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Study: Psychiatric Diagnoses Are ‘Scientifically Meaningless’ In Treating Mental Health

CyberPanda

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LIVERPOOL, England — No two people are exactly alike. Therefore, attempting to classify each unique individual’s mental health issues into neat categories just doesn’t work. That’s the claim coming out of the United Kingdom that is sure to ruffle some psychologists’ feathers.

More people are being diagnosed with mental illnesses than ever before. Multiple factors can be attributed to this rise; many people blame the popularity of social media and increased screen time, but it is also worth considering that in today’s day and age more people may be willing to admit they are having mental health issues in the first place. Whatever the reason, it is generally believed that a psychiatric diagnosis is the first step to recovery.

That’s why a new study conducted at the University of Liverpool has raised eyebrows by concluding that psychiatric diagnoses are “scientifically meaningless,” and worthless as tools to accurately identify and address mental distress at an individual level.

Researchers performed a detailed analysis on five of the most important chapters in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Heath Disorders (DSM). The DSM is considered the definitive guide for mental health professionals, and provides descriptions for all mental health problems and their symptoms. The five chapters analyzed were: bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, and trauma-related disorders.

Researchers came to a number of troubling conclusions. First, the study’s authors assert that there is a significant amount of overlap in symptoms between disorder diagnoses, despite the fact that each diagnosis utilizes different decision rules. Additionally, these diagnoses completely ignore the role of trauma or other unique adverse events a person may encounter in their life.

Perhaps most concerning of all, researchers say that these diagnoses tell us little to nothing about the individual patient and what type of treatments they will need. The authors ultimately conclude that this diagnostic labeling approach is “a disingenuous categorical system.”

“Although diagnostic labels create the illusion of an explanation they are scientifically meaningless and can create stigma and prejudice. I hope these findings will encourage mental health professionals to think beyond diagnoses and consider other explanations of mental distress, such as trauma and other adverse life experiences.” Lead researcher Dr. Kate Allsopp explains in a release.

According to the study’s authors, the traditional diagnostic system being used today wrongly assumes that any and all mental distress is caused by a disorder, and relies far too heavily on subjective ideas about what is considered “normal.”

“Perhaps it is time we stopped pretending that medical-sounding labels contribute anything to our understanding of the complex causes of human distress or of what kind of help we need when distressed.” Professor John Read comments.

The study is published in the scientific journal Psychiatry Research.

 
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Pharmaceutical companies in shambles
 
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CyberPanda

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Has there been a study on the negative effects of your average ADHD medication?
Found these articles:



 
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Cato

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From England, of course.

Next article will be:
"No two people are exactly alike. Therefore, attempting to classify each unique individual’s cancer treatments into neat categories just doesn’t work"

We should just cancel all healthcare. Or we can nuke England out of existance. You know what the right thing to do is.
 

Tesseract

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there are selective traits among psychosis patients that are pretty universal, more approximate (precise) diagnoses and medication pathways are tricky
james eagan holmes (dark knight rises shooter) is being carefully dosed with risperidone/+ to great success, although it's pretty much obliterated his critical thinking faculties

organic chemistry is really hard, but we're gonna get there

i agree no two people are equal, personally i think what's going on in everyone's mind's eye is completely different
 
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keraj37

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From England, of course.

Next article will be:
"No two people are exactly alike. Therefore, attempting to classify each unique individual’s cancer treatments into neat categories just doesn’t work"

We should just cancel all healthcare. Or we can nuke England out of existance. You know what the right thing to do is.


Exactly. All of the science has its meaning in generalization and categorization.
In other words this "study" says, psychology and psychiatry should not exist.
 
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DunDunDunpachi

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Just because psychiatry diagnoses have been stretched for the sake of prescribing pills doesn't mean the whole field is 'scientifically meaningless'. This article is fighting a strawman. I know folks who were recommended therapists by their psychiatrist instead of or alongside their prescribed medication. I know folks who were given medication, were monitored, and then pulled off medication based on their feedback to the psychiatrist. There are pill-pushers out there, but here are psychiatrists/therapists who make a positive difference, too.

