I want to give a slightly less personal and a slightly more factually based version of the last blog. There are some factual errors that exist within the complex world of diagnosis that are problematic and in many cases the problem is, as ever, money. The problem with money is also a stupid one as actually, if we are to believe that work is good for you, a fact banded about by politico’s of a left and right wing background, then surely it would make more sense to have everyone be well enough to work? Apparently, it doesn’t and you and I are silly for even thinking it. I am not going to go into an in depth analysis of why capitalism requires that so many percent be unemployed to scare the brown stuff out of the people who are employed and keep them grateful for their minimum wage. I am however, going to go through some of the numbers related to mental health and those signed off as ill.

I remember from my sociology lessons the pretty awful tactics of governments from England putting posters up all around the Caribbean, Africa and India offering fantastical jobs to people if they are just willing to move to England and work here. Then when they got here, they were treated like crap by all and sundry and then, to top it all off blamed for the entire countries problems by politicians. Apart from being pretty disgusting behaviour and apart from the fact that all three parties play a part in this behaviour now, it set an example. It set an example that would permeate the rest of society. In this instance, in mental health was subjected to this same treatment, not by the government but by individualistic society as a whole.

Consider, for a moment, the language surrounding mental health conditions. Starting at the beginning, to have a mental health condition officially, you must be diagnosed. This is usually by someone with a medical degree, which in my opinion is the beginning of the problem. Dr’s undoubtedly deserve respect. They are a selection of the best and brightest. They work ridiculous hours and all that stuff. This is not having a go at them. However, they deal with illness. They deal with the body as a thing that is functional and that is all. They also receive practically no formal training in cognition, consciousness, narrative, or even really the human condition, especially compared to C.P.N.’s and psychologists. The medical model, as I have discussed before, sees humans as machines that have things wrong with them that can be fixed.

If this were the case, we would not see figures like anti-depressants only being successful in 33% of participants in any one trial, yet still being the first treatment offered. I have already discussed the money involved in this process, so won’t go there again for now. The medical model has failed to account for a number of healthcare problems and it comes from reducing peoples interactions to beneath that of the societal. Since Wilhelm Wundt started the first psychology laboratory in 1879, there has been an understanding that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. One thing that is not really discussed in introductory text books is that Wundt also focussed much of his work on volkerpsychologie or folk psychology.

Folk or social psychology understands that things like social isolation, poverty or any other number of social events may have a physiological effect on a person’s condition but they do not fail to remember that it began as a social problem and physiologically altering the level of psychoactivating neurotransmitters or synthetically preventing the re-uptake of serotonin does not fix this social problem, it just masks it. This explains not only the massive relapse into conditions like chronic depression, addiction and personality disorders once the results of psychoactive pharmacological interventions have worn off. This is not even mentioning that most of these drugs are highly addictive and many of the drugs used in treating serious conditions, like schizophrenia have been suggested by many professionals to not only be addictive but physically harmful and might cause schizophrenia, psychosis and a load of other things they are supposed to stop.

So, the medication is not necessarily what it should be but that is not really the point I am making. If people have a reason to be depressed, then the best thing is to probably allow them to be depressed and most importantly, find out why they are depressed. If someone is depressed for a long time, then there is probably something really wrong with their life or coping mechanisms. There is a powerful argument that there are biological implications within psychopathologies like depression. There is even evidence of elevated levels of hormonal transmission evident in people with depression but there is little evidence as to whether depression caused these altered levels or the altered levels caused depression. The point is that everyone responds differently, whether because of their genotype, environment personality traits or life experience/ situation. To assume that you can mask one of the things that makes the human condition interesting, so they will continue to behave in an often thoroughly depressing world, is to ignore human pain. To assume that you can do that forever without there being serious ramifications is just stupid.

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