulk-billed consultations paid for by the government.

In other words, both the ‘sick’ person and the ‘healer’ are perpetrating a fraudulent claim for monetary gain from the government and justify their actions with a bogus science based on a myth.

At other times, it is used by mental health professionals to refuse treatment to people who have obvious and, at times, severe mental health problems. It appears to be a decision based on economics and personal belief rather than an objective examination of presenting facts. This confirms the psychiatry’s status as a bogus science.

As Thomas Szasz tells it, the medicalisation of bogus symptoms began with the widespread acceptance of Freud’s system of psychoanalysis as a science when it is nothing more than a belief system based on base rhetoric. It has less validity in the field of science than Astrology. The general population has fully embraced this bogus science because it validates their tendancy towards malingering.

The end result is that Emergency department waiting rooms are full of people with minor ailments that could be treated with first aid techniques, homeless people looking for a warm place to sleep on cold nights and people with addictions to illicit substances looking to make a ‘score’. The remainder are made up of people with genuine injuries requiring emergency treatment.

Acute psychiatric inpatient treatment facilities and emergency service first responders’ time and manpower is taken up with responding to people with imagined or feigned symptoms trying to manipulate the system for their own gain. Whether these symptoms are deliberately falsified or sub-consciously created through some underlying dis-ease process of the mind, the amount of resources dedicated to responding to their perceived ‘need’ is huge.

The people being neglected through this massive drain on resources are the people with serious mental health dis-ease conditions who are in spiritual crisis. The malingerers are using up valuable resources that should be channelled towards the people in real need. These people are often assessed with chronic conditions that don’t respond to pharmacological treatment and discharged to live with their ‘illness’. These people are usually viewed as being not worth spending time on.

Not only does the treatment system fail them in trying to treat a disorder of the mind with physical methods and then deems them unworthy of trying something different. Continuing to hold the position that a disorder of thought is caused by a chemical imbalance or genetic flaw rather than the more logical cause as being a mistaken belief or erroneous thinking pattern resulting in abnormalities in behaviour and function.

It seems that the malingerer fits more easily into the medical model as they too are looking for an answer that would absolve them of their responsibility for their own health. And so, creates the malingerers heaven that is our current general and mental health systems.

I’ll leave the last word to DJ Jaffe:

Myth of Mental Illness

The Myth of Mental Illness

“If you talk to God, you are praying; If God talks to you, you have schizophrenia. If the dead talk to you, you are a spiritualist; If you talk to the dead, you are a schizophrenic.” – Thomas Szasz, ‘The Second Sin: Schizophrenia’ (1973)

This quote from Thomas Szasz, a leading psychiatrist and outspoken critic of coercive psychiatry, and summarises society’s attitude towards people with an alleged mental illness.

He went further in his book ‘The Myth of Mental Illness‘, saying that mental illness was created as we moved out of ‘The Age of Faith’ into ‘The Age of Reason (Madness)’ with the rise in power of science as an influence on social thinking.

His work is “based on the principles that each person has the right to bodily and mental self-ownership and the right to be free from violence from others”.

It is beyond the scope of this post to provide enough evidence of the fact that ‘Mental Illness’ is a myth created by society to keep certain members of our society under control. All I can do is provide you with some information to think about and pointers on where to find more information! People under the ‘care’ of our psychiatric services deserve better assistance, not further abuse.

As we have moved out of The Age of Faith, we can no longer torture and burn witches and heretics. In The Age of Reason, we assess them as being deviant and requiring treatment to make them ‘normal’. They are incarcerated in ‘Treatment Facilities’ and given ‘psychotropic drugs’ to stop them from thinking. We label them as ‘Insane’ and strip them of dignity.

Our current model of treatment and care

Psychiatry is a sub-branch of Allopathic Medicine and, as such, is based on the belief that disorders and malfunctions of the human body are caused by a disorder, or imbalance, of the chemistry of the physical form. With this belief structure, psychiatry believes that a person’s thoughts and behaviour are determined by a person’s inner chemistry. In effect this removes responsibility of the person for their behaviour as they have no control over their chemistry and are a victim of the circumstances of heredity. Their DNA inherited from their family determines how they will think, behave and act.

The Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM) produced by the American Psychiatric Association, is the ‘Bible’ used by all psychiatric services in the Western World to diagnose and treat ‘Mental Illness’. The DSM is currently in its fifth edition. It started as a guide to physicians when in 1840 a condition was identified and named by southern alienists as ‘Drapetomania’, an inexplicable, mad longing of a slave for freedom. This ‘malady’ has since been recognised as a false diagnosis and removed. By the 1880’s, seven conditions were added including; Mania, Melancholia, Monomania, Paresis, Dementia, Dipsomania and Epilepsy. By 2000, the DSM-IV-TR has 365 conditions recognised as ‘Mental Illnesses’.

