Saturday, May 19, 2012

sick people need more than drugs

Today, my writings are inspired by a rant.  :-)  Sidereal's post about modern psychiatry comes from the point of view of one whose education, experience and intelligent observation make her uniquely qualified to comment on the subject.  I'm an outsider whose introductory-level learning has only made me an interested witness ... but that doesn't keep ME from having an opinion on the subject.  Anyone who knows me would expect nothing less!

The "mental-health business" has always been a misogynist.  He's a self-centered, uppity jerk who (because he knows he's a quack and not a scientist), builds his sense of self-worth through acts of power over anyone he can dominate:  children, the sick, the weak, and -- even in the 21st century -- women.  (The history of "civilization" is full of men treating women as badly as they can get away with, pardon the grammar.  Look up the background of the word "hysteria" for more....)

The medical business, too, thinks meanly of us and our problems.  Built into its philosophy is a very materialistic point of view -- something VERY tangible is behind an imperfectly-operating human machine -- and if they can't get a handle on what that is (bacteria, poisons, viruses, excessive or non-existant hormones, a piece of metal imbedded in a tissue), they're completely lost.  Subtlety is out of the question for most doctors, and a woman's malaise is frequently of subtle origin.

Since the fall of Rome, the slow rise in importance of drugs in health-care, from the herbs of the wise woman to the monopoly of Big Pharma's influence on what is studied, and what information is dispersed, and what teachings medical-students (and graduates) are given, parallels the rise in knowledge of physics.  Unfortunately, the two are confounded in their degree of "scientific-ness" even though they're very different in practice.  The human body is NOT a machine, and you can't tinker with THIS mechanism without screwing up THAT one.  Too bad that medicine doesn't acknowledge ONE point the fields have in common -- if something seems to help at first but throws the system out of balance and causes more problems later, that practice is a non-starter.*

Certain drugs are amazing adjuncts to actual CARE.  Historical instances are told us of beautiful surgeries ... whose patients died of shock rather than sepsis or other causes, simply because anaesthetics were unavailable at the time.  Shock is much less of an problem now.  The Black Death, which decimated the population of Europe over and over again, is now a non-issue due to antibiotics.  Pain relievers, both for physical and mental causes, are a godsend -- can't be lauded enough!  But if the SOURCE of the pain isn't hunted down and eradicated, their value and usefulness is of a limited nature.  One needs to use these things as crutches till the actual healing is accomplished, then put them aside.

I once found written (and it drives me crazy that i can't find it again) a pithy statement about 20th-century western society seeking for "temporary relief" indefinitely:  this is EXACTLY what happens when one tries to use these patent medicines as they are too frequently used today.  Making an abused spouse emotionally numb does not solve the problem of abuse, providing insulin to a diabetic doesn't make cake-eating okay, and giving antidepressants to a woman who is malnourished and in a bad work environment isn't going to get her very far.  And don't get me started about hyping up a child with sugar and not letting him go out for recess....

The point is, unless something is done to fix what's REALLY wrong, which in some cases will actually take some TIME and EFFORT on the part of a doctor, drug use is a contemptible wimp-out.  The profession is spoiled and lazy.  They think they can order a blood test and write a prescription, and that's all there is -- well, it's NOT.  They're going to have to listen and think and research and reason, inspire and enable.  If they don't want to do what will actually HELP, they're in the wrong fucking field.
*  "Stuart Chase tells the story of the plumber who wrote to the Bureau of Standards saying he had found hydrochloric acid good for cleaning out clogged drains. The Bureau wrote back 'The efficacy of hydrochloric acid is indisputable, but the chlorine residue is incompatible with metallic permanence.' The plumber replied that he was glad the Bureau agreed. The Bureau tried again, writing 'We cannot assume responsibility for the production of toxic and noxious residues with hydrochloric acid, and suggest that you use an alternate procedure.' The plumber again said that he was glad the Bureau agreed with him. Finally, the Bureau wrote to the plumber 'Don't use hydrochloric acid; it eats hell out of the pipes.'"  ;-)


  1. Have you read "Sybil Exposed"? The author claims the whole Sybil case was a hoax, and Sybil's doctor (a woman) used her to build her name and career. Women are just as good at back-stabbing as men are--probably more so.

    Dr. John Cannell used to work on multiple personality and recovered memory cases and says both "conditions" are bunk. (They've finally been discredited after ruining a lot of lives--but creating a lot of billable hours for therapists). (If the name sounds familiar, Dr. Cannell is founder of the Vitamin D Council.)

    Julia Moore wrote a book about how many of our emotional ailments are from unmet nutritional needs. Interesting stuff. But in all fairness to doctors who simply write prescriptions, one therapist told me that hardly any patients are willing to make dietary changes.

  2. i had heard that the Sybil case was fraudulent, but i neither read the original story nor the expose'. it's disappointing that women can be as unprincipled as the worst men, but there it is.... :-) psychology has got to be a tricky field; i thank the gods, i don't need them.

    one of the speakers at the AHS conference last summer talked about diet and mental states, but i don't recall her name.... between that talk and Emily Deans' column, i find it pretty convincing!

    about doctors, i confess that i'm prejudiced ... but patients can be a nightmare too, i'm sure. if patients have the situation clearly explained to them, and STILL refuse to make any effort to heal themselves, then washing one's hands of them (or writing that prescription, if one wanted to keep them around) would seem the logical route. but DO doctors do that? i was under the impression that the teaching they get in medical school is vestigial, and the official position is that food doesn't cure. only the ones who have reason to research diet for their own health's sake, and are improved by it, seem to set much store by nutritional methods. the rest of them spout the same cant -- low fat, high fiber and carb, smaller portions, etc. since i KNOW that doesn't work (for me), i'd ignore it, too. :-) but i still wouldn't take most of their drugs.

  3. Oops--I meant Julia Ross.

    The therapist I talked with was a low-carber; I believe her when she says most patients won't cut down on the flour and sugar. For instance, a friend of mine is a professional musician who's getting arthritis and has had some mental health issues. She won't try a wheat-free diet--she'd rather go to doctors, spend a few hours a day doing exercises, and take pills--with no health insurance. My father just got a $250 cortisone shot instead of trying a wheat-free diet. He's a diabetic who eats bakery food all day. IME, that's typical. It'll change on a big scale only when low-carb or paleo becomes an aspirational lifestyle--when flour and sugar are the foods of poor people.

  4. fantastic post! I do think that the touted alternatives to dietary CW need to address the misogyny as well.

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  6. thank you, EB! :-) the trouble with misogyny (and every other hidden hate) is that it's too easy to disguise under another veil. and when you add obesity ("all her fault, the lazy glutton") to the cultural construction of what a woman is "supposed to be" and myths about "hysteria," you end up with conditions called "old maid's insanity" amongst other things.... [shrug] i don't know how far the situation has progressed, but since we still HAVE misogyny and racism, it CAN'T be cured yet.

    @Lori, ya DO have to wonder what people are thinking with, when they hear the evidence and STILL want to consume wheat and sugar.... but we're so inundated with propaganda and commercials, perhaps they don't believe it. pity!