Mental Illness and the Myth of "Chemical imbalances" of the brain.

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Psychiatry: Chemical imbalances are mythical

"Chemical imbalances" are to psychiatry what "the missing link" is to evolution.

There is no scientific proof that chemical imbalances even exist, must less that they cause mental illness. Drugs don't fix chemical imbalances in the brain, they create them.

Introduction:

Click to ViewSee also: History of Psychiatry homepage

  1. Most people are in for some "shock therapy" when they learn that the popular idea that mental illnesses are caused by a Chemical imbalance in the brain is a myth! It is so widely accepted, it appears "nuts" to question it as fact. Get ready for your shock! You have been lied too by mental health officials and physiatrists!
  2. Common Lies promoted by psychiatrists, drug companies and the media: "Depression is a serious medical condition", "Drugs are the most effective treatment for your serious illness", "This drug corrects biochemical imbalances in your brain", "Never fail to take this medication; it's just like insulin for diabetes."
  3. Ask your doctor exactly what chemical is out of balance in the brain of mentally ill people. If he is brave enough to offer a specific chemical, ask him why this chemical does not fix the mental illness once this chemical is added to the body like Insulin fixed Diabetes!
  4. "Chemical imbalances" are to psychiatry what "the missing link" is to evolution: NON-EXISTANT!
  5. "What about psychiatric research? We seem to be no closer [in 1991AD] to finding the real, presumed biological, causes of the major psychiatric illnesses. ... There remains much room for improvement in the management of institutions for the treatment of the mentally ill and the need for "more extensive and more correct knowledge" is unchanged. Lack of progress in the latter should not unduly hinder the former." (British Psychiatry at 150, J. Birley, Lancet, 1991 AD)
  6. "As one of our colleagues recently said, "Biochemical imbalances are the only diseases spread by word of mouth."" (Your Drug May Be Your Problem, Peter Breggin, David Cohen, 2007 AD, p 24)
  7. Neuroleptic and anti-psychotic drugs do not fix this imagined "chemical imbalance" but merely tranquilize and stupefy.
  8. The truth is, the vast majority of mentally ill people have perfectly healthy and normal bodies. It is their spirit that is sick, not their body.
  9. Amazingly, Psychiatrists, medical doctors and neuroscientists (and informed Christians), know there is no scientific proof that mental illness is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. However mental health organizations that provide "information pamphlets" to the general public do the dirty work of lying and propagating this myth.
  10. The truth is, that Chemical imbalances are a "theoretical" cause of mental illness based upon the "fact" of evolution. Problem is, there is no scientific proof of evolution either! Christians need their eyes opened to both satanic lies!
  11. 200 years ago, some doctors believed insanity was caused by some brain disease. Pinel was smart enough to reject this and cure many people with his moral treatments that are no longer used today: "Derangement of the understanding is generally considered as an effect of an organic lesion of the brain, consequently as incurable; a supposition that is, in a great number of instances, contrary to anatomical fact. Public asylums for maniacs have been regarded as places of confinement for such of its members as are become dangerous to the peace of society. The managers of those institutions, who are frequently men of little knowledge and less humanity, have been permitted to exercise towards their innocent prisoners a most arbitrary system of cruelty and violence; while experience affords ample and daily proofs of the happier effects of a mild, conciliating treatment, rendered effective by steady and dispassionate firmness." (A Treatise on Insanity, Philippe Pinel, 1806 AD)
  12. Pinel correctly understood that insanity was a spiritual problem, not a physical disease: "It is to be hoped, that the science of medicine will one day proscribe [condemn] the very vague and inaccurate expressions of "images traced in the brain, the unequal determination of blood into different parts of this viscus, the irregular movements of the animal spirits," &c. expressions which are to be met with in the best writings that have appeared on the human understanding, but which do not accord with the origin, the causes, and the history of insanity. The nervous excitement, which characterises the greatest number of cases, affects not the system physically by increasing muscular power and action only, but likewise the mind, by exciting a consciousness of supreme importance and irresistible strength. Entertaining a high Opinion of his capacity of resistance, a maniac often indulges in the most extravagant flights of fancy and caprice; and, upon attempts being made to repress or coerce him, aims furious blows at his keeper, and wages war against as many of the servants or attendants as he supposes he can well master. If met however, by a force evidently and convincingly superior, he submits without opposition or violence. This is a great and invaluable secret in the management of well regulated hospitals. I have known it prevent many fatal accidents, and contribute greatly towards the cure of insanity. I have, however, seen the nervous excitement in question, in some few instances, become extremely obstinate and incoercible. (A Treatise on Insanity, Philippe Pinel, 1806 AD)
  13. "This plethora of drugs reflects the psychiatric view, now widely held, that the vexations of life are due to mental diseases caused by chemical imbalances in the brain, and that these can be effectively treated by a rebalancing of the chemicals. Two hundred years ago psychiatrists claimed that mental diseases were due to humoral imbalances in the body, including the brain, which could be rebalanced with appropriate physical treatments. No one has ever demonstrated the existence of diseases affecting the "mind," much less of humoral and chemical imbalances that were causing them. Unlike the history of medicine, the history of psychiatry consists largely of critiques of its own prevailing practices. The critiques are of two very different kinds. One type, the large majority, is reformist: its targets are defined by and change with psychiatry's prevailing practices—from commitment laws to shock therapies, to the DSM, to psychopharmacology. The other type is radical: its targets are constant and focus on psychiatry's core defects—the nonexistence of mental diseases and the wrongfulness of depriving innocent persons of liberty." (Coercion as Cure, Thomas Szasz, 2007 AD, p 58)
  14. Also see our section on the history of psychiatric myths:
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A. Chemical imbalances are a myth:

