The Brain Disease Theory Ruins Lives
Listen to this speech by Laura Delano, a 29-year-old psychiatric survivor from the USA (posted here with her permission) about how the brain disease theory damaged her life. It was delivered at a protest rally outside the American Psychiatric Association in 2012.
In her recovery memoir, A Journey Back to Self, Laura writes:
“During my thirteen years in the mental health system, I believed that I was broken and incapable of being fixed., that I needed psychiatry to create a life that came anywhere close to ‘normal.’ — that my emotional suffering was due to something wrong with my brain, not the fact that I was a young girl trying to make sense of herself in a culture based so much on performance, achievement, and perfection.
The emptiness I felt inside, beneath the masks I wore, and the parts I played to keep up with everything I saw around me, was because I was severely ‘borderline’. I kept waiting and waiting for the day to come when my psychiatrist and my medications would give me a life worth living, and that day never came. Instead, my life became lonelier, emptier, and more numb than it had ever been before, and living it grew increasingly more challenging. Desperate for relief, I spent more and more hours in psychiatric treatment and left many months with an additional prescription in hand.”
— Laura Delano, from Journey Back to Self
Evidence of a Brain Disease is Crumbling
Cracks are appearing everywhere in the scientific evidence behind the brain disease theory. It is not supported by any evidence, Joanna Moncrieff, MD. says in her book The Myth of the Chemical Cure. Dr. Moncrieff is Senior Clinical Lecturer, Mental Health Sciences Unit, Faculty of Brain Sciences, University College London
The Brain Disease Theory De-Humanizes People
Alternatives to Hospitals
We don’t need more money in the system. We need more empathetic counseling and less drugging, fewer nurses, fewer doctors.
Instead, we need sanctuaries that encourage expression and are based on love, not the current punitive system that pretends to be therapeutic. We need more understanding of human beings and common human problems. We need wisdom. We need soul doctoring.
We don’t need to learn that some people are genetically inferior and doomed to be deviant. That attitude should have gone away with eugenics, but it hasn’t. And it’s disgusting. Promoting it is the antithesis of reducing “stigma”. As long as you say that a certain group of people are biologically broken, there is going to be stigma.
Editor’s note: When NAMI embraced the chemical imbalance theory in the 1970’s, the idea was to eliminate stigma, to make “mental illness” a disease that can happen to anyone, not the fault of the victim or the family. They called it ” a disease like any other,” like any disease of any vital organ.
If you tell someone they’re not responsible for their own emotions, that their emotions are “symptoms” of a brain disease, you’re saying they don’t have the capacity to be a fully equal human being. It’s like making them into permanent children. They can make certain decisions, but if they make the wrong ones, they aren’t responsible for them because they are “sick” with a brain disease
Few people ever suspected that the “mentally ill” are oppressed, preferring instead to believe the official line about the brain disease.
Don’t make any mistake. The brain disease theory is a political issue. And I hope one of these days even so-called “progressives” understand that.
How has the brain disease theory helped or hurt you?