Cutting Edge Psychology
|Posted on March 15, 2014 at 6:05 PM|
Since the late 1980's, pharmaceutical companies have been very effective in convincing us that emotional problems result from 'chemical imbalances in the brain'. While many of us were never convinced of this, research continues to show that problems in living result from problematic life experiences; and that there is at best only scant proof of the chemical imbalance theory. It has come to light that the serotonin deficiency theory for depression was dreamed up by the marketing branches of drug companies, not by the research branches, in order to sell Prozac. As a result of phenomenal marketing to sell this idea, we are all now viewed as being Prozac-deficient, and one in every 10 Australians is on an antidepressant (one in every 5 Americans).
And all along, people have been suffering depression and anxiety because of the impacts of negative experiences in their lives. Traumatised people suffer- not exactly rocket science, but the implications are huge. If we accept this reality (as opposed to the chemical imbalance theory), then it means that we need to look at how we as a society treat each other- and it is pretty unimpressive. The amount of child abuse in our culture is horrendous, and always has been. People who dont cope with traumatic events as adults are typically those who have been traumatised in their childhood. Rather than confront and deal with this reality, our culture (led by the drug companies) has opted to largely ignore it, and instead promote the idea of individual pathology explaining emotional problems in living. Psychiatry has been a leading light in this pathology seeking, ably assisted by the drug companies which have afforded it a credible status as a legitimate branch of medicine (as opposed to its traditional status as being largely an embarrassment to medicine), with scientific sounding theories. Psychology has also participated in this individual pathology focus with its embracing of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), despite it being a product of psychiatry. Both drug treatments and CBT have for the most part ignored traumatic experiences in preference to individual pathology theories, either chemical imbalances or thinking errors.
The other option is to listen to the research evidence (and example is seen in the link below), and acknowledge the role which adverse life events play in creating subsequent problems in living. This means that we as a culture need to confront what we do to each other (as seen in the Royal Commissions happening in Australia at the moment regarding the sexual abuse of children by institutions such as the Catholic Church). It also means that we need to offer sufferers psychological therapies which address the trauma they are carrying. There are a range of highly effective trauma therapies which are not pathologising of the individual, but which aid in the transformation to resolution.
At the moment, the Australian government offers 10 subsidised psychology sessions per year for people referred by GPs, however it offers 50 psychiatry subsidised sessions per year. Most psychiatric intervention conducted these days is drug intervention. So, people can have more drug intervention than they could need (once a week every week of the year for as many years as they want), but they can access only 10 psychology sessions per year. One has to question the amount of pharmaceutical company finger prints all over Australia's mental health policy.