Speaking of stretching, it really shouldn’t be such a stretch to think that one of the biggest businesses in the world should have humanity’s best interests at heart when it comes to our health and wellbeing. Well surprise, surprise, they don’t!
As it relates to mental health, I would like to give you a little history. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of Mental Disorders (with very few statistics) is the way mental illness is categorized and diagnosed. “Disorder” is really used as a euphemism for illness.
The first DSM was created in the early 1950s. It was 130 pages with 112 mental disorders.
DSM II was created in 1968 and contained 178 disorders. By defining more and more of life as abnormal, psychiatrists could get their hands on a huge amount of government money. This one was specifically written to align with the ICD (International Classification of Disease) that doctors use to code conditions so they can collect payment from the insurance companies.
DSM III, created in 1980 had 259 disorders where it redefined psychiatric disorders more carefully and as “medical conditions”. This was based on the recommendations of Dr. Robert Spitzer who threw out Freudian Psychology saying that psychiatric disorders were now biological. This is how chemical imbalance theory was invented, i.e., since the drugs create an alteration in brain chemicals, then mental illness must be caused by too much or too little of them. This is like saying that since an aspirin helps a headache, when you have a headache it’s caused by the deficiency of aspirin. This was so convincing that psychiatrists and the pharmaceutical industry have relentlessly promoted this theory to the medical field and the general public through the media in every way, shape, and form imaginable.
DSM IV, produced in 1994 with 374 disorders - This 886 page book weighs in at 5 lbs.
Isn’t it a travesty that this is the method by which patients are assigned a diagnosis and subsequent treatment? Yet even many psychiatrists would say that most of the disorders have not been rigorously validated. It’s been called a sham and a house of cards that is not based on scientific evidence and yet this is the way mental illness is categorized and treated here in the US and in many other countries. And the possibilities for the mongering of disease knows no bounds. In children, psychiatric disorders went from 3 in 1952 to over 44 disorders today where children as young as 3 can be put on these poisons to “correct” behavior.
The most current DSM V published in 2013 is 943 pages which of course, corresponds to the most recent ICD-10. The ICD’s Mental and Behavioral Disorder section almost parallels the DSM, so whatever happens in the DSM appears there too. And by the way, the APA (American Psychiatric Association) makes a great deal of money by publishing & selling it…. about $6.5 Million in sales/year.
For everything you can think of that might seem to be odd behavior, psychiatry has a name for it, and then for every name, there is pharmacology behind it providing a pill for it. With that comes a follow up appointment and a life-time patient. The DSM is truly only there to justify drug treatment since the time you might spend in a psychiatrist’s office has become less and less over the years as actual “therapy” has gone down and the use of psychopharmacology has gone up. It doesn’t take too long to ask a few questions and write a script to alleviate some symptoms.
Mental illness are not discovered, they are invented; many times as a way to create what is called “expanded uses for existing pharmaceuticals”, and usually it’s around that time when the patent is about to expire. The DSM is not scientific, it is political, and every time it is used by psychiatrists and drug companies, it makes money. It is truly the ultimate money making machine and this inherent conflict of interest is driven only by the desire to make money. If you really did the research on these “diagnoses”, you would see that that substantial reimbursement would disappear. Follow the money and you will always get your answer.
Did you know that over 120 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with a mental illness? A psychiatric diagnosis means a prescription for a psychiatric drug and over 600 Million scripts are written for psych meds each year. Even for people who don’t want meds, there is a diagnosis in the DSM for them too called; “Non-compliance with treatment”.
The definition of Disease Mongering is this: “it is a pejorative term for the practice of widening the diagnostic boundaries of illnesses and aggressively promoting their public awareness in order to expand the markets for treatment.” They do this through the marketing of illness in print, on TV, radio, and on the internet. It’s everywhere and the message that you need some type of a drug, psychiatric or otherwise, is getting in, whether you are consciously aware of it or not.
There is no test out there that can tell you that you have a chemical imbalance. And without an X-Ray, MRI, CT Scan, Blood work, a diagnostic test of any type, how does one arrive at a chemical imbalance of the brain simply by observation?
Perhaps you’ve been told your chemical imbalance is just like needing insulin to treat diabetes. It’s not….
“Ask your doctor!”
(adapted in part from the CCHR (Citizen’s Commission on Human Rights) movie, “DSM: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual”. Visit www.cchr.org for more information.
I have to wonder why it is such a stretch to think that bringing our attention back to nature would not be a means by which we could begin to heal ourselves as well as the damage that has been done to our planet (by us). I think it’s time to take a serious look at our lives, our health (physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually), and our environment and ask ourselves the question, “so how’s this working for us?” Not very well, if you ask me. So what can we do to change the paradigm to one of healing rather than harming?
The critics and naysayers about CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine), whose conclusions are based on what they think is a “scientific” perspective, who like to quote the research findings, (usually done by a drug company), are really not seeing the forest through the trees (oh yes, and there are fewer and fewer of those too, thanks to humans…). Natural healing existed long before western medicine and big pharma. What we call new is ancient and what we call “traditional” is only about 200 years old. Ayurveda, the ancient healing system from India, goes back over 6000 years and there are probably even more traditions of Indigenous people before that. If you really think about it, since all of our “advances” in technology and medicine, there is more cancer than ever before, more radiation, more pollution, more corruption, more torture of animals and humans, and more diagnoses of diseases both physical and mental, than ever before. Our inherent need to label everything has lead us down a path of further belief in the magic bullet or quick fix philosophy – not only in medicine, but in everything. Instant gratification is the rule rather than the exception and once we get it, (that which we think we want), our satisfaction is short lived before we are on to the next thing in our search for what is really to be sought after within, or simply going back to bad habits that probably contributed to the situation to begin with.