While these researchers might think they're being virtuous when saying "no one is alike! We're all unique! Stop cramming us into boxes.", they are tearing down hope for people looking for answers. The whole point of medicine is to categorize illness for the sake of reliable treatment, so when the article states "these diagnoses tell us little to nothing about the individual patient and what type of treatments they will need" they are really just saying "don't box me in with your labels, dude. Now pass me the healing crystal".
 

Tesseract

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the problem with schizo affective disorders is it's too wide a net and the lot of accompanying drugs is limited; there's few good reasons for pharmas to innovate because there's really no money had in treating mentally ill mediocres with no prospects

hoping the digitization of the periodic table will offload much of the grind needed to get the right pills in the right mouths

maps for meaning needs a bigger budget imo, and a bigger window for success
 
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Winter John

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I notice there's been a pretty big jump in the number of people saying they got some kind of mental illness. I often wonder if they really have or if they've just been told they have by some quack pushing pills on them.
 

juliotendo

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That’s because a lot of psychiatry involves a lot of bullshit and quack medicine, rush to label new “diseases”, and effort to treat everything with some sort of magic pill.

There are mentally ill people and then there are severely mentally ill people. The human brain is complex and we yet don’t fully understand it. Sometimes people are just mentally ill and we will never understand why, evolutionary dead ends and defective.
 
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EightBit Man

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These "experts"/psychiatrists still think that the mind is the same thing as the brain while they're not. Materialistic nonsense.
Even scientists have concluded that consciousness influences matter. Even though that's a ridiculous conclusion in itself, since there's no distinction between the two, it's closer to reality than the ridiculous claim that matter gives birth to consciousness.
 
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Halo is Dead

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These "experts"/psychiatrists still think that the mind is the same thing as the brain while they're not. Materialistic nonsense.
Even scientists have concluded that consciousness influences matter. Even though that's a ridiculous conclusion in itself, since there's no distinction between the two, it's closer to reality than the ridiculous claim that matter gives birth to consciousness.
No psychiatrist ever said that. And yes there are differences but the amount of serotonin, and other chemicals dose lead to how you feel emotionally. Both are intertwined and both affect each other
 

EightBit Man

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No psychiatrist ever said that.

They are nothing other than drug peddlers, treating and seeing human beings as purely mechanical entities. Consciousness be damned. There's absolutely no notion of the psyche in psychiatry. The irony.

Other than that, they just want to make people adjust to a already severely dysfunctional society. They are, like many other entities, upholders of the status quo, and escaping from their own personal problems. Nobody seems to want to take responsibility for their own being, and thus the experts and authority figures are born, leading humanity further and further into a ever-increasing mess.
 
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Lastyou1

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There is a huge misunderstanding in this, and I speak as a person that works in the mental health care industry: diagnosis is not there to "classify" patients.

Different diagnostic classes have multiple purposes: give a different, specific name to one or more diseases with an ample spectrum of different syntomps (ie: disturb of personality.... Borderline, Schizo-affective, Narcissistic, etc), give hints and suggestions on the clinical path the patient has to follow, help the Doctors to study the best course of action against a certain kind of pathology, etc.


Of course, the DSM is not the holy Bible and many of its guidelines need to be addressed and interpreted by the doctors. But again, they are guidelines and their borders are hazy to say the least. A pathology may evolve into something else.
 

Tesseract

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They are nothing other than drug peddlers, treating and seeing human beings as purely mechanical entities. Consciousness be damned. There's absolutely no notion of the psyche in psychiatry. The irony.

