View Full Version : Doubts about chemical causes of mental disorders


sarek
09-07-15, 05:30 AM
I came across this article, which while itself not a scientific article as such, provides plenty of links for follow up. The article raises doubts about the conventional ideas that chemical imbalances are the cause of many mental disorders.

Article from Wake-Up World (http://www.printfriendly.com/print?url=http://wakeup-world.com/2015/09/06/the-fiction-of-adhd-and-the-chemical-imbalance-theory-of-mental-illness/wuw_paginate/disabled/)

Abi
09-07-15, 05:36 AM
Busy working for once, no time to read it, but I suspect quackery.

In other news, someone said marry your best friend.

You game? I could really use EU citizenship.

Unmanagable
09-07-15, 08:46 AM
Sounds pretty accurate and quite comparable to the current zoo-like state of things to me:

These examples of what is termed zoochosis are quite obvious; these animals are not sick, but in fact they are intelligent enough to realize, despite their limited experience, that they are prisoners and there is much more to life than this constrained existence they have been presented. The animals start to get stressed, anxious and erratic, and display symptoms of psychosis. Something that quite rarely takes place in natural habititats – but is all too common in zoos.

namazu
09-07-15, 12:27 PM
I agree with the authors that the "dopamine deficiency" hypothesis of ADHD and the "serotonin deficiency" hypothesis of depression are oversimplifications. That's fairly well established by the (even mainstream!) scientific literature.

However, they lost me when they started plugging books by doctors like Fred Baughman, who is affiliated with a prominent anti-psychiatry cult.

I also don't think the "zoochosis" hypothesis fits well for most people. Sure, there are kids (and adults) whose educational / work environments are poorly suited to their personal styles, and for them, that mismatch undoubtedly exacerbates -- or even causes -- the problem. But it doesn't explain the many people whose ADHD symptoms are clearly evident outside of school or work settings, or whose symptoms don't resolve when they are allowed to pick their environment. Unless you take the big-picture "the world is all wrong" view, in which there is no way to find a suitable environment -- in which case, we're back to trying to figure out why some individuals struggle more than others.

Just because the "chemical imbalance" hypotheses are overly simplistic doesn't mean that ADHD (or depression) are exclusively disorders of the environment. Just because brain scans are not (yet!) sufficiently sensitive or specific to be used for diagnostic purposes does not mean there are not well-documented differences in brain structure at the group level.

aeon
09-07-15, 01:00 PM
Well, we know that adjustment of neurotransmitters sometimes results in a degree of relief for many psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders.

That said, the idea that imbalance of neurotransmitters is causative to any psychiatric disorder is, at this point in time, theory.

Who’s to say said imbalance isn’t a result?

My sense is that our understanding of the human body is far too simple to understand this one way or the other, and to add to that, culture is a huge impediment to the possibility of such understanding.


Cheers,
Ian

Lunacie
09-07-15, 01:12 PM
I doubt it's going to be as simple as a single gene, as seen in Down's syndrome.

It could be a combination of two or more genes. It could be a lack of cortical
thickening, or a smaller brain overall.

However, at this time the best treatment has been stimulant meds. Until we
know more, it makes sense to go with what works most often, no?

Corina86
09-07-15, 01:23 PM
I would never read an article from a website called Wake-Up World. At least they didn't add "sheepie" into the title. I won't risk giving them more page views.

dvdnvwls
09-07-15, 03:21 PM
If ADHD had purely environmental causes, wouldn't there have to be populations or events in which ADHD rates were significantly higher, observable on a gross level? For example, when a war breaks out, during a famine, among certain groups of people such as people who are rich, people who are poor, cold climates, hot climates, something? But this hasn't been observed. There wasn't an ADHD epidemic anywhere ever, and IMO for the purely-environment idea to succeed there would need to have been several.

KarmanMonkey
09-08-15, 11:27 AM
This article made some interesting points; I remember disagreeing with a couple of the points, but on the whole they make a good argument:

http://www.printfriendly.com/print/?source=homepage&url=https%3A%2F%2Fchriskresser.com%2Fthe-chemical-imbalance-myth%2F

I've always felt that psyc meds were like painting the screen to try and change the movie. It's a crude blunt instrument that doesn't really do anything to address the root issue.

That being said, the meds are the most effective intervention we've found for a lot of issues, and can be a life-changer for we ADDults.

I do feel that there are professionals out there who honestly feel that adjusting one or two chemicals can 'fix' an incredibly complicated system, and I have a problem with anyone taking such a simplistic view of such a complex organ we know so very little about.

aeon
09-08-15, 11:50 AM
I've always felt that psyc meds were like painting the screen to try and change the movie. It's a crude blunt instrument that doesn't really do anything to address the root issue.

I can appreciate this sentiment.

That said, sometimes the crude blunt instrument achieves the desired end result, even if the root issue isnít addressed, and thatís good enough.

And for sure, I know that there are many root issues that will never be fixed, even with the sharpest of best-of-class scalpels. For these, a compromise is always the best we can do. Accepting that is part of the efficacy of the treatment.

Of course, in absence of actual understanding of the body, amelioration of symptoms is the deal we often settle for. And a little relief is a welcome thing if that is all that is on offer.

And if the brain is the part of the body to be treated, we may be forever limited because of the molecular limits of the brain-blood barrier.


Iím rambling,
Ian

SB_UK
09-08-15, 11:49 PM
I came across this article, which while itself not a scientific article as such, provides plenty of links for follow up. The article raises doubts about the conventional ideas that chemical imbalances are the cause of many mental disorders.

Article from Wake-Up World (http://www.printfriendly.com/print?url=http://wakeup-world.com/2015/09/06/the-fiction-of-adhd-and-the-chemical-imbalance-theory-of-mental-illness/wuw_paginate/disabled/)

medical disorder of ADHD - increased sensitivity + stress to increased sensitivity

- stress to increased sensitivity can include (amongst others - workplace stress, educational stress, stress of'other people') one of the many artificial (inappropriate) chemicals (from processed foods, processed oils, through excess sugar-filled diets to immersion in grains, pesticides, MSG, aspartame etc alongside fossil fuel based fertilizers (so so many !!)) ... ... which we've introduced into our shared environment.