|General Discussion Open discussion about Paxil, Paxil Withdrawal, successes and progress, good stories and bad, with and without.|
|07-13-2004, 06:37 PM||#1|
Join Date: Apr 2004
Reducing the Brain, Ignoring the Soul
Reducing the Brain, Ignoring the Soul
Grace E. Jackson, MD
December 5, 2002
The TV commercial shows a bouncing ball, frowning before the onset of therapy
with the appropriate pill. The announcer reminds viewers that they may be
suffering from a chemical imbalance, for which medical help is readily
available. They should ask their doctors if they have symptoms of clinical
depression for which the specific remedy should be swallowed. The ad closes with
a picture of the animated ball (post-medication), smiling broadly before
skipping out of view.
A psychiatry residency program drills its junior clinicians in the art of
medical clearance. Before any patient may be admitted to the inpatient
psychiatry ward, the admitting resident must demonstrate that symptoms are not
the result of an undiagnosed or unstable "medical" condition. To this end, vital
signs are taken; EKGs and x-rays are performed; and a variety of blood and urine
tests are obtained. Only if, and when, a patient's neurobehavioral symptoms are
determined to be non-organic in origin (or if organically caused, then the
product of a stable underlying condition) is the patient deemed appropriate for
treatment on the psychiatric ward of the hospital.
"Non-organic in origin." "Medically cleared." Then the same psychiatrist
determines that the patient must be treated for a medical condition, with
pharmaceutical agents. The doctrine of biological psychiatry commands its
adherents to medicate people for speculative or presumptive chemical disorders,
despite the lack of evidence that such a disturbance ever exists.
There are at least five problems with the chemical imbalance model of mental
1) the model ignores the reality that there has never been a consistently
reproducible biological marker, to substantiate the levels of normal or abnormal
neurotransmitters in the human nervous system
2) the model fails to respect the enormous complexity of neurotransmission in
the human brain:
a) there are over five kinds of dopamine receptors which have been characterized
to date, and even
the best researchers know nothing about the D5 subtype
b) there are five separate kinds of cholinergic receptors
c) there are fifteen different kinds of serotonin receptors
d) neuroscientists do not yet understand the relationship between neuroreceptor
density, sensitivity, or neurotransmitter turnover
3) the model fails to consider the fact that many of the neurochemicals which
are presumed to be the basis of "mental disease" are, in fact, broadly
distributed throughout the body. This fact casts doubt about our
conceptualization of "brain tissue" (perhaps it is not limited to the cranial
vault) and also raises questions about the reliability of serum or urine tests,
as those assays may be capturing levels which reflect non-brain locations of
a) over 90% of the serotonin in the human body is made by the enterochromaffin
cells of the stomach and small intestine, rather than the raphe nucleus of the
midbrain and pons
b) a broad variety of cells in the human body possess receptors for many of the
neurotransmitters, including white blood cells and platelets
4) the model fails to acknowledge the impossibility of measuring discrete events
in the human brain, due to the speed of neurotransmission; and due to the
relative bulk of our measuring devices, relative to the size and complexity of
5) the model fails to acknowledge the impossibility of explaining the brain in
reductionistic terms. That is to say, the organic whole may so far exceed the
sum of the component parts, that science will never be able to fully explain the
workings of this magnificent system. Part of the problem here is that the brain
is never capable of being studied in a vacuum - the system is forever open, due
to the conscious, and unconscious, processes of the subject who is being
observed. Part of the problem, too, arises from the phenomenon of diaschisis, or
non-local effects, through which changes in one part of the brain reflect, and
then precipitate, complex cascades of events in multiple locations throughout
the nervous system. Thus, it is impossible to speak of serotonin or dopamine
without analyzing the interactions of all complex chemicals, peptides, and amino
acids upon each other, but far too little research has occurred to study the
gestalt of these intercommunications.
The human brain consists of over 100 billion neurons, an equal number of support
cells (glia), and dozens of neurotransmitters and neuromodulators, all of which
participate in the most intricate network known to man. Superimposed upon this
incredible array of cognition, sensation, movement, and imagination is the human
will. Biological psychiatry, and its TV commercials, seem to have completely
dismissed this essential element of the species. While it has become fashionable
to compare the human brain to the elements of a computer - the brain tissue,
comprising the hardware; and the neuronal circuits and chemical events,
comprising the software - it has become disturbingly acceptable to reject the
existence of a third component: the operator, who sits at the keyboard.
Humans are corporeal beings, who record the events of life with electrical and
chemical fluctuations of a highly refined nervous system. Unfortunately, the
chemical model of mental illness has too often confused association with
causation. Worse, still, it has failed the species more fundamentally , by
suggesting that fluctuations in brain activity occur randomly, and are
ultimately more important than the processes through which the human operator
comes to work at the keyboard of such an amazing machine.
|07-14-2004, 12:01 PM||#2|
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: montréal, canada
can you print that and send it to every doctor in the world who is prescribing AD, anxiolitics and neuroleptics????
The sad thing is, I had a psychiatry class in medical school and I was never thought that... can you believe it? So forget your inferiority complex with doctors : if you have read and understood these explanations, you are more aware than the majority of doctors!!!
paxil free since july 2003
Still dealing with agoraphobia and anxiety
|07-14-2004, 12:17 PM||#3|
Join Date: Apr 2004
That is exactly what i thought Gen.
It became very apparent to me during my withdrawal just how much of the body was affected by this drug. and it still seems that way.
Why do i still have to fight with irritable bowel syndrome if i was on a brain drug. my colon is nowhere near my brain (no jokes please).
but it was immediately effected when i started taking paxil.
It really makes me mad that neither my prescribing doctor nor my shrink of 2 years cares to discuss the effect of SSRIs at all with me at this point. probably because i can talk circles around them now.
My shrink suggesting that we should just start trying various drugs to see which might work for me. Yeah....there is a good idea.....just start guinea pigging me from one chemical to the next and where my brain stops no one knows!!!
an now....no one wants to say a word about what i have been thru.
|07-14-2004, 12:33 PM||#4|
Join Date: Apr 2002
Beverly, that is one of the BEST articles I've seen yet that DEBUNKS chemical imbalance nonsense. Thank you so much for sharing it.
Human beings are indeed complex mechanisms, and our medicine is still extremely primitive. It's advanced compared to a hundred years ago, but in the grand scheme, we are but children playing with a butter knife.
One thing medicine has always been extremely advanced at is : EGO.
Panic attacks started Dec/1996
Zoloft summer 1998 (quit CT after a few days - bad reaction)
10mg Paxil fall 1998 / 20mg Paxil winter 1999
10mg September 2000 / 5mg October 2000 / FREE November 2000
Intense Withdrawal symptoms well into 2001
Withdrawal symptoms freedom by 2002