last words on mental illness

Gary MacLennan g.maclennan at
Sun Jan 14 15:16:52 MST 2001

Why continue to post on this when there is a rift as wide as the Grand Canyon?
well the answer is that on this list there might be someone who is
developing a mental illness or who knows someone who is and there is a duty
to that person to tell it like it is. So let me repeat if anyone knows
someone who is developing a psychosis that person should be medicated as
soon as possible.

Everything else is of secondary importance.  Take the case of schizophrenia
again.  This is the most extreme example, but let me repeat it is a
neuro-biological disorder.  The model that R. D. Laing put forward in
Sanity Madness and the Family is incorrect. Almost like a French
intellectual Laing got hold of one aspect of the truth and de-dialecticised
it. It is true that we are always social beings.  The social can influence
the outcome of schizophrenia and help precipitate its onset through stress.
But once schizophrenia has develped it must be treated with
medication.  There is no argument here for anyone who actually knows
someone with the disease.

Now let me take the hard issue - Tardive Diskinesia (TD).  Tony suggests we
ignore this.  Actually if he goes back over my post he will find I talked
about 'horrifying' side effects. TD is caused when the dopamimine receptor
is blocked and the brain creates new receptors in a desperate attempt to
get more dopamine.  The first wave of medications were most active against
dopamine.  Therefore the risks of TD were high.

Now the question we are all asking is, 'Do the newer meds cause TD?'  I
hope,and yes pray, they do not.  I do not know. I know that decent people
on the list will know what this fear costs people whose loved ones are on
the medications.  But let us take the worst of all words and say that they
do. I would still support medication. Why? Because without it the sufferer
would in many cases have killed themselves.

But I do not want to write any more about this.

I am not angry with George or Tony.  They do not understand and with all my
heart I hope life never forces them into a situation where they might.



At 04:15  14/01/01 -0500, you wrote:
>I would remind Carol that a plague is a punishment sent by God. I mention
>this because Carol seems dedicated to scientific models of human reality.
>her recent post seems to me to go off the deep end of rhetoric. yes,
>medications are helpful to many people. this is a way of managing extremes
>of emotion. however, this says nothing about the nature of capitalism and
>the role of mental illness within society. what about the class dimensions
>of treatment? what about psychiatry as a power relation. you can not just
>call something "libertarianism" and then be free of all concerns. as a
>middle class professional, I am sure Carol has gotten good quality therapy.
>I would ad that this therapy was a choice. the antipsychiatry movement of
>the 1960s did oppose real abuses like psychosurgery, shock therapy and
>involuntary commitment. this is not to say that mental illness is not real.
>to say that it is real is not to say that we understand it very well. there
>is also an ideology of illness that gives power and profit to the doctors
>and drug companies. I wonder what the treatment of mental illness would look
>like under socialism? I think good Marxists should avoid all or nothing
>reasoning. reality is complex. I think Engels said this somewhere.

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