Other than that, they just want to make people adjust to a already severely dysfunctional society. They are, like many other entities, upholders of the status quo, and escaping from their own personal problems. Nobody seems to want to take responsibility for their own being, and thus the experts and authority figures are born, leading humanity further and further into a ever-increasing mess.

gotta say dude, this sounds like nonsense to me, like borderline scientology level

you ever spend any time in a loony bin, consciousness is pretty much damned there, people have to be broken down to mechanical level complexity or they'd be lost in their own thoughts forever
 
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Halo is Dead

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They are nothing other than drug peddlers, treating and seeing human beings as purely mechanical entities. Consciousness be damned. There's absolutely no notion of the psyche in psychiatry. The irony.

Other than that, they just want to make people adjust to a already severely dysfunctional society. They are, like many other entities, upholders of the status quo, and escaping from their own personal problems. Nobody seems to want to take responsibility for their own being, and thus the experts and authority figures are born, leading humanity further and further into a ever-increasing mess.
Have you ever actually talked to a psychiatrist? Have you been through the mental health program and undergone treatment? Because I have and what you said couldn’t be further from the truth. You would be surprised there are many treatments for patients that do not involve drugs and new ones are being developed and studied every day!
 

EightBit Man

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you ever spend any time in a loony bin

Yes! It's called civilization. Even Sigmund Freud noted that the more civilized man become, the more neurotic and unhappy he becomes. We're all participating as both prisoners and wardens of our own built prisons. Like Nietzsche said, we're domesticated animals, plain and simple.

you ever spend any time in a loony bin, consciousness is pretty much damned there, people have to be broken down to mechanical level complexity or they'd be lost in their own thoughts forever

Maybe we should look at the roots of why people break down in the first place, instead of manipulating them, and trying to bring them to "our level" . Also, the very notion of deciding who is sane and insane is a very, very partisan thing to do. In ancient Arabian societies, so-called "nutcases" were seen as people closer to God than the average person, as they would see, say, or experience things they wouldn't. We don't have much respect for these people, while we are destroying the natural environment, overpopulating cities, treating our children like dirt, etc. Maybe there's something wrong with "us"/the well-adjusted?
 
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Tesseract

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Yes! It's called civilization. Even Sigmund Freud noted that the more civilized man become, the more neurotic and unhappy he becomes. We're all participating as both prisoners and wardens of our own built prisons. Like Nietzsche said, we're domesticated animals, plain and simple.



Maybe we should look at the roots of why people break down in the first place, instead of manipulating them, and trying to bring them to "our level" . Also, the very notion of deciding who is sane and insane is a very, very partisan thing to do. In ancient Arabian societies, so-called "nutcases" were seen as people closer to God than the average person, as they would see, say, or experience things they wouldn't. We don't have much respect for these people, while we are destroying the natural environment, overpopulating cities, treating our children like dirt, etc. Maybe there's something wrong with "us"/the well-adjusted?

so you haven't then, you've never seen true insanity, glad we cleared that up

and please spare me the frued and nietzsche notes and quotes, some people are living in absolute darkness with patterns of thoughts so abnormally quacked out of clock that they gotta be chained up or they'd literally rip themselves to pieces

we're not talking about the throes of everyday existential dread here, we're talking about the damned
 
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EightBit Man

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Have you ever actually talked to a psychiatrist? Have you been through the mental health program and undergone treatment? Because I have and what you said couldn’t be further from the truth. You would be surprised there are many treatments for patients that do not involve drugs and new ones are being developed and studied every day!

Yes, when I was young. And I was given drugs, because I was sometimes very difficult to deal with at the time. Not ever have they asked me deeper questions, or showed genuine empathy. It was; here's a problem, and here's the cure. My best friend told me the story that he didn't even recognize me anymore during that period. I stopped voluntarily after a while. They are criminals, generally speaking. There may be some exceptions, but.
 

Tesseract

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Yes, when I was young. And I was given drugs, because I was sometimes very difficult to deal with at the time. Not ever have they asked me deeper questions, or showed genuine empathy. It was; here's a problem, and here's the cure. My best friend told me the story that he didn't even recognize me anymore during that period. I stopped voluntarily after a while. They are criminals, generally speaking. There may be some exceptions, but.

