Posted by med_empowered on February 22, 2005, at 19:46:41
In reply to Re: Drug models of schizophrenia, posted by linkadge on February 22, 2005, at 19:24:42
I don't know what the motives of those constantly searching for the biological basis of schizophrenia are. Really, for me its a non-issue. In scientific endeavors, even in sociology, which is my future field, all research is subject to review...a harsh, scathing, rip-it-apart review. This isn't done to be mean or destroy data, its done for the good of the whole pursuit...it helps move closer towards understanding. The biological basis of schizophrenia or any other mental illness isn't proven, yet we are told that "it must be biological"...this ignores other perspectives that could yield some insight. Take the Soteria Project, which in the 70's provided a non-drug environment in which people with schizophrenia could come to live and connect with a few other people with schizophrenia, and a mostly non-professional staff. The results were great, and the data is solid (it was started by Loren Mosher, who was the first head of NIMH), and some European countries are using the concept now, and there may be an Alaskan Soteria House soon. But...no one pursues it here. THe biological perspective is the "accepted" understanding of schizophrenia and mental illness. When we ignore other perspectives in something as serious as schizophrenia, and ignore the shortcomings of available data, we do science and the mentally ill, and society as a whole a great dis-service. I personally think along more or less the same lines as Thomas Szasz, who concluded that a diagnosis of any mental illness is really a "moral judgement". Maybe calling someone who is acting and thinking oddly "schizophrenic" is a relatively humane option, but are there others? Could we spend some of the money we spend on forced treatment on, say, helping the poor and minorities? (the poor and minorities are overrepresented in the schizophrenic group, and have been since the disease was "discovered"). Could we try some non-biological therapies, and see how that goes? I'm not saying we won't one day find that schizophrenia has some of its roots in biology, but I AM saying that the current "broken-brain" orthodoxy is seriously damaging to any kind of inquiry that seeks an alternative way to help individuals. I'm also afraid that telling troubled people that they are "sick" excuses society. Yes, mental illness responds to treatments that address the brain, but does this mean that ignoring possible social factors is good science, or even ethical? Isn't it concerning, also, that people who display abnormal behaviors are cast off as suffering from "a brain disease"? It lets everyone ignore them and what they're going through, and it denies us all an oppurtunity to learn.