Friday, November 17, 2023

Misleading people that mental illness is brain disease

I’ve reposted a previous post from September 2010 about ‘Misleading children about mental illness’. The link to the NIH curriculum supplement on ‘The science of mental illness’, mentioned in that post, is dead. However, the section on the 2007 published “Information about mental illness and the brain’ from the NIH curriculum supplement series is available (see webpage).

That webpage states:-

As scientists continue to investigate the brains of people who have mental illnesses, they are learning that mental illness is associated with changes in the brain's structure, chemistry, and function and that mental illness does indeed have a biological basis.
This is not true. There is no evidence that functional mental illness is brain disease (see eg. previous post). The implication is that psychiatry needs to abandon its biomedical framework (see previous post). Although psychiatry ignores this critique, the complexity of the relation of biology with interpersonal, social and cultural factors does need to be acknowledged (see another previous post). As in the title of a previous post, psychiatry is too based on speculation rather than fact. For my whole career, I argued that psychiatry needed to incorporate a critical/relational perspective (see previous post). It’s about time that psychiatry became more open and therapeutic.

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