 

EightBit Man

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we're not talking about the throes of everyday existential dread here, we're talking about the damned

You're talking about the most extreme cases, I'm talking about the smiling depressives who drive people to the level you're talking about. And yes, there is a parallel between those branded having a "mental illness" and damned/heretics during the Christian inquisition. There's no difference between the "impure" mentally ill, and ones possessed by the devil during those times. And as always they should be "helped" for their own "good".

Either way we're not going to agree, and that's fine. I don't want a hot debate.
 
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I have struggled with mental health issues most of my life I have always thought that the diagnoses rendered were often BS. 8 years ago I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder after I had some personal struggles and burned myself intentionally (branded really) while on benzos and beer.

I don't deny that the diagnosis made sense to me at the time, after all, I did have many of the symptoms on the checklist. That said, I could have easily seen myself diagnosed with a number of other personality disorders because it is based on meeting a specific number of symptoms on a checklist. Black and white thinking? Check. Identity issues? Check. Self harm? Check. Etc....

I am not disputing the diagnosis perse but rather the non scientific process by which it was achieved. I have always had believed that personality disorders in the DSM are more a way of categorizing a broad range of anti-social or unacceptable behaviors rather than an actual thing.
 

Halo is Dead

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Yes, when I was young. And I was given drugs, because I was sometimes very difficult to deal with at the time. Not ever have they asked me deeper questions, or showed genuine empathy. It was; here's a problem, and here's the cure. My best friend told me the story that he didn't even recognize me anymore during that period. I stopped voluntarily after a while. They are criminals, generally speaking. There may be some exceptions, but.
There are 2 important things you should consider. Fists prescribing medication is the role of a Psychiatrist. No other professional in the psychology field can do so. It takes them a minimum of 10 years to even reach such a status and it is a great accomplishment. They are far from criminals my friend. The second things you should consider is that it is also your responsibility to communicate to your DR. that you are experiencing negative symptoms outside of your comfort zone and they will be more then happy to try a different dosage or medication to find what is right for you. If your Dr. dose not listen to your feedback and won’t change your prescription then it is time to find a new doctor!! It is unfair to lump all Dr. in psychology because of one bad experience. If you desire a more personal connection then you should see a therapist that is their primary role. They can offer you a wide variety of treatments that do not involve drugs :)
 

Tesseract

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You're talking about the most extreme cases, I'm talking about the smiling depressives who drive people to the level you're talking about. And yes, there is a parallel between those branded having a "mental illness" and damned/heretics during the Christian inquisition. There's no difference between the "impure" mentally ill, and ones possessed by the devil during those times. And as always they should be "helped" for their own "good".

Either way we're not going to agree, and that's fine. I don't want a hot debate.

no necessary philosophical bend or history lesson is needed, psychiatrists are not criminals, that is loose cannon scientology verbage

as for the extreme cases yeah, not so much, people live in loops and those loops tend to circle the drain until they correct themselves or pathologize into something worse
the smiling depressives in too many cases end up breaking, that's where psychosis and schitzo affective (among others) come into play
 
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Melon

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Hi, I've been diagnosed with bipolar disorder since age fourteen. I've been hospitalized on multiple occasions due to suicide attempts. It's been a struggle to find the right meds for me since I have a folate deficiency (basically my body has a difficult time breaking those meds down and usually has some mean side-effects). I saw the same psychiatrist from age eleven to age nineteen. He fought tooth and nail to keep me as a patient for as long as he could (he was a pediatric psychologist). He was one of the most empathetic people I've had the pleasure of meeting. I recently got a new psychiatrist who is actually friends with my old psychiatrist and he is just as wonderful. I don't know where I'd be without them. Not once have they made me stick to a med or put me on something I wasn't comfortable with. I owe a lot of my progress to them. Our conversations were rarely just about med talk. Lots of it was learning healthy coping mechanisms and finding healthier hobbies.
 
