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  • New Study Bluntly Tears Into Modern Psychiatry, Urges Reconsiderations

    Daily Surge Summary: New study has some harsh criticisms of diagnosing techniques popular in modern psychiatry.

    A claim coming out of the United Kingdom – that no two people are exactly alike and, therefore, classifying each unique individual’s mental health condition into neat categories just doesn’t work – is sure to attract some attention; not all of it favorable.

    Due to multiple factors, mental illness diagnoses are exploding – more than ever before, some say. This rise can be attributed to the popularity of social media and increased screen time. Another partial explanation could be people’s increasing willingness to admit they’re having mental health issues in the first place.

    Whatever the cause, since it’s generally believed that a psychiatric diagnosis is the first step to recovery, many would regard this information as good news.

    That’s why a new study, conducted at the University of Liverpool and published in the scientific journal Psychiatry Research,

    has raised eyebrows by concluding that psychiatric diagnoses are “scientifically meaningless,” and worthless as tools to accurately identify and address mental distress at an individual level.

    Granted, that assessment might be overstating things some, but how about viewing it at minimum as a yellow flag for the psychiatry community? An excuse for their applying a dash of humility to the prosecution of their trade?

    Researchers performed a detailed analysis on five of the most important chapters in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (DSM). The DSM is considered the definitive guide for mental health professionals, and provides descriptions for all mental health problems and their symptoms. The five chapters analyzed were: bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, and trauma-related disorders. [John Anderer/ Breaking Christian News/ Studyfinds.org]

    The fall out? Researchers gleaned a number of troubling conclusions.

    There is a significant amount of overlap in symptoms between disorder diagnoses, despite the fact that each diagnosis utilizes different decision rules.

    Additionally, the role of traumatic or other adverse events a person may encounter in their life is completely ignored by these diagnoses.

    And very disconcerting, researchers declared these diagnoses are insufficiently personalized; that is, they provide woefully insufficient details about the individual patient and what type of treatments will be best for him/her.

    The authors ultimately conclude that this diagnostic labeling approach is “a disingenuous categorical system.”

    “Although diagnostic labels create the illusion of an explanation they are scientifically meaningless and can create stigma and prejudice. I hope these findings will encourage mental health professionals to think beyond diagnoses and consider other explanations of mental distress, such as trauma and other adverse life experiences [,]” lead researcher Dr. Kate Allsopp explains in a release.

    The study’s authors charge the current, preferred traditional diagnostic system

    wrongly assumes that any and all mental distress is caused by a disorder, and relies far too heavily on subjective ideas about what is considered “normal.”

    “Perhaps it is time we stopped pretending that medical-sounding labels contribute anything to our understanding of the complex causes of human distress or of what kind of help we need when distressed [,]” Professor John Read comments.

    People are complex; life is complex. Attempts to solve the life problems of people is, thus, predictably, going to carry an element of complexity in them. That complicating factor is a bummer, sure enough – but ignoring it doesn’t make the nettle go away.

    So, here we have another reason to challenge the impression that doctor’s or other medical professionals are God: all-powerful, ever-wise, omni-competent for resolving every issue.

    Medical science, transparently can play a signal role. But more is needed if people are going to make it through their mental health struggles: a network of healthy relationships, for example, including a relationship with the Creator is recommended.

    Image: Adapted from kalhh from Pixabay 


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