The DSM is “a medical classification of disorders”. It defines a mental disorder as; “a syndrome characterized by clinically significant disturbance in an individual’s cognition, emotion regulation, or behavior that reflects a dysfunction in the psychological, biological, or developmental processes underlying mental functioning. Mental disorders are usually associated with significant distress or disability in social, occupational, or other important activities. An expectable or culturally approved response to a common stressor or loss, such as the death of a loved one, is not a mental disorder. Socially deviant behavior (e.g., political, religious, or sexual) and conflicts that are primarily between the individual and society are not mental disorders unless the deviance or conflict results from a dysfunction in the individual, as described above” DSM-V pg-61.

The DSM also determines that these disorders have a classification of disease or illness. This puts these disorders into the realm of having a biological cause. It is believed that imbalances of neuro-transmitters within the brain cause aberrant thoughts and behaviour. It places these conditions into different ‘Axis’.

The main effect that determining ‘mental illness’ has a biological cause and can be treated with pharmacology is that it is no longer a mental illness. When a condition has a physical cause within the brain, it is a Neurological condition and, therefore, falls outside the realm of Psychiatry. A blood test should be able to predict the likelihood of developing the condition and surgery or medication should provide relief, if not, a cure.

So, what is a Mental Illness?

By definition, a mental illness is a condition of the mind that is unhealthy or in a state of disease. It is easy to determine a physical illness because our body ceases to function in a correct way and we experience some loss of function with pain or discomfort as a result. Certain physical markers are able to be detected using blood tests indicating the malfunction.

Does the same definition apply to the mind? When our mind ceases to function in a correct way and we experience some loss of function with pain and discomfort as a result. I would say, “Yes, except there are no blood tests to determine if someone has a mental illness.” If you search online, you will find many ‘promising’ research studies dating back to the 1970’s all with the tag ‘may have found possible links’. But with all of science’s might it has not, and probably will not, be successful in finding a blood test for mental illness.

As to the cause of the malfunction within the mind, I differ markedly from the scientific view. Science would have us believe that errant thinking and behaviour is caused by a genetic predisposition and imbalances of bodily chemistry combined with certain stress factors. For instance, it is believed that Depression is an inherited fault within certain families which causes the levels of serotonin, noradrenaline and dopamine to be out of balance. By giving certain medications these levels can be regulated and symptoms relieved. Once the symptoms are controlled, further work can be done to correct errant thought patterns and better stress management techniques.

While this is good in theory, the application of this process is sometimes deficient. Particularly in the public health system. Often, because it is too costly to provide the ongoing support and treatment, there is too great a reliance placed on pharmacology providing a ‘miracle cure’.

For an explanation of the history of the treatment of depression with drugs like ‘Prozac’, have a look at this article.

In my view, the cause of the imbalance of neurotransmitters is the errant thinking or inner belief that leads to aberrant behaviour. As our minds are the creators of our reality, our minds create the changes in brain chemistry as a result. By giving psychotropic medication we can only ever give symptomatic relief because we haven’t changed the underlying thought, belief or value that the person is acting on. This is the mind-spirit connection that controls the physical form.

A mental illness then is not a physical illness but a disorder of the mind and the spirit.

A Spiritual Crisis

There is no blood test for someone going through a Spiritual Crisis. It is by its very nature an individual experience. No two people experience the same thing.

As an example, I was working in an Acute Admissions Ward within a Psychiatric Hospital as a Psychiatric Nurse. During the evening, it became time to dispense the evening medications. The nurse assisting me and I had been discussing some issues around the efficacy of psychiatry and personal experiences. We came to a patient who had been admitted for treatment for a psychotic condition where he believed aliens were talking to him telling him to do all sorts of bad things. The medication caused him to feel numb and he didn’t care so much about the voices (his report of the effects of the medication).

The nurse and I continued our rounds and our discussion shifted to things spiritual. She began telling me that she heard the voices of ‘Angels’ that guided her through her daily activities. Her face visibly brightened when she spoke of her experiences and she found it joyful.

The difference between the two people’s experiences started me thinking. How is it that two people can have ‘auditory hallucinations’, one positive and the other negative? What is the difference? I concluded that the main difference is how the ‘hallucinations’ were perceived and interpreted. As well as the effect they had on the people’s lives. One helped her to function more successfully, the other meant he lost his job and was homeless. Each person had experienced something, perceived it as being of a certain value and created an explanation as to how and why it happened. Each described a period of great turmoil in their lives when their ‘voices’ first appeared, but each dealt with it differently.

