Saturday, June 26, 2010

An attack on psychiatry


Stop Psychiatric Damaging

By Dr. Joseph Isaac

Rs. 125. Published by The Book Digest, Kottayam

By Shevlin Sebastian

Many years ago I was staying in the ground floor apartment of a building at Kolkata. On the first floor there lived a Parsi youth, Dinshaw Mistry (name changed). Dinshaw suffered from schizophrenia. When I talked with him, occasionally, he would say that Lata, who lived on the third floor, had sent a message through a wireless transmitter, saying, “I love you Dinshaw.” Sadly, it was a flight of fantasy on his part.

It was a rare day when Dinshaw was in a lively mood. Most of the time, he looked dull and morose. “The psychiatrist has given me some strong medicines,” he used to say, by way of explanation.

One day, probably because of the drugs, he went up to the terrace of a nearby building, climbed the parapet, and jumped. Thankfully, Dinshaw hit the branch of a tree, which broke his fall, and so he survived, but with a damaged spine. His father told me later that when the psychiatrist came to know about the suicide attempt, he increased the dosage of drugs.

All these memories of Dinshaw came flooding back when I read, ‘Stop Psychiatric Damaging’ by Dr. Joseph Isaac, a clinical psychologist at the Government Medical College, Kottayam. The theme that runs through the book is that “psychiatric drugs damage the body, brain, and the overall personality.” The author states that patients who are addicted to these drugs become disillusioned and helpless.

Regarding schizophrenia, Isaac says that it cannot be measured by blood tests or brain imaging. “Psychiatrists are misleading the people by attributing a medical status to schizophrenia,” he says. “In fact, nobody knows what causes the disorder.”

Dr. Thomas Szasz, Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus at the State University of New York, says, “Psychiatry is one of the greatest destructive forces. It makes people consume toxins as a panacea for their emotional starvation.”

Isaac argues that mental disorders are not diseases which can be cured by taking drugs. Instead, it is only through counselling, relaxation techniques, and encouragement that a person can be healed.

‘Stop Psychiatric Damaging’ is a passionate book about the dangers of psychiatry. Isaac says that it is clinical psychology, and not psychiatry, which can heal patients. For those who know somebody, who is suffering from a mental disorder, and want to provide the right help, this is a must-read.

(The New Indian Express, Kerala)

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