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Shrinktunes

New Developments on the 'Mad Creative' Front

By Published: October 18, 2003
I got a copy of their second, more expansive press release (#03-39, September 26, 2003), which is equal parts flag-waving and self-serving ambiguity. It begins by reporting that "the Nation has doubled its spending on mental health in the past five years," which has "greatly improved our ability to treat severe mental and behavioral disorders" — but does not specify what these improvements have been. It ends with a pledge to achieve "the President's New Freedom Mental Health vision" without being "distracted" by "[those] who would deny that serious mental disorders are real medical conditions" just because there's no diagnostic test or reliable biological marker to confirm their presence. Well, um, yeah. Hello?



Finally, although the APA admits they haven't found the physical data to support their faith in mental "illness," they expect the answer will be found in "disorders of intercellular communication; or of disrupted neural circuitry," or "multiple systems that have gone subtly awry." These are logical theories — even if very general and vague — but so far that's all they are.



Meanwhile, the APA complains that their critics are overly impatient with "the pace of science" and forget that the brain is very "complex and challenging."

I expect the critics would be more forgiving if the APA were more honest about what they don't know, and less insistent on treating "illnesses" they haven't verified or understood with drugs whose mechanisms are also mysterious.



There's a lot more to gnaw on in the press release and the psychiatry article, but I'll spare you the details. For now, I just wanted to hip you to the continuing drama of the lunatic jazz musician and the "diseases" s/he's supposed to have.

By the way, I've got offprints of my article in the psych journal — please e-mail me if you'd like one (while supplies last.)



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