 

The myth of the "biological cause"

  1. Psychiatrists "claim hyperactivity in children is a 'biochemical imbalance' ...researchers cannot identify which chemicals...or find abnormal levels" in children. "The chemical imbalance theory has not been established by scientific evidence." (Thomas J. Moore, Senior Fellow in Health Policy at George Washington University Medical Center, Prescription for Disaster, 1998, p.22)
  2. "biological psychiatry does not come close to meeting scientific standards ... psychiatry has not acquired even a tiny fraction of the scientific foundation of internal medicine" " (Pseudoscience in Biological Psychiatry, Colin A. Ross, M.D., & Alvin Pam, Ph.D., 1995, p. 69, 88).
  3. "Biological psychiatry has not made a single discovery of clinical relevance in the past 10 years, despite hundreds of millions of dollars of research funding" (Pseudoscience in Biological Psychiatry, Colin A. Ross, M.D., & Alvin Pam, Ph.D., 1995, p. 116)
  4. "The fact that not a single textbook of pathology recognizes depression and schizophrenia as diseases has not in the least dampened popular and political enthusiasm for their diagnosis and treatment." (The Medicalization Of Everyday Life, Thomas Szasz, 2007 AD, p 24)
  5. "Our emotional and spiritual problems are not only seen as psychiatric disorders, they are declared to be biological and genetic in origin. The propaganda for this remarkable perspective is financed by drug companies and spread by the media, by organized psychiatry and individual doctors, by "consumer" lobbies, and even by government agencies such as the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). As a result, many educated Americans take for granted that "science" and "research" have shown that emotional upsets or "behavior problems" have biological and genetic causes and require psychiatric drugs. Indeed, they believe they are "informed" about scientific research. Few if any people realize that they are being subjected to one of the most successful public relations campaigns in history." (Your Drug May Be Your Problem, Peter Breggin, David Cohen, 2007 AD, p 22)
  6. "The more progress scientific medicine actually makes, the more undeniable it becomes that "chemical imbalances" and "hard wiring" are fashionable clichés, not evidence that problems in living are medical diseases justifiably "treated" without patient consent. ... Better to continue calling unwanted behaviors "diseases" and disturbing persons "sick," and compel them to submit to psychiatric "care."" (Coercion as Cure, Thomas Szasz, 2007 AD, p viii)
  7. "Claims that "mental illness" is caused by "biochemical imbalances" is the major public relations thrust of current drug promotion. In magazine advertisements and during consultations with doctors in their offices, potential patients are repeatedly told that psychiatric drugs "work" by correcting known "biochemical imbalances" in the brains.4 Media reports treat these claims as the gospel truth, and the American Psychiatric Association reports that 75 percent of Americans believe in them.'" (Your Drug May Be Your Problem, Peter Breggin, David Cohen, 2007 AD, p 50)
  8. "Unfortunately what I also see these days are the casualties of this new biologic psychiatry, as patients often come to me with many years of past treatment. Patients having been diagnosed with "chemical imbalances" despite the fact that no test exists to support such a claim, and that there is no real conception of what a correct chemical balance would look like. Patients with years of medication trials which have done nothing except reify in them an identity as a chronic patient with a bad brain. This identification as a biologically-impaired patient is one of the most destructive effects of biologic psychiatry." (Against Biologic Psychiatry, Dr. David Kaiser, Psychologist, Psychiatric Times, December, Dec. 1996, Vol. XIII, Issue 12)
  9. "Except for a few objectively identifiable brain diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, there are neither biological or chemical tests nor biopsy or necropsy findings for verifying or falsifying DSM diagnoses. It is noteworthy that in 1952, when the American Psychiatric Association (APA) published the first edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), it did not include hysteria in its roster of mental diseases, even though it was the most common psychiatric diagnosis-disease until that time. The term's historical and semantic allusions to women and uteruses were too embarrassing. However, the APA did not declare hysteria to be a nondisease; instead, it renamed it "conversion reaction" and "somatization disorder." Similarly, in 1973, when the APA removed homosexuality from its roster of mental illnesses, it first replaced it with ego-dystonic homosexuality; when that term, too, became an embarrassment, it too was abolished. However, psychiatric researchers lost no time "discovering" a host of new mental maladies, ranging from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder to caffeinism and pathological gambling." (Psychiatry: The Science of Lies, Thomas Szasz, 2008 AD, p 2)
  10. "The process of diagnosis is very different in psychiatry. Since there are no clear indications of a specific biological abnormality that causes any of the psychiatric disorders, no laboratory tests have been developed to confirm or refute any psychiatric diagnosis". (Richard Keefe, Philip Harvey, Understanding Schizophrenia, 1994 p 19)
  11. "As noted, the decision to take or to stop taking psychiatric drugs should be a personal one. It should not be trivialized by glib acceptance of pseudo-medical arguments from your doctor or others such as "This drug is the most effective treatment for your serious illness" or "This drug corrects biochemical imbalances in your brain" or "Never fail to take this medication; it's just like insulin for diabetes." In the field of mental health, not a single physical explanation has been confirmed for any of the hundreds of psychiatric "disorders" listed in the DSM-IV. A recent editorial in the American Journal of Psychiatry states the case plainly: "[A]s yet, we have no identified etiological agents for psychiatric disorders."' Even in this age of biological quick fixes, an increasing number of researchers are documenting the observation that nondrug approaches produce equivalent or better results than drugs. This is true even for problems considered extremely serious, such as "schizophrenia."2 Your doctor's claims to the contrary have little or no scientific basis." (Your Drug May Be Your Problem, Peter Breggin, David Cohen, 2007 AD, p 138)
  12. "The disanalogy between bodily disease and mental disease generates countless confusions, illustrated by the popular analogy between antibiotics and antipsychotics. It is reasonable to ask whether an antibiotic drug, say penicillin, cures gonorrhea, because there are objective criteria to determine whether a person has or does not have gonorrhea. But it is not reasonable to ask whether an antipsychotic drug, say Zyprexa, cures schizophrenia, because there are no objective criteria to determine whether a person has or does not have this alleged disorder. Hence, it is futile to debate whether psychotropic drugs "work." (Coercion as Cure, Thomas Szasz, 2007 AD, p" 177)
  13. "Yet conclusions such as "depression is a chemical imbalance" are created out of nothing more than semantics and the wishful thinking of scientist/psychiatrists and a public who will believe anything now that has the stamp of approval of medical science." (Against Biologic Psychiatry, Dr. David Kaiser, Psychologist, Psychiatric Times, December, Dec. 1996, Vol. XIII, Issue 12)
  14. The only evidence that makes mental illness a disease "are the symptoms used by professionals to label someone mentally ill. But the symptoms used to diagnose someone as mentally ill (despair, hopelessness, sadness, anger, shame, guilt ...) are not biological markers. There is no evidence that these expressions are physical in nature. They all point to a hurting soul." (Ty C. Colbert, Rape of the Soul, Hour the Chemical Imbalance Model of Modern Psychiatry has Faded Its Patients, 2001, p. 237-238)
  15. "Biological psychiatry has not made a single discovery of clinical relevance in the past 10 years, despite hundreds of millions of dollars of research funding" (Pseudoscience in Biological Psychiatry, Colin A. Ross, M.D., & Alvin Pam, Ph.D., 1995, p. 116)
  16. "Psychiatric drugs do not work by correcting anything wrong in the brain. We can be sure of this because such drugs affect animals and humans, as well as healthy people and diagnosed patients, in exactly the same way There are no known biochemical imbalances and no tests for them. That's why psychiatrists do not draw blood or perform spinal taps to determine the presence of a biochemical imbalance in patients. They merely observe the patients and announce the existence of the imbalances. The purpose is to encourage patients to take drugs. Ironically, psychiatric drugs cause rather than cure biochemical imbalances in the brain. In fact, the only known biochemical imbalances in the brains of patients routinely seen by mental health professionals are brought about through the prescription of mind-altering drugs. Psychiatric drugs "work" precisely by causing imbalances in the brain—by producing enough brain malfunction to dull the emotions and judgment or to produce an artificial high. Some people may choose this alternative because they do not know that other options exist or because they have lost faith in themselves and in the ability of other people to help them, or because they have been taught to believe that their brain is defective and that a drug will temporarily fix the problem." (Your Drug May Be Your Problem, Peter Breggin, David Cohen, 2007 AD, p 60)