Each person experienced ‘psychotic episodes’, because we all know that aliens and angels don’t exist, right!

In their perception of reality, they do. Who are we to say that they did not, or do not, hear what they say they hear? The fact is that they hear voices telling them things. We call it an hallucination because we don’t hear them. It doesn’t mean they aren’t real.

Is the ability to hear or see things other people can’t a sign of mental illness? Obviously their reality is very different to ours. That does not necessarily make them ill or suffering from a disease. My nursing colleague was euphoric from her experiences and obviously benefited from it.

If we accept that these perceptions are real, then it comes down to how they are interpreted to explain the difference in experience.

In my post on Higher Sense Perception, I used an analogy of a computer representing our brain. A computer has a hard drive that records and stores information much like our physical brain. On the hard drive is stored an operating system and software that controls how the computer functions. Our mind (software) and spirit (operating system) pick up information from the brain (hard disk) and the environment via our physical body (the Human Interface Device; keyboard, touchpad) and acts upon it.

If you are running software that is capable of hearing or seeing inter-dimensionally, is it operating effectively when you hear ‘voices’ or see things that ‘aren’t there’. Or, is it malfunctioning?

Even if the computer is bringing back wrong information due to broken code in the operating system (spirit) or software (mind), why try to fix the hard drive (brain) when it is simply the recorder of information? If the code is broken, fix the code. Oh yes! That takes time and effort. Lets just press the reset button or better yet, install a new operating system and update the software. No need to fix the hard drive unless it is physically damaged!

Our current system for treating ‘mental illness’ is trying to fix a brain that is not broken. When a system of treatment is based on a ‘lie’ and treatment decisions are based on that ‘lie’, an act of violence is the result.

A New Operating System

Anyone who has installed a new Operating System on their computer knows how difficult and time-consuming that can be. When it comes to changing your spiritual operating system, and related mind software, it can take years or decades. But with the right guidance and assistance, it is possible.

Particularly in the public health system, we need a new way of treating people in mental and spiritual crisis that does not use systematic coercive violence to help them regain control over their lives. This shift can only happen when we truly respect our fellow travellers and use methods that do not de-humanise and degrade.

We need to be helping people in mental and spiritual crisis not treating them as a set of symptoms or as if diseased!

Urban myths and legends

urban myths

According to Wikipedia, an urban legend ‘is a form of modern folklore usually consisting of fictional stories, often with macabre elements, deeply rooted in local popular culture. These legends can be used for entertainment purposes, as well as semi-serious explanations for random events such as disappearances and strange objects.’

While these stories are entertaining, they usually do not have the key elements of the traditional myth or are about a legendary character. They also do not have the benefit of inner moral value or lessons needed to assist the philosopher (lover of wisdom) in their quest for truth.

They usually focus on a hapless victim of a specific, or vague, threat and is used to create fear or trepidation in the audience.

Urban myths also have a secondary effect, whether by design (if you believe conspiracy theorists) or not. They devalue the words ‘myth’ and ‘legend’.

The stories in Australia of ‘drop bears’ is used by locals to create fear in the minds of gullible tourist that koalas fall from the trees with the intent of attacking foreigners. Or, the tales of ‘yowies’ that live near watering holes and creeks, that take small children and animals and devours them. Along with the stories of ‘blowflies’ that can carry off sheep, white-pointer sharks in the oceans, and kangaroos hopping down the main streets of Sydney and Melbourne.

The effect in the minds of the general public is that a myth or legend is, therefore, based on erroneous information and is false.mythbusters

The television show ‘Mythbusters’ is usually about ‘busting’, or exposing the truth about the myth. They are very effective in using a scientific approach to testing the validity of the science behind the myth.

However, using a scientific method to examine a myth goes against what a myth is supposed to be. A myth does not contain historically accurate information. It is the hidden truth or wisdom contained within the myth that must be understood and brings with it a spiritual truth.

The traditional myth about a legendary character is so much more than a tale to entertain or frighten.

Hello world!

Welcome to Dragon’s Web.

I have long held the view that what the world needs is to reconnect with the myths and legends of our respective cultures.

For too long we have shifted to a reliance on ‘scientific thought’ and the desire to prove with facts that an event happened or that a person actually existed in order to give the story some validity.

We seem to have forgotten that the validity of the story comes from the message hidden within the tale. Whether the events or people actually existed is irrelevant to the message!

This is why movies and TV shows depicting the struggles between heroes and villains are so popular. They have replaced the stories found in books where your imagination could create the realms of ‘Middle Earth’ or of ‘Hogworts School of Wizardry’ far better than the artists working in the magical realm of movie magic. They just can’t compete with your imagination.sleeping dragon

A healthy imagination is so necessary for our mental and spiritual health!