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Do Psychiatric Disorders Actually Exist? A Logical Approach

August 14, 2011

I am trained to think clearly and logically.  What follows is written with the intent of being clear and logical.  The question is: Do Psychiatric Disorders Actually Exist?

To begin with, I am going to place Disorder in quotes, thus: `Disorder’ so that we can defer questions of its meaning.  People exist who have been diagnosed with `Disorder’s on the word of a professional psychiatrist.  Such people exist and this is easy to verify: just take a look around you local psychiatric ward!

I am a skeptic.  I believe only in what I can firmly establish through logical means, relying ultimately on the observation that I exist.  I exist because I say so, I say so because I can, and I can because I exist.  This is circular, but it is a stable cycle and this stable cycle cannot be broken, cancelled out or otherwise reduced without adding complexity.  I only require that this cycle exists and is not reducible to a simpler cycle.

Based on past experience dealing with professional psychiatrists, I do not believe that any of the ‘Disorder’s listed in the DSM IV actually exist, in the sense that the statement that they exist carry substance in and of themselves.  If not, what is the substance?  I will grant that I may be in error, but I will demand proof to the satisfaction of a mathematical logician, and you may choose any native English speaker with a PhD in a mathematical logic discipline such as model theory to interpret for you if you do not understand logic.

In fact, I will hazard a guess that there is precisely one psychiatric Disorder that actually does exist, and I call it ‘Belief in Psychiatry Disorder’.  This is a belief I hold based on past experience, I do not assert it as fact.  You may choose to believe otherwise, but I will require you to translate your thoughts on the matter into my langauge, and my language includes the belief that:

There is One psychiatric disorder.
This is the only True psychiatric disorder.
It is called Belief in Psychiatry.
Any normal psychiatrist has this disorder (else they are an abnormal psychiatrist).

I believe in the above by default because, to me, 1 is the most natural number.  Now take my word for it, this disorder is real, it exists: I have seen it for myself!  Anybody who is sufficiently logical and is placed in a situation where their life depends on the word of a psychiatrist can almost certainly see this, though I have not exhaustively verified this last point.

So, if there are any ‘Disorders’ in the DSM IV that are real, what are they?

Bipolar ‘Disorder’ just happens when a logical sane mind is forced by its peers to decide between two options in an arbitrary manner.  This is not a disorder: the patient gets to choose the order and the result is in order.  There is no disorder in this case.

I’ve never received a different diagnosis, so I can’t personally comment on them.  Anybody have a ‘Disorder’ that they believe is real?  Would they care to expound what the ‘Disorder’ is and why they believe it is real?

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From → Life, Philosophy

5 Comments
  1. Tim Casey permalink

    Any disorder can only exist if we are willing to discriminate against someone else or if we are willing to accept such a label for our own purposes.

  2. Agreed. Nevertheless, for our reality to be interesting, we must discriminate somehow (for example does a word or phrase mean discrimination or does it not?) We cannot think without discriminating, yet when we discriminate we affect others. Thus we need to learn how to think quietly, making noise only where it is welcome. The absence of discrimination is symmetry, our world is not totally symmetric and we do not have the ability to make it so. Thus we must accept some discrimination, but it should be wise discrimination according to a good, wise notion of wisdom, and this wisdom is necessarily discriminating wisdom in the sense that the Buddhists talk of.

  3. Advice from one who knows… when dealing with a person who is classified Bipolar and is having perceived difficulties:

    Don’t try to fix what you don’t understand, just try to communicate effectively. Don’t get scared just because you don’t understand, just try to communicate effectively. Treat them as if they’ve caught a bug that makes it hard to talk or had their jaw smashed in in a fight so can’t speak quite right. They’re still in there, still want to be friends, still love their family and still want to live in society, it’s just that society have dealt them a logically inconsistent hand that their sanity is rejecting. They are fundamentally sane but are sensitive to all the insanity we have in current society, and just can’t take the crap we are forced to put up with.

  4. Stephen H permalink

    I can pick up or drop concepts. The concept of mental illness as projected by psychiatrists and mental health service workers, is clearly a creation in the collective mind of particpants in psychiatry. It has very little specifically to do with those who are selected for the concept to be applied, unless or until that event occurs.

    The concept has relevance for me in the sense the I have been subjected to behaviours and drugs which have resulted serious harm in mind and body which it has not yet been possible to recover from, although progress which is beyond the themes in propogated in medicine has been achieved through non-medical means. It is real that it is concept, but there are number of ways it can be viewed it can be viewed as a compliment in application on a number of grounds, including that is commonly applied and used as bases for enforcing detention and drugs to people who would not engage in those behaviours in relation to any arbitrary person at all. On other it could be viewed in terms of the negative consequences that attach to the person who is selected for it’s application. In the final analysis, it can only be concluded that ownership of the concept is with those who firmly believe in it as real in some abolute sense. In other words, mental illness belongs to those who apply it, and not to those to whom it is applied. Commonsense reasoning would suggest, that if this is a problem for people in mental health services, then it they need to resolve the problem for themselves and/or seek help, rather than maginfying the problem by forcing the concept upon patients as well, and adopting further behaviours which cause suffering to those to whom the concept is assigned. Rather than devising and increasing problems, solutions would be ethically more appropriate, and more pleasing in terms of ethics and aesthetics. From a mathematical perspective, symmetry would be more elegant so that if the concept is applicable by group A to group B, on the basis of some percieved difference, then it ought to be applicable by group B to group A on the same basis.

    In practice it would not seem sensible for everyone to be treated as mentally and treated with drugs which are often regarded as harmful by recipients and strongly associated with reduced lifespans. So although the concept is arbitrary and flexible, from a utilitarian perspective, in terms of how it’s applied there can be no reasonable justification. And the error lies with those that believe that it should. In practice, the people who work in the system appear to have an unresloved psycholigical conflict because they usually agree that it’s acceptable for them to apply the concept and the drugs to the patients, but that it would not be acceptable for the same things to happen to them. When the patient points out this discrepancy, they can’t really deal with it at all, and often resort to directing away from the issue with arguments such as “your distressed”. It’s not really a realistic argument when it’s applied to a patient who measures 100 percentile within 0.5 of a percent on ta standard widespread used and applied emotional intelligence test. But it is a frequently repeated argument ro justify drugs, even the face of persistence throughout by the patient that they dont’ feel emotionally distressed at all, even in the face of such agressive behaviour and significant physical pain and physical stress and damage caused by the dugs.

  5. Stephen: Try not to ‘drop’ concepts, they are fragile. Put them down gently and you don’t risk breaking them. You must treat a psychiatrists concepts with care: they’re like their prize pets and you must be careful to stroke them in the right direction.

    The concept is relevant because people with power believe in it. That is the only reason necessary for it to be relevant: it can affect me so I need to understand it.

    I roughly agree with you on the third paragraph. Everbody is probably mentally ill by the current diagnostic criteria if we choose to look hard enough for the signs. Psychiatry is logically inconsistent, so anybody can be given any diagnosis truthfully, it’s just a question of interpreting the signs accordingly, and only a psychiatrist is allowed to do this. Thus psychiatry is an attempt by insane minds to take over the world.

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