  17. "Biologic psychiatrists often use the standards of empiricism to answer their critics, in effect saying that their claims are scientifically "proven" and thus unassailable, clearly a tautological argument. I would further add that in my view many of the claims of biologic psychiatry do not even hold up to their own standards of empirical science, for example their claims about the biologic and genetic basis of many mental illnesses." (Against Biologic Psychiatry, Dr. David Kaiser, Psychologist, Psychiatric Times, December, Dec. 1996, Vol. XIII, Issue 12)
  18. "In fact, it is heresy: a violation of the taboo against rejecting the analogy between bodily illness and mental illness. By definition, there are no mental illnesses the presence of which can be detected by objective methods such as those used in the detection of microbial diseases. If there were such methods, the conditions would not be called or considered mental illnesses and could not be treated against the patient's will." (Coercion as Cure, Thomas Szasz, 2007 AD, p 16)
  19. The Psychology Industry relies on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV) of the American Psychiatric Association, for many of the names and labels it uses . The original 1954 version served to crystallize the nineteenth-century belief that mental illnesses were biologically based and similar to physical diseases. But unlike medical diagnoses that convey a probable cause, appropriate treatment and likely prognosis, the disorders listed in the DSM-IV are terms arrived at through peer consensus, designed to be used in communicating information, conducting research, providing treatment and doing billing. (Manufacturing Victims, Dr. Tana Dineen, 2001, p 86)
  20. "I am constantly amazed by how many patients who come to see me believe or want to believe that their difficulties are biologic and can be relieved by a pill. This is despite the fact that modern psychiatry has yet to convincingly prove the genetic/biologic cause of any single mental illness. However, this does not stop psychiatry from making essentially unproven claims that depression, bipolar illness, anxiety disorders, alcoholism and a host of other disorders are in fact primarily biologic and probably genetic in origin, and that it is only a matter of time until all this is proven. This kind of faith in science and progress is staggering, not to mention naive and perhaps delusional. (Against Biologic Psychiatry, Dr. David Kaiser, Psychologist, Psychiatric Times, December, Dec. 1996, Vol. XIII, Issue 12)
  21. "Spurred on by the aggressive advocacy of NAMI families, the federal government has finally taken action to place the brain back into the body. Congress in June [1992] approved legislation to return the National Institute of Mental Health under the umbrella of the National Institutes of Health.... Moving NIMH to NIH sends an important signal that mental illness is a disease, like heart and lung and kidney diseases." (The Brain is Back in the Body, Laurie Flynn, NAMI Advocate, 13:16, July, 1992 AD)
  22. "The dream of biological psychiatrists is that an 'objective' laboratory test for one of the major mental illnesses will be discovered. ... This dream is logically unsound and can never be realized. Although biological psychiatrists speak of external validation of psychiatric diagnoses by laboratory findings and specific markers, this can never happen. Why? ... According to this logic, it would be possible to be diagnosed and treated successfully for schizophrenia without ever having had any psychiatric symptoms" (Pseudoscience in Biological Psychiatry, Colin A. Ross, M.D., & Alvin Pam, Ph.D., 1995, p. 101-102).
  23. Psychologists in White Coats: The re-emergence of a medical image for psychological treatment, evident in two current activities, has constituted part of the efforts to repair psychology's image. First was the "scramble for protection under the powerful umbrella of medicine." psychology hoped that if it could associate itself with the strong and established profession of medicine, it could, by alliance or by default, gain the credibility it could not attain through research. This movement has been most evident in the re-acquisition of medical concepts and terminology and in the attempt to redefine physical illnesses in, emotional and psychological language. In contrast to its earlier anti-medical stance, in the late 1970s the Psychology industry began to remodel itself along the lines of traditional medicine. Problems became "psychopathology" or diseases (e.g. the "epidemic of depression"), difficulties became "disorders" or "syndromes," individuals again became "patients," assessments became "diagnoses" and outcomes were now "prognoses." A significant contribution to this movement was the official introduction in 1980 of the DSM-III, which the American Journal of Psychiatry described as having served to augment the "general trend toward the remedicalizations of the phenomena of psychiatry." In an editorial in the issue discussing the DSM-IV and psychotherapy, Chodoff concluded that "the other purposes [beyond diagnosis) the diagnostic manual serves [are] to provide labels for hospital, third party, and other records, and to supply data for research into the prevalence and outcome of psychiatric conditions no matter how they are treated." However, studies in the mid-1970s had shown the overall unreliability of these psychiatric labels, a conclusion that was supported by Chodoff when he noted that "treatment tends to give rise to a diagnosis." Thus, if the DSM is unreliable and diagnostically imprecise, it can only be concluded that the major effect of DSM-III and its successors, the DSM IV and IVR, was its provision of billing codes and the consequent absorption of mental-health problems into the medical health care (and insurance) system. Not only did psychology adopt medical terminology, it also tried to co-opt medical patients and their business, with political statements such as "60% or more of the physician visits are made by patients who demonstrate an emotional, rather than an organic, etiology for their physical symptoms. But rather than share their turf, psychiatrists and psychologists began fighting for the same turf. Significant in this struggle is the current trend to approach psychological problems from a biological perspective, with regard to both diagnosis and treatment. For instance, neurobiological evidence and explanations are being sought for such problems as trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder." And pharmaceuticals are being tested and dispensed for the treatment not only of depressive symptoms, but also of attention deficit hyperactive disorder (e.g. Ritalin), impotence (e.g. Viagra) and alcoholism (e.g. Naltrexone). This shift towards a biological orientation has spurred licensed psychologists to lobby for the right to prescribe psychoactive drugs. ... And all of this is being carried out by a profession that historically fought psychiatry, hospitalization and the use of drugs, arguing that psychotherapy was "just as effective."" (Manufacturing Victims, Dr. Tana Dineen, 2001, p 256)
  24. "Many people recognize that psychiatrists deal with human problems, not diseases of the brain, which fall in the domain of neurologists and neurosurgeons. However, it is one thing privately to recognize a "forbidden fact," another to accept its moral and social implications, and still another to proclaim publicly that the psychiatrist-emperor is not merely naked but a liar and an abuser of his fellow man, unworthy of being considered a member of a healing profession. Despite seemingly radical changes in psychiatric principles and practices during the past half century, I contend that the truth about this mala fide medical specialty remains so terrible that it invites disbelief." (Coercion as Cure, Thomas Szasz, 2007 AD, p 12)
  25. "I actually have no objections to real science in the field, if, for example, it can help me make better medication decisions or develop newer and better medications. But in general biologic psychiatry has not delivered on its grandiose and utopian claims, as today's collection of medications are woefully inadequate to address the complicated clinical issues that come before me every day." (Against Biologic Psychiatry, Dr. David Kaiser, Psychologist, Psychiatric Times, December, Dec. 1996, Vol. XIII, Issue 12)
  26. "The history of biological psychiatry can be depicted as a tale of 'promising' leads, closure on slender evidence, hyperbole as initial reception to new work, and ultimately unproductive results. ... following about a century of effort, a harsh assessment would be that no substantive results have been tendered for the pathogenesis of any major psychiatric disorder" (Pseudoscience in Biological Psychiatry, Colin A. Ross, M.D., & Alvin Pam, Ph.D., 1995, p. 42).

