CHEMICAL IMBALANCE IN THE BRAIN? “There is no theory, IT’S JUST WRONG!”
Professor Jureidini is a leading Child Psychiatrist at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide. He is a Professor of psychiatry and paediatrics at the University of Adelaide and heads the University of Adelaide’s Critical and Ethical Mental Health (CEHM) research group and the Paediatric Mental Health Training Unit (PMHTU).
After listening to a talk via MP3 download that Professor Jureidini gave at The University of Western Australia as part of their ‘On The Edge’ series of public lectures, http://www.ias.uwa.edu.au/lectures/jureidini , entitled ‘Over diagnosis and over treatment of mental illnesses’, I was pleased to hear that a psychiatrist was speaking out about Over Diagnosis and in particular Over Treatment of mental illness, and decided that I wanted to meet Jon and interview him to see for myself if he was real.
In a world that seems to have gone mad for psychiatric medication, it is refreshing to know that there are still some mental health professionals that have not sold out to big pharma. This is not an article regarding any conspiracy of big pharma to drug our entire population into submissiveness, but more about one man who has been a quiet voice against what amounts to over diagnosis and over treatment of patients with some form of mental affliction.
I asked Professor Jureidini why he thought people, and in particular children are being over diagnosed and over treated in respect to psychiatry.
Professor Jureidini said, “Good psychiatry is that which increases a patient’s capacity to function as an autonomous citizen and bad psychiatry erodes that capacity.”
He went on to say that, “Often, a child who has suffered a trauma will need to process that trauma in their own way. The child may show signs that could be taken to indicate a mental illness, but this can be temporary while the child is processing the trauma. When a child is prescribed medication for this type of presentation, it can work against the child’s best interest because it numbs the child to the effects of the trauma. While this may be the desired effect and beneficial for the parents or caregivers, it is not necessarily best for the patient. I have found that psychotherapy or counselling in these circumstances has a greater chance of success when the child is not prescribed medication.
There may be 1% to 2% of cases that would benefit from being understood as mental illness but that is only for severe cases.”
I asked Professor Jureidini what his thoughts were regarding a report that Dr Emily Karanges released.
According to Dr Emily Karanges, a research fellow in the Medicines Policy Unit at the University of NSW. “Although counsellors and psychologists can’t prescribe medication, many are quick to suggest young people visit a GP to access these (it is not uncommon for this to be suggested as a solution even during an introductory counselling session). Concerned parents may then go to their GP specifically requesting drugs.”
He said, “Yes, I am familiar with Dr Karanges work and yes, she is right. That is often what happens.”
I asked, “Do you think that GPs should be allowed to prescribe psychiatric medication even though they are not trained to diagnose these conditions?”
Professor Jureidini said, “I think the problem has to be addressed from a holistic point of view. Counsellors, Psychologists and GPs all have limited time and resources, so I think that prescribing medication is a non-optimum solution to the situation of more and more children presenting to their practices and clinics with psychiatric symptoms.
What do you think is the solution?
“An education program for these professionals that takes advantage of the skills and knowledge that they already have, and what they can do for children without prescribing medication. The time restraint of these professionals would not necessarily be solved, but there would be less and less children on medication, and more children would be able to process their particular predicament with the help of the counsellors and psychologists, alleviating a significant burden from the GPs. More training is what is required.”
What would it take to develop an education program like this?
“We have one already on the shelf, but it has no funding to implement.”
I then asked Professor Jureidini about the theory of chemical imbalance in the brain.
He said, “There is no theory, it’s just wrong. It was a marketing campaign by the drug companies to sell more of their drugs and promoted this as such. I don’t think it is promoted like this anymore, but once the idea got into the general population, it has continued on. There are no tests that can be done and no research has been done to prove the Chemical Imbalance doctrine created by the drug companies.”
I did some further research into the Chemical Imbalance issue and found that Wikipedia has some very good references. Wikipedia, ref – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemical_imbalance “According to critics, the chemical imbalance hypothesis has been over promoted and continues to be advanced as factual by pharmaceutical companies. They [critics] believe the general population and many journalists have accepted this hypothesis into their understanding of mental illness uncritically. Some academics believe that the advertisements are oversimplified and don’t fully explain what is happening.” (Wikipedia references can be obtained from the Wikipedia webpage in referenced above in this paragraph).
Footnote – Ausrealnews.com.au takes a very responsible position with the articles that it publishes. We do not recommend stopping any medication without thorough competent medical supervision. Some psychiatric drugs can have severe side effects which can increase when withdrawing from them.