Mental Health Documentaries
13th Feb 2011Posted in: Blog 0
Mental Health Documentaries
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The Emasculating Truth Global consciousness is really buzzing right now. It is stimulated by the internet like an individual in the midst of an enormous thought. This documentary is an indication of what i have just said. It is a remise en question of the nature of masculinity. Human consciousness is waking up. There is no doubt about that. Nietzsche, Socrates, Einstein would have been proud to see how we are now beginning to question ourselves. he Marketing of Madness The Problem with this doc is that it is leaning too heavily against psychiatry. It make the argument that psychiatry as a knowledge field is compromised by a conflict of interest due to the fact that it is too closely allied with Big Pharmaceuticals. If the arguments they make are true, then i am really quite disgusted with the pharmaceutical industry as a whole, from the producers to the legislators to the prescribers and so forth. If it is true that psychiatrists responsible for the definition of mental disorders in the DSM (diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders) are on the payroll of pharmaceutical companies, as has historically been shown to be the case in this documentary, then i do not see how i can have any faith either in psychiatry of pharmacology. Where the documentary goes too far is in suggesting that there is no reasonable basis for the existence of mental disorders. Though there is relatively little hard scientific evidence for the biological basis of mental disorders, it can not be said that there is little intersubjective validity to the claims that there are certain "observable" mental disorders which bare common features.  The intersubjective validity stems from people complaining about being unhappy on one end and psychiatrists compiling lists of symptoms which correspond to those various forms of unhappiness. It takes two to come up with the definition of a mental ailment: a psychiatrist and a patient. Of course social and moral themes in the narrative of the time also contribute to the creation and definition of mental illness. So while there is little hard science to attest to the existence of mental illness, the current definitions of mental illness still hold some value because they do encapsulate the anecdotal evidence brought in by hundreds of millions of patient- individuals. This documentary is suggesting that the pill is made first in a laboratory and that the mental illness is defined afterwards. It's pretty scary to look at things that way, but given that money rules the world, i have to admit that i'm intrigued by the suggestion. Where the documentary gets even more scary for me is in suggesting that pharmaceutical companies, through the intermediary of psychiatry intend to go into the prevention business. They could actually corner that mental health market as well. When I in fact, happen to know that prevention has more to do with how we live our lives than with what pills we are taking. If pharma wants to prescribe something for a condition we already have then i am willing to discuss it. If pharma wants to sell us something to prevent us from feeling, realizing, experiencing, knowing, sensing, intuiting, thinking an unpleasant emotion then I say: "do not move one step further! Step back! You are moving into the territory of the soul and you are forbidden from going there. The soul is where depression has meaning and anxiety is but an awakening to reality. The soul is where science can not easily go. It is the home of the master, the origin of the scientific mind. But science will go there. It will go everywhere eventually. It will leave nothing unexamined. So fine, science can and perhaps should examine the nature of the soul, as it currently does through an examination of consciousness in MRI's. But business is barred from that realm.  Ah, what am i talking about? Illicit drugs are in the top 10 items in terms of economic weight. Business is already altering normal consciousness. Advertising is manipulating it too. Anyway, what disturbs me is that pills will be prescribed to keep us from getting depressed or anxious or from ever having intermittent explosive anger disorder. Maybe those things tell us something about who we are collectively and individually. Though it is  every patient must walk into a clinic and complain about unhappiness to get drug so I guess, only the people who really need them are getting them. Still, it seems like an awful lot more of us are asking for them. As we progress, the definitions of mental illness in the DSM move with us. I guess there is no helping that.  Maybe progress is killing us. The documentary makes the a good if true argument that the definitions of mental disorders are actually arrived at through an intersubjective method. In other words, the definitions are voted on by top level psychiatrists within the American Psychiatric Association. Voting is not typically science but it is an good intersubjective method in my view. In conclusion, this documentary seems slightly biased in favour of an all or nothing, anti-psychiatry view. The more balanced view is to suggest that psychiatry may in fact be compromised as a knowledge field due to conflicts of interest in its relationship to big pharma, yet there is still much valid and useful information within the knowledge field of psychiatry. It's methods of classification of mental illnesses, even though somewhat lacking in hard scientific basis are based on an analysis of a huge amount of observational data.

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