B. Psychiatric drugs create chemical imbalances:

  1. Psychiatric drugs create chemical imbalances instead of fixing them. See major discussion here.
  2. "This research in no way bolsters the idea that psychiatric drugs correct imbalances. Rather, it shows that psychiatric drugs create imbalances. In modern psychiatric treatment, we take the single most complicated known creation in the universe—the human brain—and pour drugs into it in the hope of "improving" its function when in reality we are disrupting its function. The notion that Prozac corrects biochemical imbalances is sheer speculation—propaganda from the biological psychiatric industry. But disruption of biochemical reactions in the brain, causing severe biochemical imbalances and abnormal rates of firing among brain cells, is a proven fact about Prozac that cannot honestly be disputed by anyone who knows the research." (Your Drug May Be Your Problem, Peter Breggin, David Cohen, 2007 AD, p 25)
  3. "Prozac, Ritalin, and Xanax, like most psychiatric drugs, overstimulate particular neurotransmitter systems either by increasing the output of a neurotransmitter or by preventing its removal from the synapses between nerve cells. Prozac, for example, overstimulates a chemical messenger called serotonin by blocking its removal from the synapse. The brain reacts initially by shutting down the release of serotonin and then by reducing the number of receptors that can respond to the serotonin.'" (Your Drug May Be Your Problem, Peter Breggin, David Cohen, 2007 AD, p 26)

  

C. The circular reasoning of modern Psychiatry:

What they don't tell you:

Your "fluid levels" of Serotonin, Norepinephrine, Dopamine, GABA are normal based upon blood tests. Mentally ill people have normal functioning bodies. Drugs address symptoms only. The problem is in the spirit.

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  1. "Since we believe in evolution and that man is nothing but chemicals, we assume there must be some chemical imbalance in your brain. Since we know God doesn't exist, the problem cannot be in your spirit. So take these drugs." (your shrink)
  2. Based on the neurotransmitter theory of psychiatric illness, we can plot clinical conditions and see how mental health professionals determine medication treatment by recognizing which neurotransmitters are involved.
  3. Remember, when your psychiatrist tells you that you have "Low Serotonin", this is not based upon a blood test, but an assumption. Further, the psychiatrist knows that if he did give you the standard blood test for Serotonin, that your results would come back normal. The theory is that the brain is unable to use the Serotonin in the brain.
  4. In a spectacular exercise of circular reasoning, they can tell you are depressed or anxious, for example, then assume you have a chemical imbalance.
  5. Most people think there is some science behind their statement that you have "Elevated Norepinephrine". It sounds scientific... and the psychiatrist does have a white coat...
  6. True medical science would take a blood test first, then tell you the problem, then offer you a chemical fix. This is exactly the case in diabetes and insulin!

 

D. How psychiatry differs from medical science:

Psychiatry: Depression

Medical science: Diabetes

Observation and testimony of the patient: "I am depressed." (if blood tests done, all is normal)

blood test

Diagnosis: depression

Diagnosis: Blood sugar levels high

Cause: Assumed chemical imbalance: Low Serotonin levels in the brain.

Cause: Chemical imbalance: Low insulin levels

Drugs prescribed: SSRI's

Drugs: Insulin

Result: tranquilizes, sedates and removes symptoms without ever addressing the cause: a spiritual problem. If they actually took blood tests for Serotonin levels, all would be normal. The SSRI actually creates a chemical imbalance that hinders the brains ability to reuse Serotonin. This causes the body to respond by producing more Serotonin to correct the chemical imbalance created by the SSRI.

Result: instant cure the moment the insulin is injected into the blood stream.

E. Emotions are controlled by the spirit:

  1. View major outline that proves mood, choice and memory have their origin in the spirit, not the brain.
  2. We have all experienced the rush the body produces after a near miss accident. You slam on the brakes, you come to a complete save stop, the accident is avoided but then about 5 seconds later, you feel the delayed reaction of the "adrenaline rush".
  3. The "adrenaline rush" is an example of how the spirit controls body chemistry, not the other way around.
  4. More on the truth that the spirit controls the body and that mentally ill people have a spirit problem.
  5. Notice that this rush of adrenaline influences our feelings, but does not cause us to make choices, commit crimes or make us kill ourselves. Man always retains full self-control and accountability.

