Monday, July 6, 2015

Berezin's manifesto

Finally, we come the current incarnation of somatic psychiatry - neurobiological psychiatry, and its so-called treatment—drugs. Psychiatric drugs are next in the lineage of “treatments” whose focus is to act upon the physical brain. History is repeating itself. Our contemporary science has now apparently proven that human problems come from genetic or developmental neurobiological disorders of the physical, anatomical, biochemical brain. The somatic treatments for these neurobiological, genetic, synaptic hormonal neurotransmitter diseases are brain drugs—psychoactive drugs.

In one generation, the APA, in collusion with the drug companies have destroyed psychiatry. The American Public has been sold a bill of goods. People actually believe that human struggle is a brain disease. It is now taken as fact that there is a chemical imbalance in the brain and psychoactive drugs is just what the doctor ordered. We can now cure biological depression with antidepressants; biological anxiety with benzodiazepines; the fictitious ADHD with, of all things, amphetamines; insomnia with benzodiazepines, and other bizarre psychoactive drugs; Likewise the belief is that schizophrenia and manic-depression should be treated with drugs (In my experience, there may be a place for the use of some drugs – In schizophrenia when the self and its primal play flies apart, it generates a state of terror, the dimensions of which are far more powerful than regular anxiety. The resultant terror/rage is the worst and most unbearably frightening state of all potential human experience. And likewise, in manic-depression the central feature is that feeling, which is ultimately a rage state, cannot be contained by the ruptured play. It spins out of control without limits. However, drugs are not the treatment. The issues are not some brain thing, but human issues. People with schizophrenia and manic-depression are no different from you and me. The appropriate treatment is psychotherapy which deals with the human story.)

The real source of human suffering is not, nor ever has been, the brain. The issues are in the person, the human being, in the context of damage to the play of consciousness, created by deprivation and abuse in the formation of our character. My life’s work has taught me that the art, the science, the discipline, and the wisdom of psychotherapy attends to this damage. There are no miracles and no shortcuts, as drugs, like the other somatic therapies, always promise. Never mind the harm done. We have repeated the same mistakes over and over again, and we are doing so today.It doesn’t seem to matter that the chemical imbalance theory has been discredited. It doesn’t seem to matter that the multibillion dollar pharmaceutical industry and its influence peddling in academic psychiatry has been exposed as financially and scientifically corrupted and manipulated. The drug companies have engaged in study suppression, falsification, strategic marketing, and financial incentives. A complete picture of the studies that pretended to validate antidepressants has now emerged which confirms that they do absolutely nothing. (See – “No, it’s not the Neurotransmitters, Depression is not a biological disease cause by an imbalance of serotonin.”) It rakes in a whopping 11 Billion dollars a year for the drug companies. Unfortunately once people embrace a false belief it is so hard to think clearly again. I’m told its irresponsible to be so extreme. A thoughtful psychiatrist would use both drugs and psychotherapy. Apparently this sounds reasonable in today’s climate. Doing harm is never reasonable.

Human struggle is now, and always has been, the real issue. The very idea that drugs can cure what ails is an insult to the human condition. I am well aware that the history of psychotherapy is checkered. Its practice suffered from dogmatic theories and miscast beliefs, which worked to the detriment of responsiveness to our patients. Although my own roots are in psychoanalytic psychotherapy, I moved on to develop the psychotherapy of character. It is a specialized form of human engagement that repairs the damage to one’s character by acting on the play of consciousness in the very way that it formed in the brain in the first place. All psychiatric symptoms are the expression of our problematic characters. By exploring, within the safe emotional holding by the therapist, we heal our unmourned pain and our psychiatric symptoms dissipate. We have thrown out the baby with the bathwater. There are many people who want psychiatry to be destroyed. I am not one of them. I know how valuable, life saving, and rewarding good psychiatry can be. Psychotherapy is the real item. We must get back to it. It fosters the recovery of one’s authenticity and the capacity to love. This is the source of all psychiatric struggles. It taps into the heart of life’s mysteries and wisdom.

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