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I do think there are two different types of mental health diagnoses. There are the diagnoses related to brain chemistry which I believe to be valid. It is the diagnosis of personality disorders that I take issue with.

That said I do agree with others who've said it at least provides a pathway for treatment. Being aware of my behaviors that led to my BPD diagnosis did help me realize I have a lot of issues dealing with my emotions in a healthy way. I don't think I ever really learned that as a child.
 

#Phonepunk#

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Pretty much the whole field is a lot of guesswork this is why people go thru so many drugs, no way to really tell which one works for you except trial and error.
 

llien

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...there is a significant amount of overlap in symptoms between disorder diagnoses...
No shit, Watson. As with many diseases.


...diagnostic labels... can create stigma and prejudice....
...relies far too heavily on subjective ideas about what is considered “normal.”...
...diagnoses are “scientifically meaningless,...
There are even crazier example of SJW science though.
E.g. literature prof taking on neuroscientists, claiming that there are no brain differences between men and women (in fact, we can spot them even in fetuses) gets hefty monetary reward for her "breakthrough" work.
 
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Pimpbaa

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I got classified as purely having avoidant personality disorder. No doubt that is huge part of my problems, but it never explained panic attacks triggered by nothing, extreme panic attacks in crowded areas, excessive anxiety well after a high anxiety event (i'm talking weeks), and continuous loud noises can cause me to become extremely agitated (maybe part of the reason I get panic attacks in crowded areas).
 
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SLoWMoTIoN

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There are 2 important things you should consider. Fists prescribing medication is the role of a Psychiatrist. No other professional in the psychology field can do so. It takes them a minimum of 10 years to even reach such a status and it is a great accomplishment. They are far from criminals my friend. The second things you should consider is that it is also your responsibility to communicate to your DR. that you are experiencing negative symptoms outside of your comfort zone and they will be more then happy to try a different dosage or medication to find what is right for you. If your Dr. dose not listen to your feedback and won’t change your prescription then it is time to find a new doctor!! It is unfair to lump all Dr. in psychology because of one bad experience. If you desire a more personal connection then you should see a therapist that is their primary role. They can offer you a wide variety of treatments that do not involve drugs :)
Are you telling me most college students aren't on some mind altering drug to focus at this very moment?
 

mckmas8808

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Just because psychiatry diagnoses have been stretched for the sake of prescribing pills doesn't mean the whole field is 'scientifically meaningless'. This article is fighting a strawman. I know folks who were recommended therapists by their psychiatrist instead of or alongside their prescribed medication. I know folks who were given medication, were monitored, and then pulled off medication based on their feedback to the psychiatrist. There are pill-pushers out there, but here are psychiatrists/therapists who make a positive difference, too.

While these researchers might think they're being virtuous when saying "no one is alike! We're all unique! Stop cramming us into boxes.", they are tearing down hope for people looking for answers. The whole point of medicine is to categorize illness for the sake of reliable treatment, so when the article states "these diagnoses tell us little to nothing about the individual patient and what type of treatments they will need" they are really just saying "don't box me in with your labels, dude. Now pass me the healing crystal".

Every word in this post is perfect. It's amazing your average person on a video game forum can be more objective about what "medicine" is. Being a therapist/psychiatrist is more art than science (maybe 60%-40%). So to say "scientifically meaningless" is not only unfair, it's someone totally missing the point.
 
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Taxexemption

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I think the vast majority of what we call mental illness is really just an inability to adapt to conditions in modern life that are different from what was normal in the past. Our social structure has changed, as well as the way people live. I think a lot of these people that supposedly have mental illness would be just fine if they were born in an earlier era. I think society is heading in a direction were a smaller and smaller percentage of people will be able to really adapt to and thrive in it compared to the past, and you will see more people with "mental illness."


