Paul McHugh on Junk Psychiatry

Paul McHugh is former chair of psychiatry and now University Professor at Johns Hopkins.

Here he talks about Psychiatry and some psych misadventures in junk science.

A little tease from this essay in The American Scholar.

He faults the antipsychiatry psychiatrists, (Tom Szasz and R. D. Laing included) for the
suspicions raised. The psychiatric results of these doubters was to deny needy patients! Patients
became “psychiatrically oppressed.” It became fashionable to ignore the needs of patients and to
focus on psychiatric practice. This was a gross oversimplification. It is not true that
schizophrenics are living their own “life style.” McHugh sees them as “needing care.” Psychiatry
is not a mendacious institution but a loving and caring one. It should promote a sympathetic
understanding of patients. That’s where the emphasis should be: on patients.

He then goes on to examine three major faults of “trendy psychiatry”: the mentally ill homeless,
sex change surgery and, most recently, MPD, the result of childhood sexual abuse.

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4 responses to “Paul McHugh on Junk Psychiatry

  1. “I am the great and powerful Wizard of Oz.”
    “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.”

  2. First, I’d like to express the opinion that psychiatrists are not the brightest bulbs on the tree, and that self-awareness (aka intra-personal intelligence) is not the strongest suit of most psychiatrists. How else can we explain their propensity for caving in to mindless fads, like therapist-facilitated ‘recovered memories’ of childhood sexual abuse.

    Hey, psychiatrists! Can you say, “Groupthink?”

    On a more specific note, I’d like to add a bit to McHugh’s opinion about sex change operations, with the caveat that I’m not very well informed on the subject.

    That said, my understanding is that people, who feel that they’re trapped in a body type corresponding to the wrong gender, tend to be extremely unhappy about that situation. If this hasn’t already been done, we should gather biostatistics on suicide rates for two subsets of this population: those who can afford full-house SRS and who choose this particular medical option, as compared with those who cannot and therefore do not.

    Depending on the results of these studies, SRS may prove to be justified as a valid medical option for suicide prevention — not to mention the well being of patients.

    As secondary issue is whether the goobermint could justify mandating that insurance companies pay for SRS under Obamacare, which is necessarily rationed. Could scarce medical dollars save more lives if directed to other types of health care? (Example: routine pediatric care.) If not, SRS could still continue under a two-tier system.

    I agree with McHugh that there may prove to be realistic, less drastic alternatives to SRS — and to hormone treatments without SRS. Let’s allocate more medical research money to explore this possibility. If it pans out, let’s refrain from shoving it down anyone’s throat.

    Moreover the putative link between homosexuality and extreme gender dysphasia has been falsified in the two decades since McHugh wrote this article. A person who has had SRS can go in either direction — or in both directions — with respect to sexual orientation.

  3. Interlineal P.E.Ruser _ P.robable E.rror

    Before we attempt faulting the work of R.D. Laing and Tom Szasz in any way we must first of all sit back and take a long hard look at that which Dr. David Rosenhan uncovered with his:

    *The Rosenhan Experiment* [Wikipedia].

    Even when the staff at the targetted hospitals in the latter part of Rosenhan’s study were made well aware that some of their new patients might be faking symptoms the staff still made many errors in diagnosing those who came through their doors.

    Your average prospective patient is never able to embrace any watertight guarantee that their psychiatrist does not have any mental problems themself because your average prospective patient is not well-versed in the complexities of the human brain, and to completely accept the opinion[s] of any another psychiatrist[s] that your psychiatrist has no mental problems is highly risible.

    Always remember that the local mechanic’s very own vehicle is usually the least mechanically-sound vehicle of all on the road. Keep your wits about you at all ti_mes’sing with your head.

  4. There are usually not many websites with info like this man! Bookmarked!

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