I try to avoid Dr. David Allen’s blog Family Dysfunction and Mental Health, because, Dr. Allen, alas, does not understand schizophrenia and seems resistant to ex-patients explaining to him that their issues relate in some way to overt trauma or family dysfunction. Some of my blog’s energetic readers have taken him on in the past, but to no avail. He, like 99.9% of psychiatrists, thinks schizophrenia is always the special case, some kind of weird creature unrelated to trauma and not treatable in a trauma-related context. Family dysfunction only has an impact on other conditions, apparently.
None-the-less, Dr. Allen’s latest blog post, linking the increase in psychiatric diagnoses to the disability benefits juggernaut is quite interesting, and he makes some good points. I also have to give Dr. Allen credit that his blog is open to all, unlike some sites where you have to be a mental health “professional” to sign in and comment.
However, then there is Dr. James Woods comment to the Allen post below. Can you imagine getting better if Dr. Woods (or 99.9% of psychiatrists) was your shrink? Before you take on a shrink (and yes, they can be helpful), find out how schizo positive he or she is. My educated guess is that most psychiatrists will say all the right things, but keep you on the drugs and other dependencies because they really see you as mentally disabled. Here’s a nasty thought of mine. Homosexuality as a mental illness label got away from psychiatry in the 1970s through mass action by the gay rights movement, but “schizophrenics” will have difficulty organizing themselves against psychiatry if they are on disability and heavily drugged. Truly a malicious thought on my part.
Kudos for an extremely well-written and timely article, David.
As a psychiatrist myself, I try to avoid disabling people and rather concentrate my efforts on enabling people.
While certainly there are some diseases such as classic autism, moderate to severe schizophrenia, moderate mental retardation etc. which require disability, (and I am delighted to participate in securing disability services for these patients) we must remember as psychiatrists that many of our disorders are episodic; and tend to get better with treatment.
We need love (sic) work and play.
James Woods M.D.
I guess Dr. Woods does not consider people with schizophrenia as people, otherwise he, too, would avoid disabling them. Anyone want to picket his office? Oh darn, he didn’t leave an address!