F. Chemical imbalances and anti-psychotic drugs:

  1. Mental illness is a spiritual problem, not a biological problem. Giving drugs to fix the brain of mentally ill people is like overhauling the engine of a car because the driver keeps hitting telephone poles.
  2. Chemical imbalances do cause health problems. For example, diabetes is caused by a chemical imbalance of Insulin in the body. The problem is instantly fixed when the chemical (Insulin) is added to the body by injection. This is a true chemical imbalance.
  3. The "theoretical" chemical imbalance of mental illness is not in the level of Serotonin in the body, for example, but the brains ability to utilize the normal level present.
  4. Anti-psychotic drugs do not fix chemical imbalances, they create them and are dangerous! For example, when someone is diagnosed with a low level of Serotonin, SSRI drugs are theorized to artificially suppress the level of Serotonin in the body. The theory is that the body will adjust by increasing the production rate of Serotonin. When patients seem to get better (and the placebo effect is almost 50%) it is assumed that the theory is validated. The problem is, that a wide range of tranquilizers have the same end effect of making the patient better.
  5. "By the 1990s, psychiatrists were skilled at treating depression with powerful antidepressants. In fact these pills were hailed as the ultimate weapon. Conventional wisdom discouraged wasting time on the mythical construct of the distressed mind." (The Spiritual Brain, Mario Beauregard Ph.D., Neuroscientist, 2007, p140)

