While the United States unfortunately leads the world in labeling its children with mental ‘disorders’ which cannot be scientifically proven to exist as medical conditions, Australia seems determined to take over the [dishonorable] title. And they just might do it. For poised to carry them into the winners circle is none other than psychiatrist and former “Australian of the Year” Patrick McGorry. The scam is called “pre-psychosis risk syndrome” which simply translates as this: Despite the fact there is not one proven scientific or medical test to prove any child has a mental “disorder,” Patrick McGorry maintains he can determine who will develop one. That’s right. He can determine who will develop a mental disorder before they develop a mental disorder that cannot be medically proven to exist. If that sounds a little crazy to you, rest assured, you’re not alone. In fact, the logic is so backwards that McGorry’s plan has come under fire from U.S. psychiatrist Allen Frances, who chaired the committee that produced the psychiatric diagnostic bible of “mental disorders” used the world over, ‘The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) IV. That is called being attacked from altitude. And from your own profession nonetheless.
PATRICK McGorry’s model of early diagnosis of psychosis, favoured by the federal government and the Coalition in their mental-health policies, has come under attack from a leading US psychiatrist, who warns that predicting psychosis is unreliable and could lead to patients being wrongly medicated.
Allen Frances, who chaired the committee that produced the current diagnostic bible for psychiatry, the DSM-IV, has warned that Professor McGorry’s Early Psychosis Intervention Centres do not have a reliable early diagnosis tool.
Professor Frances, an emeritus professor at Duke University in North Carolina, fears early diagnosis could lead to people without psychosis being put on medications that have serious side-effects, including massive weight gain.
He has also attacked the Gillard government’s plans to spend $222 million expanding Professor McGorry’s EPIC program by another 16 centres as a “vast untried public-health experiment”.
While sipping drinks from coconut shells, psychiatrists from around the world recently met in Honolulu to discuss more ways to capitalize on human behavior and promote drug dependency. The occasion was the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), held in a Hawaiian convention center lined with mental disorder displays and pharmaceutical booths.
As the DSM-V looms closer to becoming a reality, I can’t help but think of words from the man who chaired the committee for the DSM-IV. Allen Frances, M.D., wrote in the in the LA Times:
As chairman of the task force that created the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), which came out in 1994, I learned from painful experience how small changes in the definition of mental disorders can create huge, unintended consequences.
Our panel tried hard to be conservative and careful but inadvertently contributed to three false ‘epidemics’ – attention deficit disorder, autism and childhood bipolar disorder. Clearly, our net was cast too wide and captured many ‘patients’ who might have been far better off never entering the mental health system.
In writing this post, I may be crashing the American Psychological Association’s annual blog party. Naturally, I’m in favor of joining others to increase awareness and reduce stigma around psychiatric problems. But despite the spirit of solidarity, I’m perhaps an outsider, because I no longer believe ‘mental illness’ serves as a helpful concept.
…instead of decisively helpful treatments, the mental health system strung me along with decades of therapy and thousands of little pills, none of which improved my mood or outlook very much. It seems to me that if psychiatric diagnoses were truly valuable, they would guide clinicians to life-changing therapeutic choices. But how often do people diagnosed with ‘major mental illness’ leave the Psychiatry Department with an effective cure?