DoubleThink Disorder — a new pathology

An update is appar­ently due of the 1994 edi­tion of the “Dia­gnostic and Stat­ist­ical Manual of Men­tal Dis­orders”, the psy­chi­at­rists’ bible that allows them to tick-box their patients into a dis­order, and then, no doubt, pre­scribe Big Pharma industry drugs or an expens­ive form of ther­apy.  Any­one who has ever watched Adam Curtis’s excel­lent “Cen­tury of Self” will be aware of the patho­lo­gising of soci­ety to the bene­fit of the psy­chi­at­ric pro­fes­sions and far beyond.

I am not mak­ing light of ser­i­ous men­tal ill­nesses requir­ing spe­cial­ised and long term treat­ment such as bipolar, schizo­phrenia or chronic depres­sion.  These are crip­pling and soul-destroying con­di­tions and many fam­il­ies, includ­ing my own, have been touched by them.

RitalinBut I am con­cerned by the appalling Pharma-creep that has been going on over the last few dec­ades where, for example, increas­ing num­bers of chil­dren are labeled with ADHD and ladled full of Ritalin (which can also lead to a thriv­ing black mar­ket in the onward sale of said drug). And we are appar­ently about to see ever more divar­ic­at­ing dis­orders added to the shrinks’ bible.  

Kevin_and_PerryAs this recent art­icle in The Inde­pend­ent states, stroppy teens will now have “oppos­i­tional defi­ance dis­order”, and adults who think of sex more than every 20 minutes are suf­fer­ing from “hyper­sexual dis­order”. (How on earth will this be dia­gnosed — will poten­tial suf­fer­ers have to keep a thought crime diary as they go about their daily lives? Man­age­ment meet­ings could be so much more divert­ing as people break off to write an update every so often — although they might have to pre­tend they’re play­ing buzzword bingo.)   And those suf­fer­ing from shy­ness or loneli­ness will suf­fer from “dys­thy­mia”.  Well, as a clas­si­cist, I’m glad to see that ancient Greek still has a role to play in today’s lexicon.

I know that such beha­vi­oural traits can be debil­it­at­ing, but to patho­lo­gise them seems rather extreme — enough to give a per­son a complex.….

Ivory_tower2On another some­what facetious note I was intrigued to see this doing the inter­net rounds recently.  It appeared to sug­gest that hav­ing a robust dis­trust of your gov­ern­ment was also about to be patho­lo­gised as Anti-Government Pho­bia, which I pre­sume would mean that vast swathes of the world’s pop­u­la­tion were men­tally ill.  How­ever, I think the clue to the legit­im­acy of the piece was in the name of the sup­posed author: Ivor E. Tower MD.….

How­ever, back to the point of this art­icle. This was the para­graph in the Indie report that really got my goat:

“More wor­ry­ing, accord­ing to some experts, are attempts to redefine crimes as ill­nesses, such as “para­ph­ilic coer­cive dis­order”, applied to men engaged in sexual rela­tion­ships involving the use of force. They are more com­monly known as rapists.”

So it appears that crime will now be explained away as a disorder.  

LEAP_logoBut, but, but.… the key point LEAP­ing out at me, if you’ll for­give the clumsy link, is that this seems to be in dir­ect, sharp con­trast to how we deal with an immense and ongo­ing prob­lem in the world today: namely the 50 year old failed “war on drugs”.  In this phoney war mil­lions of people across the world have been, and against all expert advice, con­tinue to be treated as crim­in­als rather than as patients.

Rather than rehash (sorry) all the well-known art­icles about why this war is such a fail­ure on every con­ceiv­able front, let me just make three key points: pro­hib­i­tion will always fail (as this clas­sic “Yes Min­is­ter” scene depicts), and the reg­u­la­tion and tax­a­tion of recre­ational drugs (in the same way as alco­hol and tobacco) would be good for soci­ety and for the eco­nomy; it would decap­it­ate organ­ised crime and, in some cases, the fund­ing of ter­ror­ism; and, most per­tin­ently for the pur­poses of this art­icle, it would make the use and pos­sible abuse of recre­ational drugs a health issue rather than a crim­inal matter.

Many people at some point in their lives exper­i­ment with drugs such as dope, E, coke, or whatever and have fun doing so, just as many like to have a drink to unwind after work.  A small per­cent­age will go on to develop med­ical problems.  

That is the crux of the argu­ment here. Excess­ive abuse of drugs, both licit and illi­cit, is mani­festly a health issue and yet some people are crim­in­al­ised.  Com­pare and con­trast the pro­posed new shrinks’ bible, where what were formerly deemed to be crimes will now be seen as med­ical disorders.

Tony_BlairI would call this rank hypo­crisy, but per­haps the shrinks can come up with a more high-brow name?  I pro­pose Soci­etal Double­Think Disorder.  

The Bankers’ Bonus being that it would con­veni­ently (psycho)pathologise all our “peace-speaking” war-mongering politi­cians, “free mar­ket” mono­pol­istic big busi­nesses, and “pub­licly owned but private profit” banks.

Praise the Gov­ern­ment and pass the Ritalin.…

Senior UK psychiatrist struck off for abusive relationship

Ex-Dr Steven Lomax was last month sum­mar­ily struck off from the UK register of doc­tors by the Gen­eral Med­ical Coun­cil in London.

In this excep­tional hear­ing, the GMC ruled that the former senior psy­chi­at­rist, who used to work as the Dir­ector of the Castel Hos­pital in Guernsey:

  • had an inap­pro­pri­ate emo­tional and sexual rela­tion­ship with his patient, Michele Mauger;
  • had appar­ently des­troyed her med­ical records;
  • had brought the med­ical pro­fes­sion into disrepute.

Michele_and_Lomax

How do I know all this?  The vic­tim of this egre­gious abuse, Michele Mauger, is my mother.

The GMC made an excep­tion to hear this case in the light of the sever­ity of the abuse and the over­whelm­ing prima facie evid­ence of  Lomax’s guilt.  Cases older than 5 years are usu­ally not invest­ig­ated.  Michele’s abuse began over 23 years ago.

In a resound­ing con­dem­na­tion, the GMC stated that he had “blatantly trans­gressed” the bound­ar­ies gov­ern­ing the doctor/patient rela­tion­ship and that he had caused “irre­par­able dam­age both to the patient and her family”.

There has been some cov­er­age in the media.  Per­haps the most accur­ate reflec­tion of what happened can be found in the  Guern­sey Press: Down­load Guernsey_Press_front_page, Down­load Guernsey_Press_Interview

The gov­ern­ing body of the Guern­sey hos­pit­als, the Board of Health, would also appear to have some ser­i­ous ques­tions to answer.

Michele recently did an excel­lent inter­view on BBC Radio4: Woman’s Hour, that encap­su­lated the core issues around this type of pro­fes­sional abuse. The inter­view is at the begin­ning of the show — listen here.