Psycho-Babble Medication | about biological treatments | Framed
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Re: Meds, therapy & ever-present depression

Posted by Elizabeth on March 17, 1999, at 18:29:30

In reply to Re: Meds, therapy & ever-present depression , posted by Torrey on March 15, 1999, at 18:36:08


The "medical model" that you describe is not what biological psychiatry is about at all! Biological psychiatrists understand that the "mind" and the "brain" are really one entity, that experience affects biology which then affects behavior and emotion which affect experience. We are all working on the same problem; the biological psychiatrists focus on understanding it at the level of the neuron, while various schools of psychology try to explain it in terms of the whole organism. (My professor in my sleep class feels our goal should be eventually to understand enough of the isomorphism between our internal experiences and the accompanying neurological processes that we can construct a truly scientific psychodynamic psychology.)

I think that a lot of *patients* like to ascribe to the medical model. (You've heard of pop psychology, right? Now there's "pop psychopharmacology.") I know that I have often had the experience of feeling "blamed" for my illness, like being depressed, say, isn't a good enough reason for my level of impairment (and I should just "snap out of it"). If psych patients can convince the rest of the world that they have an incurable disease that they have absolutely no control over, then they feel they might be exempt from such blame. They even take positions that some psychiatric disorders are "organic" or "endogenous" while some are "psychological" or "neurotic" - so for example, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia is a "disease" to them, but alcoholism or borderline personality is a character flaw.

I don't think any of this - the cheap and simplistic medical model, blaming us for our conditions, blaming some of us but not others - is helpful to what ought to be our cause, namely, contributing to a better understanding of what *really* causes our problems (and how they can be fixed) - not what we would *like* the causes to be based on our social or political interests. Call me old-fashioned, it just seems dishonest to convince oneself of something without understanding what it means ("chemical imbalance?" does that mean *anything*?) or having any idea why it should be true.

The reason I take meds is because they work. Therapies have only been shown to work to a limited sense - mainly CBT, which I've tried and which wasn't effective. Sure, I'm in therapy (psychodynamic), but I don't rely on it alone because I don't really know whether it ought to work.

Oh well, this should spark some flames. :-) I'm not talking about any particular individual (well, not one on this forum, anyway!) so nobody take this too personally, please.





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