Go Sell “Crazy” Somewhere Else
Go Sell “Crazy” Somewhere Else
Michael Rice, LISAC, CTRTC
One of the major road blocks facing the improvement of “Mental Health” is the medical/psychiatric community, the media, and the general public’s misunderstanding of just what IS mental health. When I ask my group members or non-Choice Theory based audiences to come up with words depicting Mental Health, they invariably give me words that are being used to describe Mental Illness and not Mental Health. How can mental health be improved if it cannot be correctly identified?
A recent article posted on AOL boldly announced that the death of someone close to a person can “trigger mental disorders.” What we have come to realize, and the world has yet to accept, is that the majority of what is being called “Mental Illness” is no more than unhappiness. . . and that any long term unhappiness is the result of not having a satisfying relationship with the important people on one’s life. Rather than reporting that certain events can trigger mental disorders, it would be more correctly stated that certain events can trigger “unhappiness.” A person who is unhappy may not be as mentally healthy as they could be but they are not mentally ill.
Is there really such a thing as mental illness? . . . absolutely. Alzheimer’s, Parkenson’s, Mental Retardation, Tourette’s, and Autism are just some examples of mental illnesses. These conditions have pathology. However, one would not see a General Practitioner or psychiatrist to treat them. They would seek the help of a neurologist. So now, should someone close to you die and you grieve their loss, you are now considered to be mentally disordered.
Declaring unhappiness as the source of aberrant behavior would be too naïve a concept for the world to accept. Rather than accept a person’s unhappiness as the real cause of what appears to be a mental illness, the general consensus is that a pathophysiological condition exists and that it is the cause of one’s behavior. “Normal people don’t behave like that. It must be a mental disease!” This tenet is strongly held even when no pathophysiological conditions exist and with absolutely no laboratory tests to prove that they do exist.
When a person who has been living in frustration and unhappiness for a long period of time because they are not experiencing the relationship that they would like to have with the important person(s) in their life, they try many things to make the relationship better so they can feel better. But when nothing they have done has been successful, they create behaviors that are meant to ease their unhappiness and frustration while still being involved with the person(s) with whom they are not receiving their need for acceptance, love, and belonging.
After a long while, they eventually give up on focusing on the relationship, disconnect from others, and begin to focus only on easing their frustration and unhappiness. It is these behaviors that others see as being odd, strange, weird, and mentally ill. Observers fail to see that these behaviors are meant to ease their unhappiness at that particular moment that they perform them. While it may look like mental illness to you, it seems the most appropriate thing for the unhappy person to do at the time they do it. Why? Because everything else they have tried hasn’t worked. They would feel even more frustration if they didn’t have these behaviors to rely on to acquire some modicum of relief from their unhappiness.
Why do some people choose such things as schizophrenic type behaviors over OCD, or depression, or anxiety, or ADD/ADHD, Bipolarism or resorting to murdering others, etc? Because it’s whatever they discovered to do first that had any effect of easing their unhappiness and frustration. Have you ever been so frustrated and unhappy that you fel like you were gong to “lose control?” This is what it is like for those who feel the way you have. Only they have been fighting it for longer periods than you did. It is not a mental illness. It is an emotional condition. They are not as mentally healthy as they could be but they are not mentally ill. They are often quite “normal” during times when they are not so frustrated.
Their behavior is the result of an emotional condition resulting from their particular situation and not a physical/medical condition or illness. Fortunately, most people choose to depress before relying on the extreme measure of mudering others. The act of mass murder is the result of choosing something to do when everything else they have tried to do to feel better has failed.
There is no conclusive, scientific evidence provided in the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA’s) bible, the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders” (DSM) which is relied upon to diagnose mental illness. The creators and writers of this book openly admit under the heading of “Associated Laboratory Findings: There are no laboratory tests that have been established as diagnostic in the assessment of schizophrenia, bipolar, Anxiety, ADD/ADHD” or any of the other 400 listed mental illnesses in the DSM.
Would a dentist perform a root canal or extraction without first looking at X-rays to justify the existence of a condition that would warrant such a procedure? Would a doctor start chemotherapy or insulin treatment without the proof that a patient had a pathological condition and laboratory tests that indicate this treatment be conducted?
Yet unhappy people, who are severely frustrated as a result of not finding a way to satisfy the relationships with the important people in their life, are being diagnosed by general practitioners and psychiatrists with diseases they don’t have and with medications that have no curative abilities that can lead to aggressive and suicidal behavior. Medications are harming the brain by keeping it from functioning the way it is normally supposed to function.
Today, the most common unhappy people we are finding that are being labeled “mentally ill” are young men between the ages of 15 and 25, who are, or were, on psychotropic medications, and are shooting people in schools, airports, military bases, and shopping centers. In each case, they were having relationship problems with the important people in their lives. If it is a mental illness, why are these shooters only men and none of them women? If mentally ill, why don’t men over the age of 26 commit mass murder shootings? These are the questions that need to be addressed. If mental illness is the cause, then where is the pathology? Where are the lab tests to prove a disease exists? Is mental illness gender specific only to males below the age of 26? These questions are not being answered because the focus is being placed in all the wrong areas.
All of these mass murder shooters have these things in common and therefore very importance to consider. Instead, the only common traits that are being considered are: They all had guns and shot lots of people. Therefore, they must be mentally ill and we don’t know what to do except put them on psych meds and blame the mental health community.
What IS known is that the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the American Psychiatric Association (APA), and any medical group or organization that exists today cannot provide scientific evidence that a psychiatric disorder or illness is the result of an objective and confirmable brain abnormality. Mental Illness is being diagnosed by decree and not by physical evidence. And this is why Mental Health cannot be improved until it can first be accurately identified and defined.
- Stop calling mood disorders mental illnesses with a physical cause.
- Make mental health a public health issue and not a medical health issue and stop treating it as a medical condition. Treating a non-medical condition by means of medical procedures has never worked and will not work other than to harm the patient.
- Educate unhappy and currently happy people how to resolve their unhappiness and frustration with the important people in their lives . . . their mothers, fathers, siblings, personal relationships, with themselves, an employer, and perhaps a teacher.
- Teach our children how to resolve conflict and get along well with others . . . something that has been missing since the beginning of mankind.
- Focus on teaching in schools the things students need to know and can use in their life and not things they will never need to use or know or even want to know.
For further information, the following references are available:
Glasser, Wm., M.D., Warning: Psychiatry Can Be Dangerous To Your Mental Health, New York, Harper Collins Publishers, Inc., 2003
Gosden, Richard, Ph.D. Punishing the Patient: How Psychiatrists Misunderstand and Mistreat Schizophrenia. Victoria, Australia: Scribe, 2001
Lynch, Terry, M.D. Beyond Prozac: Healing Mental Health Suffering Without Drugs. Dublin, Ireland: Merino Books, 2001
Breggin, Peter, M.D. Toxic Psychiatry. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1991
O’Meara, Kelly Patricia, Psyched Out: How Psychiatry Sells Mental Illness and Pushes Pills That Kill. Indiana and UK, Author House, 2006
Glasser, Wm. M.D. Defining Mental Health as a Public Health Issue.(Pamphlet) CA, WGlasser.com, 2005
Whitaker, Robert. Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill. Cambridge, MASS.: Perseus Publishing, 2002
Johnstone, Lucy. Users and Abusers of Psychiatry, 2nd ed. London and Philadelphia: Routledge, 2000