Is mental illness a useful idea?

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EquALLity
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Re: Is mental illness a useful idea?

Post by EquALLity » Fri Jun 29, 2018 4:44 pm

brimstoneSalad wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 8:58 pm
EquALLity wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 7:47 pm
The definition could mean that the psychiatrist and subject determine if this is the case. The definition is vague, but I think that's necessary due to the nature of mental illness.
Sometimes this is possible for the person suffering from the illness to do, too, during periods of lucidity.

It's almost a catch 22, though; in order to know you're mentally ill, you need perspective from another state to determine that.
That's where depression has benefits over other mental illnesses, because you can remember feeling better, you know you don't like things you used to like, and symptoms can wax and wane so you can get a sense of how it works. Delusions are much more difficult to see for those suffering from them.
Yes, it's probably only hard to recognize when mental illnesses have hallucinations, like with schizophrenia. For example, John Nash believed in a Russian spy conspiracy until outside people stepped in, because you can't know your own hallucinations aren't real. In contrast, with mood disorders such as depression, they are identifiable by the person with the disorder because they feel the disorder.
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Post by EquALLity » Fri Jun 29, 2018 4:53 pm

Cirion Spellbinder wrote:No, I am saying that the subjective whims of friends and family are what cause the subject distress and perhaps their mental condition.
What do you mean?
Right, only if they cause disfunction in social, work, and family spheres, which homosexuality has and often continues to.
The definition states that mental illnesses involve these things, not that all conditions that involve or cause these things are mental illnesses.

But in regards to what you stated, the family's reaction to homosexuality would be the cause, not homosexuality itself. Is this what you mean by subjective whims? If so, I see what you are saying, because homosexuality shouldn't be to blame, but rather the family's reaction. However, I don't think the definition would necessarily claim homosexuality is the mental illness as opposed to claiming the illness is caused by the negative interactions with other people.
But if the distress and functional problems are caused by something mental or behavioral, then they are. Being black is not a mental illness because even though it can cause problems in the three spheres, it is not a mental or behavioral phenomenon.
Where is that stated in the definition?
What you are saying is logical, but I don't think the definition makes it clear. Maybe I'm nit-picking.
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Post by carnap » Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:28 am

Lay Vegan wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:31 pm
I agree that the term is very loosely defined, but psychiatrists can probably distinguish those struggling with depression (major depressive order) from those stricken with grief/sadness based on neurological activity and ability to overcome it without medical intervention. That’s why psychiatrists don’t consider grief-stricken people to be suffering from mental illnesses.
Probably distinguish? Considering psychiatrist are prescribing brain altering medications with numerous side effects there should be a clear understanding of the disease and how to identify it.....yet there is not. Mental illnesses are identified by matching a list of relatively vague criteria.
Lay Vegan wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:31 pm
This could be true given its rather vague definition, but psychiatrists overwhelmingly agree that homosexuality is a “natural” sexual orientation, and that “treatment” attempting to convert the subject’s orientation generally leads to a decline in mental health and result in depression, anxiety, or even suicidality.
Yes, today...but not in the past. What changed? Acceptance of homosexuality in the culture. If homosexuality was still overwhelmingly deemed abnormal by society as a whole psychiatrists would likely be prescribing some collection of medications to cure such a malady just as they have in the past.

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Post by carnap » Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:45 am

Cirion Spellbinder wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 4:33 am
The issue I have with this definition is that it seems easy to posit many unrecognized or recently disrecognized mental illnesses because the mental phenomena that may cause stress or social, work, or family disfunction are subjectively determined by one’s friends, coworkers, and families personalities and thoughts.
Well it is easy, just open the DSM 5. The DSM 5 would be dramatically smaller if it only contained the mental illnesses that had clear organic diagnostic criteria. But then you couldn't prescribe 55 million Americans medications. Curiously white folks are more than twice as likely to take them.

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Post by Cirion Spellbinder » Mon Jul 16, 2018 8:42 pm

carnap wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:45 am
The DSM 5 would be dramatically smaller if it only contained the mental illnesses that had clear organic diagnostic criteria.
What does that mean?
carnap wrote:But then you couldn't prescribe 55 million Americans medications. Curiously white folks are more than twice as likely to take them.
Do you think most if not all psychiatric medication is not useful?

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Post by carnap » Mon Jul 16, 2018 10:14 pm

Cirion Spellbinder wrote:
Mon Jul 16, 2018 8:42 pm
What does that mean?
I'm referring to the sort of mental illnesses that can be determined organically, that is to say, can be determine through some sort of objective test like a brain scan, blood test, etc. The vast majority of mental illnesses in the DSM are identified by a set of behavioral criteria and there is no known organic cause for the "illness".
Cirion Spellbinder wrote:
Mon Jul 16, 2018 8:42 pm
Do you think most if not all psychiatric medication is not useful?
Yes, that would be my view. Despite 1 in 6 Americans now taking some sort of psychoactive drug there is no clear objective measure of mental health that has improved on the societal level. In fact, despite anti-depressants being the most commonly prescribed psychoactive medication suicide rates in the US are actually up.