G. The "chemical imbalances" in the brain theory has been in collapse since 1980.

  1. "During the 1960s, scientists at the NIMH and elsewhere figured out how iproniazid and imipramine worked. The transmission of signals from the “presynaptic” neuron to the “postsynaptic” neuron needs to be lightning fast and sharp, and in order for the signal to be terminated, the chemical messenger must be removed from the synapse. This is done in one of two ways. Either the chemical is metabolized by an enzyme and shuttled off as waste, or else it flows back into the presynaptic neuron. Researchers discovered that iproniazid thwarts the first process. It blocks an enzyme, known as monoamine oxidase, that metabolizes norepinephrine and serotonin. As a result, the two chemical messengers remain in the synapse longer than normal. Imipramine inhibits the second process. It blocks the “reuptake” of norepinephrine and serotonin by the presynaptic neuron, and thus, once again, the two chemicals remain in the synapse longer than normal. Both drugs produce a similar end result, although they do so by different means." (Anatomy of an Epidemic, Robert Whitaker, 2010 AD, p62)
  2. "All of this physiology—the 100 billion neurons, the 150 trillion synapses, the various neurotransmitter pathways—tell of a brain that is almost infinitely complex. Yet the chemical imbalance theory of mental disorders boiled this complexity down to a simple disease mechanism, one easy to grasp. In depression, the problem was that the serotonergic neurons released too little serotonin into the synaptic gap, and thus the serotonergic pathways in the brain were “underactive.” Antidepressants brought serotonin levels in the synaptic gap up to normal, and that allowed these pathways to transmit messages at a proper pace. Meanwhile, the hallucinations and voices that characterized schizophrenia resulted from overactive dopaminergic pathways. Either the presynaptic neurons pumped out too much dopamine into the synapse or the target neurons had an abnormally high density of dopamine receptors. Antipsychotics put a brake on this system, and this allowed the dopaminergic pathways to function in a more normal manner. That was the chemical imbalance theory put forth by Schildkraut and Jacques Van Rossum, and the very research that had led Schildkraut to his hypothesis also provided investigators with a method for testing it.  The studies of iproniazid and imipramine had shown that neurotransmitters were removed from the synapse in one of two ways. Either the chemical was taken back up into the presynaptic neuron and restored for later use, or it was metabolized by an enzyme and carted off as waste. Serotonin is metabolized into 5-hydroxyindole acetic acid (5-HIAA); dopamine is turned into homovanillic acid (HVA). Researchers could comb the cerebrospinal fluid for these metabolites, and the amounts found would serve as an indirect gauge of the synaptic levels of the neurotransmitters. Since low serotonin was theorized to cause depression, anyone in that emotional state should have lower-than-normal levels of 5-HIAA in his or her cerebrospinal fluid. Similarly, since an overactive dopamine system was theorized to cause schizophrenia, people who heard voices or were paranoid should have abnormally high cerebrospinal levels of HVA. … In 1969, Malcolm Bowers at Yale University became the first to report on whether depressed patients had low levels of serotonin metabolites in their cerebrospinal fluid. In a study of eight depressed patients (all of whom had been previously exposed to antidepressants), he announced that their 5-HIAA levels were lower than normal, but not "significantly" so. Two years later, investigators at McGill University said that they, too, had failed to find a "statistically significant" difference in the 5-HIAA levels of depressed patients and normal controls, and that they also had failed to find any correlation between 5-HIAA levels and the severity of depressive symptoms. In 1974, Bowers was back with a more finely tuned follow-up study: Depressed patients who had not been exposed to antidepressants had perfectly normal 5-HIAA levels. The serotonin theory of depression did not seem to be panning out." (Anatomy of an Epidemic, Robert Whitaker, 2010 AD, p 70)
  3. Notice that this entire article sounds convincing, but the Ph.D. level Clinical Psychologist admits he cannot prove chemical imbalances exist. He says: "Unfortunately, the body doesn't have a built-in dipstick for neurotransmitters". He admits there is no way of testing. This is the kind of article that the public read, not realizing that there is no actual proof, only assumptions, guesses, associations and theory. He also misleads the public by using the analogy of fluid levels in a car and neurotransmitters like Serotonin in the brain. It is well known that mentally ill people have perfectly normal levels of neurotransmitters like Serotonin in their bodies.
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    "The brain consists of billions of neurons or cells that must communicate with each other. The communication between neurons maintains all body functions, informs us when a fly lands on our hand, or when we have pain. The communication between neurons is controlled by the brain's type and level of neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are chemical substances that control and create signals in the brain both between and within neurons. Without neurotransmitters, there would be no communication between neurons. The heart wouldn't get a signal to beat, arms and legs wouldn't know to move, etc. As we discovered more about neurotransmitters, we began to identify which neurotransmitters controlled certain bodily functions or which were related to certain emotional/psychiatric difficulties. Serotonin, a neurotransmitter, was found to be related to body temperature and the onset of sleep. Research also identified Serotonin as related to depression and later to a variety of mental health conditions such as anorexia and obsessive-compulsive disorder. As research in neurotransmitters continued, studies between neurotransmitters and mental conditions revealed a strong connection between amounts of certain neurotransmitters in the brain and the presence of specific psychiatric conditions. Using an everyday example, our automobile operates by using a variety of fluids such as engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and coolant (anti-freeze). Every automobile has a way to measure the levels or amounts of each of these needed liquids such as the dipstick for oil and transmission fluid and marked indicators for anti-freeze and brake-fluid levels. Using our dipstick to measure engine oil, for an example, we can find our engine to be found one, two, or even three quarts low. After a recent oil change, the dipstick may also tell us that we have excessive oil in the engine. To work properly, all fluid levels must be in the "normal range" as indicated by the dipstick. When we receive a blood test, values of certain blood components are given with the "normal range" also provided, indicating if a blood chemical is below or above the average range. Neurological research has identified over fifty (50) neurotransmitters in the brain. Research also tells us that several neurotransmitters are related to mental health problems - Dopamine, Serotonin, Norepinephrine, and GABA (Gamma Aminobutyric