I hear it all the time… “I tried Alternative Medicine – it doesn’t work.” And why might that be? Usually it’s because it’s tried as a last resort rather than a first resort when it should be the other way around. By the time a mild symptom has evolved to coronary artery disease or a tumor on a lab report, yes, it is probably too late to simply try a diet or lifestyle change. Not to say that those things shouldn’t be implemented immediately. They should, but that is the time when a western medical approach most likely needs to be implemented.
When we have a minor symptom, be it a little digestive disturbance, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, or a minor skin eruption, we tend to jump to “fix it”, usually with a pharmaceutical, only to receive temporary relief in addition to the gift of a side effect to go with it, or at least a contribution to toxicity. That toxicity builds up the more meds we take as well as eating processed foods and not sleeping properly and before we know it, we have a full blown illness that could have been prevented.
Why not try going back to nature and first inquire within why the symptom might be presenting itself to begin with. Nature really is more intelligent than our limited intellect that tells us to jump to a pharmaceutical because we saw it on TV. Using food as medicine as ancient modalities have understood for thousands of years, can do wonders to switch on and support the body’s innate healing mechanisms, and even affect brain chemistry. Adding other lifestyle changes that are deceptively simple yet powerful allies can only serve to contribute to the prevention of illness and the treatment of dis-ease if it happens. Our only job is to tune in to the messages our body-mind sends, and respond with an attitude of “First, do no harm” – and that is, to yourself or the planet. If the cure harms anything, then it really isn’t a true cure, is it?
Observing the world from my perspective as an Integrative Ayurvedic Medicine Practitioner, I have a unique opportunity to meet a lot of people from all walks of life, of all ages, and with diverse life experience. I love what I do in my practice and at my centre, but the thing that makes me saddest is to see the number of people (almost everyone) taking toxic pharmaceuticals to manage various conditions that could so easily be managed with natural remedies and/or lifestyle practices, with fewer or no side effects. What I’ve also observed is that the reason for this pattern is the buy-in to the quick fix philosophy of “treat the symptom, not the cause” whereby the first cause of a condition or disease is not even considered in thinking about how to alleviate the symptoms. It’s really quite backwards when you think about it, but in the fast paced world in which we live, we don’t (seemingly) have the time to slow down, become quiet, and really observe what it is that this condition is trying to communicate to us. Symptoms are messages, and usually the messages are about how we have deviated from a more natural way of living and Being. So what does it really mean, to live in harmony with nature, and to accept the invitation to learn in a way that doesn’t assault our bodies and our minds with toxic chemicals that wreck havoc on our ability to heal ourselves when we get out of balance?
We live in times that are much different than when most of us were growing up. While the internet and the devices we use to access it are indeed wonderful and have opened us up to being more informed than ever before, it seems to be at a cost, and that cost is that we have lost our connection to nature. Instead of looking around at nature and at each other, we are all looking down, seemingly “communicating” with each other, but not really seeing or hearing each other. We go to bed too late, sometimes with devices in hand, we consume fast and/or processed & unhealthy food that is devoid of prana (life force) usually while multi-tasking, and it is my observation that rarely do we do anything completely mindfully. Multi-tasking is something that has become revered in our society and I have even seen it on resumes as a skill to be rewarded rather than discouraged. We drink bottled water in an effort to supposedly be healthier, yet we are contaminating our earth with plastic in the process. All of these things actually take us further and further away from nature and thereby from ourselves. We become magnets for illness and disease of all types because our immunity suffers from trying to combat that which is not natural, from the microcosm to the macrocosm.
Nature has an inherent intelligence that runs through all things, including ourselves. We do not have to monitor the changing seasons, how a seed becomes a tree, or even the trillions of chemical reactions in our body that go on simultaneously without our conscious awareness. We need to learn to live in harmony with this intelligence not in opposition to it, which we do when we are living our lives in a manner that does not honor the laws of nature or when we use unnatural means to treat a symptom or a condition – in ourselves or on the planet. The body knows how to be healthy and it knows how to heal itself when something goes awry. We ought to be making lifestyle choices that respect this innate intelligence so that when imbalance occurs, it is quickly corrected so that it does not develop into a full-blown medical condition where pharmaceutical or surgical intervention is actually warranted. So many things can be treated by natural means. Why not take the time to get back to nature by observing the imbalance and looking toward nature for a solution – a food or nutrient, an earlier bedtime, a practice like yoga or meditation, an herb, or even a prayer. Take the first step just by being an observer of that which is happening. The offerings to correct an imbalance are plentiful; all you have to do is seek, and indeed, you shall find….
Dr. Joanna Carmichael is an RN, Doctor of Metaphysics & Divinity, Interfaith Minister, Ayurveda, Meditation & Yoga Practitioner, Spiritual Teacher and animal activist.