I think psychiatric medications are mostly being prescribed to induce desirable psychological patterns for society rather than to treat any legitimate illness. For example, in our society kids need to be able to seat in a chair staring at a teacher for 6~7 hours a day. Despite this by no means being a natural behavior for human children, when kids have trouble dealing with this schools will frequently recommend medication for "ADHD".

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Post by Cirion Spellbinder » Sat Jul 21, 2018 12:07 pm

carnap wrote:
Mon Jul 16, 2018 10:14 pm
I'm referring to the sort of mental illnesses that can be determined organically, that is to say, can be determine through some sort of objective test like a brain scan, blood test, etc. The vast majority of mental illnesses in the DSM are identified by a set of behavioral criteria and there is no known organic cause for the "illness".
What mental illnesses can be determined this way?
carnap wrote:Yes, that would be my view. Despite 1 in 6 Americans now taking some sort of psychoactive drug there is no clear objective measure of mental health that has improved on the societal level. In fact, despite anti-depressants being the most commonly prescribed psychoactive medication suicide rates in the US are actually up.
A societal evaluation introduces too many uncontrollable variables. Wouldn't a large scale individual case be better (both practically and for the purpose of measuring effectiveness)?
carnap wrote:I think psychiatric medications are mostly being prescribed to induce desirable psychological patterns for society rather than to treat any legitimate illness. For example, in our society kids need to be able to seat in a chair staring at a teacher for 6~7 hours a day. Despite this by no means being a natural behavior for human children, when kids have trouble dealing with this schools will frequently recommend medication for "ADHD".
That seems desirable unless there is some revolution in education and miracle of policy.

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Post by carnap » Sat Jul 21, 2018 2:30 pm

Cirion Spellbinder wrote:
Sat Jul 21, 2018 12:07 pm
What mental illnesses can be determined this way?
Currently neuroimaging and other techniques aren't used as primary diagnostic criteria and it represents a somewhat amusing problem. The neuroimaging often doesn't align well with the behavior based diagnostic criteria. Its not that you don't see consistent patterns in the brain imaging its that there doesn't seem to be any one pattern that produces the "mental illnesses" as currently defined. I think that shows that the current "mental illnesses" aren't diseases in any real sense but instead clusters of symptoms with a variety of organic causes. And this may explain why current tools to treat "mental illness" are so poor, people that match the cluster of symptoms do so for a variety of reasons.

Though just because you can identify some cognitive style organically doesn't mean its a disease so you'll still have the issue of society trying to normalize behavior it sees as negative in some way. But hopefully with improved science and treatments we will gain a better understanding of mental illness.
Cirion Spellbinder wrote:
Sat Jul 21, 2018 12:07 pm
A societal evaluation introduces too many uncontrollable variables. Wouldn't a large scale individual case be better (both practically and for the purpose of measuring effectiveness)?
Not really, those are problematic as well. For example the long-term use of psychoactive medications permanently alter brain function and most people with mental illness have been on them at some point. As such you have to carefully separate those that have been on medications from those with the "illness" that haven't. It ends up not many studies actually do this and when they do it doesn't paint a positive picture for the medications.

But for me, I find societal evaluation as a sort of bullshit detector. Its not a perfect measure, but it should raise eyebrows that our aggregate well-being has actually declined at the same time that the use of psychiatric medications have sky rocketed. If they were effective you'd predict the opposite.
Cirion Spellbinder wrote:
Sat Jul 21, 2018 12:07 pm
That seems desirable unless there is some revolution in education and miracle of policy.
What is desirable? The medications?

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Post by Cirion Spellbinder » Sat Jul 21, 2018 9:10 pm

carnap wrote:
Sat Jul 21, 2018 2:30 pm
Not really, those are problematic as well. For example the long-term use of psychoactive medications permanently alter brain function and most people with mental illness have been on them at some point. As such you have to carefully separate those that have been on medications from those with the "illness" that haven't. It ends up not many studies actually do this and when they do it doesn't paint a positive picture for the medications.
Wouldn’t that mean that doing so is an effective measure?
carnap wrote:What is desirable? The medications?
Children doing well in school.

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Post by carnap » Mon Jul 23, 2018 12:53 am

Cirion Spellbinder wrote:
Sat Jul 21, 2018 9:10 pm
Wouldn’t that mean that doing so is an effective measure?
I'm not sure what you're asking here.
Cirion Spellbinder wrote:
Sat Jul 21, 2018 9:10 pm
Children doing well in school.
I think its important to be clear here, its not just "in school" in general but a very particular educational environmental that insists on kids starring at a teacher most of the day. Certainly for the teachers and staff of these school its desirable that the child's behavior be controlled as it makes their life easier. But is it desirable for the kid? I think that is a hard argument to make, these drugs have a variety of side-effects and when used chronically result in permanent changes to the brain that aren't well understood.

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