Acid). Too much or too little of these neurotransmitters are now felt to produce psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia, depression, bi-polar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and ADHD. Unfortunately, the body doesn't have a built-in dipstick for neurotransmitters, at least one that's inexpensive enough for community mental health practice. There are advanced imaging techniques such as Positron Emission Tomography (PET Scans) that are being utilized in research and in the development of medications that directly influence changes in specific neurotransmitters. Lacking a PET Scanner, most professionals evaluate neurotransmitter levels by looking for indicators in thought, behavior, mood, perception, and/or speech that are considered related to levels of certain neurotransmitters. ... The technical aspects of neurotransmitter levels, the psychiatric symptoms they produce, and how medications have been developed to raise or lower the brain levels of these neurotransmitters can be very complicated. ... For many years, mental health professionals have used the term "chemical imbalance" to explain the need for medications that are used to treat mental health conditions. This simple and commonly used explanation recognizes that the condition is a medical problem and that it can be treated with medication. The "chemical imbalance" explanation also reflects the overall theme of treatment - identifying what neurotransmitters are involved in the clinical symptom picture and with medication, attempting to return that neurotransmitter level back to the "normal range". ... We are all at-risk for changes in our brain's chemistry. Mostly commonly, we will experience depression, anxiety, or stress reactions. As our neurotransmitters change, they bring with them additional symptoms, behaviors, and sensations that add to our on-going difficulties. Recognizing these changes is an important part of treatment and returning your life to normal and reducing our stress." (The Chemical Imbalance in Mental Health Problems, Joseph M. Carver, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist)
  4. "The discoveries of the earlier effective antidepressants, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers were frequently based on serendipitous observations. The repeated demonstration of efficacy of these agents then served as an impetus for considerable research into the neurobiological bases of their therapeutic effects and of emotion and cognition themselves, as well as the biological basis of the major psychiatric disorders." (Textbook of Psychopharmacology, Schatzberg, Nemeroff, 2002 AD, xxi)
  5. "Here, we focus on the principles of neurotransmission and second-messenger generation that we believe are critical for an understanding of the biological bases of major psychiatric disorders, as well as the mechanisms by which effective treatments may exert their beneficial effects." (Textbook of Psychopharmacology, Schatzberg, Nemeroff, 2002 AD, p 3)
  6. "Psychiatry, like much of the rest of medicine, has entered a new and exciting age demarcated by the rapid advances and the promise of molecular and cellular biology and neuroimaging. It is our firm belief that although individual neurotransmitters are involved in mediating the manifestations of major psychiatric diseases, these diseases can be best envisioned as arising out of abnormalities of integrated synapses and circuits." (Textbook of Psychopharmacology, Schatzberg, Nemeroff, 2002 AD, p 47)
  7. "During the 1990s, the "Decade of the Brain," the drive in psychiatry was to develop a comprehensive understanding of brain function at levels that range from mind to molecule and to determine how aberrations in these normal functions lead to the development of symptoms of mental illness" (Textbook of Clinical Psychiatry, Hales, Yudofsky, 2003 AD, p 427)
  8. "Rapid advances in the identification of the human genome and in the methodology for genetic manipulation have combined to open a window into the brain. We are accumulating knowledge of human gene mutations and their connection to neurological and psychiatric disease at a rapid pace. As genes are being identified, the proteins for which they code are also becoming known. With this knowledge, the pathogenic mechanism of some diseases is becoming apparent. Understanding these maladies at the molecular level is likely to lead to new methods of diagnosis and novel approaches to therapy." (Textbook of Psychopharmacology, Schatzberg, Nemeroff, 2002 AD, p 65)
  9. "This chapter reviews the basic framework of the anatomical distribution of the major neurochemical systems in the primate brain. These organizational schemas provide important constraints on the actions of neurotransmitters and neuromodulators. In addition, the consequences of the cellular actions and pharmacological manipulations of their synthesis, release, reuptake, and receptor binding depend on the rich and diverse interplay across these neuro-chemical systems. Clearly, a major challenge for the future involves the elucidation of these interactions and the characterization of how these interactions are disturbed in psychiatric disorders." (Textbook of Psychopharmacology, Schatzberg, Nemeroff, 2002 AD, p 84)
  10. "Psychoneuroendocrine studies continue to play a prominent role in neuropsychiatric research, particularly in the area of depression. For this review, we highlighted the most recent significant results, as well as newer observations. Despite some intriguing findings, none of the aforementioned results, including HPA dysregulation in depression (Kasckow et al. 2001; Steckler et al. 1999; Tsigos and Chrousos 2002), are observed consistently in any given patient population. Reasons for the variability and heterogeneity in hormone levels or response are unclear. Some differences likely are attributable to demographic and clinical characteristics of the patients, as well as to diagnostic issues. Methodological differences, such as sampling frequency and sample size issues, also invariably have contributed to the disparity in findings. In addition, since any given hormone can exert organizational and activational influences on the regulation of multiple endocrine axes, the adaptive neuroendocrine sequelae to stressors are likely to be quite variable across individuals. Consequently, regardless of the reasons, none of the neuroendocrine measures as yet show sufficient sensitivity, specificity, and diagnostic confidence to be useful for the differential diagnosis or prediction of treatment response. With the use of neuroimaging techniques to unravel the neurotransmitter circuitry underlying psychopathology, combined with molecular methodologies to profile individual characteristics, the meaning and mechanisms of the observed psychoneuroendocrine abnormalities should be forthcoming." (Textbook of Psychopharmacology, Schatzberg, Nemeroff, 2002 AD, p 123)
  11. "These self-destructive processes in the brain are relatively easy to research. They were demonstrated in the private laboratories of Eli Lilly— the manufacturer of Prozac—even before the drug was approved for marketing by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Long before the marketing of Prozac, the drug was known to routinely cause drastic biochemical imbalances rather than to correct them." (Your Drug May Be Your Problem, Peter Breggin, David Cohen, 2007 AD, p 26)

