The Scientific Method and Psychiatry
Psychiatry: Claims to be a science.
In talking to people in general, the feeling is that for the most part psychiatry is benign. The understood purpose is to help people that are dealing with anything from ADHD to Depression to Psychosis.
Automobile Seat Belts - An Analogy
Normally, when one sets out to fix something, they would measure adequately to know if the results warranted continuing.
For example, let’s take car fatalities. Years ago, in the 1950s and 1960s, seatbelts were not mandatory. A lot of people were severely injured or died as a result.
In 1968 seat belts were made mandatory for all cars in the USA. From there, mandatory use followed in all states and Canada. Took a few years but….
Here is a reference from the Journal of The Royal Society of Medicine showing the before and after statistics of injuries and deaths with respect to seatbelts:
“The number of those who escaped injury increased by 40% and those with mild and moderate injuries decreased by 35% after seatbelt legislation. There was a significant reduction in soft tissue injuries to the head.”
A 40% reduction in deaths is a significant reason to continue to enforce the use of seat belts.
What about Big Pharma and Psychiatry
Big Pharma and the psychiatric industry market depression drugs like Zoloft, Lexapro, Prozac and Cymbalta which if you think about it, should result in far few people being depressed. The result of that would be fewer suicides. One would think.
The problem with the psychiatric industry is that the ‘solutions’ they use mask or bury the problem. An active child that the parents don’t have time for: put him on a drug that quiets him. Turns him or her (usually him) into a zombie and mom and dad who don’t really have time to deal with the noise of their child, are happy because said child is quiet and not in their hair. Thus, Mom and Dad are convinced of the success of the drug.
Here is how it should work. There is such as thing as the Scientific Method. It is the logical, agreed upon procedure for figuring ‘stuff’ out.
Science:(Definition) A fact in science is when some happens the same every time in the same set of circumstances. (definition.org)
Science: (Definition): a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws.
Science(Definition): The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment. Oxford Dictionary
So, we want facts and truths. Simple, right?
The Scientific Method:
The steps of the scientific method go something like this:
1. Make an observation or observations.
2. Ask questions about the observations and gather information.
3. Form a hypothesis — a tentative description of what's been observed, and make predictions based on that hypothesis.
4. Test the hypothesis and predictions in an experiment that can be reproduced.
5. Analyze the data and draw conclusions; accept or reject the hypothesis or modify the hypothesis if necessary.
6. Reproduce the experiment until there are no discrepancies between observations and theory. "Replication of methods and results is my favorite step in the scientific method," Moshe Pritsker, a former post-doctoral researcher at Harvard Medical School and CEO of JoVE, told Live Science. "The reproducibility of published experiments is the foundation of science. No reproducibility – no science.”
Taking the car/seat belt example from above, the Scientific Method applied properly saved countless lives.
Insulated Winter Boots - Another Analogy
If one were running a business; let’s say making high quality insulated winter boots. If they kept people feet warm, they would be successful. If 80% of the time, they did not keep people’s feet warm, it is very likely that people would stop buying them.
So, using this analogy, let’s say the marketing was good but as time went on more and more people were using these ‘wonder boots’. But more and more people were walking about with freezing feet and getting frostbite and worse but the boot people marketing would just tell them they need more of these boots. A second pair or change to another pair of boots that are also not properly insulated but, what the hell, we are making a bundle of money, so who cares. Then the boot manufacturers lobby the government representatives and get laws passed that enforce people to wear these boots. They get papers written on how effective these boots are.
People still have cold feet. So, now they convince the people with cold feet that it is their problem and not a problem with the boots. Tell them how they are mentally blocking their feet from getting warm.
Not very good Scientific Method. The solution would be to make a boot that worked. Use that method to actually make a boot that kept your feet warm.
So, what of the Pharmaceutical Industry and psychiatry. One would assume they have done adequate testing on their drugs and various techniques and procedures. Maybe, maybe not.
Let us take depression stats as example. Psychiatry and Big Pharma have been pushing this one hard for a number of years and pumping various anti-depression drugs into their US the rest of the world for years now.
“… The incidence of suicide increased 30% from 1999 to 2016.”
And concurrent with the increase in suicides:
“The total number of prescriptions dispensed has risen 46.8% in the last 10 years, from 752m items in 2006 to 1.1bn last year. The average number of items prescribed for each person has gone up …”
In the USA:
“The rate of antidepressant use in the United States increased nearly 400 percent over the last two decades, according to a report released Oct. 19.”
These drugs are supposed to make things better. But, if I’m to line up these two preceding facts, I should get a bit worried. The rate of suicides follows the rate of increased use of anti-depressants.
A comment on psychiatry’s use of The Scientific Method:
“…it ignores much of the genuine science there is and goes on supporting and perpetuating concepts and treatments that have little scientific support.”
By Sami Timimi, MD from madinamerica.com
And from same article, Dr Timimi shows more of the total lack of Scientific Method. Giving the example of ADHD he clearly points out that diagnosing this so called disease has absolutely nothing to do with science:
“Consider the following example: If I were to ask the question “what is ADHD?” it is not possible for me to answer that question by reference to a particular known pathological abnormality. Instead I will have to provide a description, such as ADHD is the presence of the behaviours of hyperactivity, impulsivity, and poor attention (plus a few extra qualifiers such as age of onset). Contrast this with asking the question “what is diabetes?” If I were to answer this question in the same manner by just describing symptoms such as needing to urinate excessively, thirst and fatigue, I could be in deep trouble as a medical practitioner as there are plenty of other conditions that may initially present with these symptoms and diabetes itself may not present with these symptoms in a recognizable way. In order to answer the question “what is diabetes?” I have to refer to its pathology involving abnormalities of sugar metabolism. I would get independent (to my subjective opinion) empirical data to support my hypothesis about what may be causing the patient’s described experiences (such as testing the urine and/or blood for levels of glucose). In the rest of medicine, therefore, my diagnosis explains and has some causal connection with the behaviours/symptoms that are described. Diagnosis in that context sits in a ‘technical’ explanatory framework. In psychiatry, what we are calling diagnosis (such as ADHD) will only describe but is unable to explain”.
This is only one example, where, in psychiatry there is no standard response or technique. There is no Scientific Method applied to issues like depression or ADHD. If it was applied then it would follow that there would be fewer and fewer people depressed and fewer and fewer suicides. But the opposite is happening. Make it as complicated as you want. All of the obfuscation in the world doesn’t change the fact that these drugs are making things worse.
When confronted with information like above, a Big Pharma representative will likely tell you “…it is more complicated than that…”. They will try and ‘baffle you with bullshit’. Answers are generally simple. Even for big issues. It is not really complicated.
If you are applying a solution to a problem and that problem gets worse, then stop for god’s sake! Big Pharma and the psychiatric industry are driving the suicide rate out the roof.
A real test would be to stop feeding people drugs like Prozac, Ritalin and Zoloft and watch depression and suicides plummet.
So why, then, to people consider psychiatry a science?