Also, who knows what various foods that never existed up until the last few seconds of history might do to our body and brain. I can't consume anything with aspartame in it, if I do I will become depressed, like to the point of being pretty much non-functional. This will happen within a short time of me consuming the product. A lot of people could be effected in a similar manner by foods that we only eat now, but the effects could be far slower and so it could be more difficult to establish that there is a relationship between the food and their mental health. I no joke feel a level of depression like I want to cry, like I found out someone I cared about just died if I drink a diet coke.
 

Tesseract

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I think the vast majority of what we call mental illness is really just an inability to adapt to conditions in modern life that are different from what was normal in the past. Our social structure has changed, as well as the way people live. I think a lot of these people that supposedly have mental illness would be just fine if they were born in an earlier era. I think society is heading in a direction were a smaller and smaller percentage of people will be able to really adapt to and thrive in it compared to the past, and you will see more people with "mental illness."


Also, who knows what various foods that never existed up until the last few seconds of history might do to our body and brain. I can't consume anything with aspartame in it, if I do I will become depressed, like to the point of being pretty much non-functional. This will happen within a short time of me consuming the product. A lot of people could be effected in a similar manner by foods that we only eat now, but the effects could be far slower and so it could be more difficult to establish that there is a relationship between the food and their mental health. I no joke feel a level of depression like I want to cry, like I found out someone I cared about just died if I drink a diet coke.

nope, they would be significantly worse without medication
 

Taxexemption

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nope, they would be significantly worse without medication

I didn't really mention any particular group so I'm unsure how you came to that conclusion. Do genetic differences mean that a medication that is helpful for one person might be unhelpful for another person who has similar symptoms? Are psychiatrist doing genetic testing before prescribing medications?


A lot of people I know have been prescribed medications by psychiatrists, they all quit and felt the medication was worse than the problems it was supposed to treat. I've never met someone in real life who felt that any medication prescribed to them for mental health reasons was helpful.
 
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nush

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I think the vast majority of what we call mental illness is really just an inability to adapt to conditions in modern life that are different from what was normal in the past. Our social structure has changed, as well as the way people live. I think a lot of these people that supposedly have mental illness would be just fine if they were born in an earlier era. I think society is heading in a direction were a smaller and smaller percentage of people will be able to really adapt to and thrive in it compared to the past, and you will see more people with "mental illness."


Also, who knows what various foods that never existed up until the last few seconds of history might do to our body and brain. I can't consume anything with aspartame in it, if I do I will become depressed, like to the point of being pretty much non-functional. This will happen within a short time of me consuming the product. A lot of people could be effected in a similar manner by foods that we only eat now, but the effects could be far slower and so it could be more difficult to establish that there is a relationship between the food and their mental health. I no joke feel a level of depression like I want to cry, like I found out someone I cared about just died if I drink a diet coke.
What's your cut off point for the past/modern life? I'd agree diet and food additives are a factor for some people.
 

Tesseract

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I didn't really mention any particular group so I'm unsure how you came to that conclusion. Do genetic differences mean that a medication that is helpful for one person might be unhelpful for another person who has similar symptoms? Are psychiatrist doing genetic testing before prescribing medications?


A lot of people I know have been prescribed medications by psychiatrists, they all quit and felt the medication was worse than the problems it was supposed to great. I've never met someone in real life who felt that any medication prescribed to them for mental health reasons was helpful.

drug-gene testing is kinda junk science unless you fork over a fortune, even then the sample rate is low and it's more about absorption
getting the right medication requires some guesswork from doctors, also demands complete honesty from patients about issues they're facing ~ patients must dig deep and spill everything or incorrect diagnoses might be made

and it's not like you are gonna take a pill and get right, you have to change whatever lifestyle is keeping you circling the drain
i got off all drugs and got shredded out of my mind
 
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Taxexemption

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What's your cut off point for the past/modern life? I'd agree diet and food additives are a factor for some people.

I dont have an exact year or decade at the moment. A lot of the societal changes are pretty recent. IRL Communities are really breaking down with the invention and proliferation of the internet.