Conclusion:

  1. There is no scientific proof that chemical imbalances in the brain even exist, must less that they cause mental illness. This is a myth.
  2. "This research in no way bolsters the idea that psychiatric drugs correct imbalances. Rather, it shows that psychiatric drugs create imbalances. In modern psychiatric treatment, we take the single most complicated known creation in the universe—the human brain—and pour drugs into it in the hope of "improving" its function when in reality we are disrupting its function. The notion that Prozac corrects biochemical imbalances is sheer speculation—propaganda from the biological psychiatric industry. But disruption of biochemical reactions in the brain, causing severe biochemical imbalances and abnormal rates of firing among brain cells, is a proven fact about Prozac that cannot honestly be disputed by anyone who knows the research." (Your Drug May Be Your Problem, Peter Breggin, David Cohen, 2007 AD, p 25)
  3. There is no scientific proof that mental illnesses are caused by a chemical imbalance.
  4. “The serotonin theory of depression is comparable to the Masturbatory Theory of Insanity.” (Ads for SSRI antidepressants are misleading, David Healy, PloS Medicine news release, November 2005)
  5. Anti-psychotic drugs do not fix chemical imbalances, THEY CREATE THEM and are dangerous.
  6. Psychiatrists today are almost all atheists who believe that man was created, without a God, by random chance processes through the theory of evolution.
  7. Psychiatrists today believe man is nothing more than a pile of chemicals and dismiss the idea that man has a spirit, distinct from his brain.
  8. Psychiatry openly mocks and ridicules God and Christians, calling Christian theology "foolish, misleading and obsolete". The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is called the "Bible of Psychiatry". The DSM-IV is the central and most important book for classifying and diagnosing mental illnesses in North America. The most recent edition (2004 AD) has this to say about the Christian view that man has a spirit that is distinct from his body: this "dichotomy foolish and obsolete" ... "misleading derivative dichotomies" "Ryle's exorcism of the "ghost in the machine" (DSM-IV-TR Guidebook, 2004 AD, p 85, p14)
  9. These chemical imbalances are a myth, with no science to prove they exist, only theory!
  10. Neuroleptic and anti-psychotic drugs do not fix this imagined "chemical imbalance" but merely tranquilize and stupefy.
  11. Mental illness is a spiritual problem, not a biological problem. Giving drugs to fix the brain of mentally ill people is like overhauling the engine of a car because the driver keeps hitting telephone poles.
  12. Also see our section on the history of psychiatric myths:
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Recommended Reading

 

Buy

Your Drug May Be Your Problem

Peter Breggin, David Cohen, 2007 AD

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Buy

Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal

Peter Breggin, 2013 AD

Buy

Anatomy of an Epidemic

Robert Whitaker, 2010 AD

 

 

By Steve Rudd: Contact the author for comments, input or corrections.

Send us your story about your experience with modern Psychiatry

 

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