[Marxism] Who will do the science this millenium ?

Jurriaan Bendien andromeda246 at hetnet.nl
Wed May 5 01:49:00 MDT 2004

I think David is correct insofar as psychiatrists often lack time for an
accurate, comprehensive and correct diagnosis, and that just prescribing a
pill for medication may not cure very much at all. But neuroleptic
medication can be effective in treating symptoms, and some people do need to
be interned (because otherwise they do harm to themselves, or to others).
Even so, it may be difficult to establish which medicine is most effective,
and if a good diagnosis is lacking, the wrong medicine may be prescribed.

An problem is that often people with mental problems cannot express their
needs/condition as such or in an accurate way, nor receive affectionate
attention that might help stabilise their condition and calm things down.
This is particularly the case in clearly semi-psychotic or psychotic cases.
In those cases, you can talk or try what you like, but it usually has no
(lasting) effect, whereas appropriate medication can help reduce or remove
the delusions and stabilise the condition. Modern drugs such as Risperdal
and Zyprexa/Olanzapine are also far superior to the previous generation of
medicines, because they have much less side-effects. That is surely
scientific progress.

I read some conservative arguments once which implied schizophrenia and
manic depression were just due to poor sexual development, but that is a
very dubious argument, (1) since you cannot separate sexual behaviour from
the total context of personality, a person's relationships, physical
constitution and family history; it might apply only to some
schizo-affective conditions (which are not the same as schizophrenia), (2) a
portion of cases of mental problems are caused directly by a perception of
being sexually or socially persecuted, resulting in mistrust and paranoia,
(3) psychiatric conditions may be imputed or ascribed to a person which do
not really exist, on spurious grounds, without establishing correctly what
is really the matter with a person, so that somebody is stuck with a label
that doesn't really apply anyway, and more problems are created than are
really there. At most you might be able to prove that better mating habits
might cause fewer mental problems, but there exist no social mechanisms
which can guarantee this beyond the growth of social knowledge and social

The biggest problem remains an accurate diagnosis of mental problems, I
think, which takes time and resources to make - time which may not be
available. Appropriate psychiatric care takes time, skill and resources
which are often not available, and then it seems easier to simply define a
condition, prescribe medication and/or institutionalise somebody (insofar as
they cannot function socially at an acceptable level). Usually there is one
level of care for those who can pay, and another level of care for those who
cannot pay (or, sadly, no care at all).

I have not read anything about how citizens actually cope with this in Iraq,
but typically famine and war causes a lot of extra mental problems, with the
tragedy that providing help is low on the priority list.

It always strikes me as a little peculiar that a brilliant psychologist like
Carl Jung, who dallied with the Nazis, showed no profound understanding that
war-mongering political movements can create large numbers of mental
problems lasting for generations (by contrast, Wilhhelm Reich was very aware
of it). If Jung had known just how many psychiatric and psychological
disorders were the result for post-world war 2 generations, then quite
possibly he would have had nothing to do with the Nazis at all. But why,
with his profound insight in the human psyche, was Jung unable to diagnose
Nazi pathology before it reached its full, terrifying expression ?


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