Diagnostic Deceit - Schizophrenia , Bipolar, Depression

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CHAPTER TWO Diagnostic Deceit and Betrayal

As a substitute for mental healing, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) developed the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV (DSM), a text that lists 374 supposed mental disorders. Its diagnostic criteria are so vague, subjective and expansive that there is possibly not one person alive today who, using this as the standard, would escape being labeled mentally ill. Of course, that makes for a whole lot more mental ill-health business for psychiatrists.

Meanwhile, psychiatrists not only admit that they have no idea of what causes these supposed “diseases,” they have no scientifically validated proof whatsoever that they even exist as discrete physical illnesses.

Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus Thomas Szasz says: “The primary function and goal of the DSM is to lend credibility to the claim that certain behaviors, or more correctly, misbehaviors, are mental disorders and that such disorders are, therefore, medical diseases. Thus, pathological gambling enjoys the same status as myocardial infarction [blood clot in heart artery].”

Patients are betrayed when told their emotional problems are genetically or biologically based. Elliot Valenstein, Ph.D., says that “while patients may be relieved to be told that they have a ‘physical disease,’ they may adopt a passive role in their own recovery, becoming completely dependent on a physical treatment to remedy their condition.”

Psychiatrists Cannot Define Schizophrenia

Psychiatrists literally vote on what constitutes a mental illness or disorder by raising their hands at a conference. This explains why they cannot scientifically define what they treat. In the DSM-II, they state: “Even if it had tried, the [APA] Committee could not establish agreement about what this disorder is; it could only agree on what to call it.”

Allen J. Frances, professor of psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center and Chair of the DSM-IV Task Force, admitted: “There could arguably not be a worse term than mental disorder to describe the conditions classified in DSM-IV.” DSM-IV itself states that the term “mental disorder” continues to appear in the volume “because we have not found an appropriate substitute.”

Prof. Szasz further states: “Schizophrenia is defined so vaguely that, in actuality, it is a term often applied to almost any kind of behavior of which the speaker disapproves.”

Aside from schizophrenia, there are numerous other conditions or behaviors that psychiatrists have defined as diseases and through which they make millions of dollars in insurance reimbursement, government funds and profits from drug sales.

“Bipolar Disorder”

Psychiatry makes “unproven claims that depression, bipolar illness, anxiety, alcoholism and a host of other disorders are in fact primarily biologic and probably genetic in origin. … This kind of faith in science and progress is staggering, not to mention naive and perhaps delusional,” says psychiatrist David Kaiser.

Bipolar Disorder is supposedly characterized by alternating episodes of depression and mania—thus, “two poles” or “bipolar.” In January 2002, the eMedicine Journal reported: “The etiology and pathophysiology (functional changes) of bipolar disorder (BPD) have not been determined, and no objective biological markers exist that correspond definitively with the disease state.” Nor have any genes “been definitively identified” for BPD.

Craig Newnes, psychological therapies director of a Community and Mental Health Service in Shropshire, England, related the story of three psychiatrists who told a feisty grandmother that her grandson had bipolar disorder caused by a “brain-biochemical imbalance.” Quietly, but firmly, she asked what evidence they had that there was something wrong with his brain. They said his mood and behavior indicated a serious problem. She asked how they knew this was caused by brain chemistry. Her grandson was quickly transferred to a unit that offered “talking therapies” instead of drugs. “Imagine the same situation in oncology: you are told that you look like you have cancer, offered no tests, and told you will have two operations, followed by radiotherapy and a course of drugs that makes your hair fall out. The idea is preposterous …. Next time you are told that a psychiatric condition is due to a brain-biochemical imbalance, ask if you can see the test results,” said Newnes.

Continuing the fraudulent medical analogy, psychiatrists commonly claim today that depression is also an “illness, just like heart disease or asthma.”

The DSM says that five out of nine criteria must be met to diagnose depression, including deep sadness, apathy, fatigue, agitation, sleep disturbances and appetite change. Even psychiatrists are concerned about such attempts to “make an illness out of what looks to be life’s normal ups and downs.”

Harvard Medical School’s Joseph Glenmullen says, “… [T]he symptoms [of depression] are subjective emotional states, making the diagnosis extremely vague.”

Dr. Glenmullen says the superficial checklist rating scales used to screen people for depression are “designed to fit hand-in-glove with the effects of drugs, emphasizing the physical symptoms of depression that most respond to antidepressant medication. … While assigning a number to a patient’s depression may look scientific, when one examines the questions asked and the scales used, they are utterly subjective measures based on what the patient reports or a rater’s impressions.”

David Healy, psychiatrist and director of the North Wales Department of Psychological Medicine reports, “There are increasing concerns among the clinical community that not only do neuroscientific developments not reveal anything about the nature of psychiatric disorders but in fact they distract from clinical research. …”

Prof. Szasz points out: “If schizophrenia, for example, turns out to have a biochemical cause and cure, schizophrenia would no longer be one of the diseases for which a person would be involuntarily committed. In fact, it would then be treated by neurologists, and psychiatrists would then have no more to do with it than they do with Glioblastoma [malignant tumor], Parkinsonism, and other diseases of the brain.”

“Schizophrenia is defined so vaguely that, in actuality, it is a term often applied to almost any kind of behavior of which the speaker disapproves.”
— Dr. Thomas Szasz, professor of psychiatry emeritus, 2002

“No one has anything but the vaguest idea of the chemical effects of [psychotropic] drugs on the living human brain.”
— Dr. Joseph Glenmullen, Harvard Medical School

PSEUDOSCIENCE Blaming the Brain

“More and more problems have been redefined as ‘disorders’ or ‘illnesses’, supposedly caused by genetic predispositions and biochemical imbalances. Life events are relegated to mere triggers of an underlying biological time bomb. Feeling very sad has become ‘depressive disorder.’ Worrying too much is ‘anxiety disorder’. … Making lists of behaviors, applying medical-sounding labels to people who engage in them, then using the presence of those behaviors to prove they have the illness in question is scientifically meaningless.”
— John Read, senior lecturer in psychology at Auckland University, New Zealand, 2004

The cornerstone of psychiatry’s disease model today is the con- cept that a brain-based, chemi- cal imbalance underlies mental disease. While popularized by heavy marketing, it is simply wishful psychiatric thinking. As with all of psychiatry’s disease models, it has been thoroughly discredited by researchers.

Dr. Valenstein is unequivocal: “[T]here are no tests available for assessing the chemical status of a living person’s brain.” Also, no “bio- chemical, anatomical, or functional signs have been found that reliably distinguish the brains of mental patients.”

Dr. Colbert says. "We know that the chemical imbalance model for mental illness has never been scientifically proven. We also know that all reasonable evidence points instead to the disabling model of psychiatric drug action. Furthermore, we also know that the research on drug effectiveness /efficacy are unreliable because drug tests only measure efficacy based on symptom reduction, not cure.”

In 2002, Prof. Thomas Szasz, stated: “There is no blood or other biological test to ascertain the presence or absence of a mental illness, as there is for most bodily diseases. If such a test were developed (for what, heretofore, had been considered a psychiatric illness), then the condition would cease to be a mental illness and would be classified, instead, as a symptom of a bodily disease.”

In his book, The Complete Guide to Psychiatric Drugs,, published in 2000, Edward Drummond, M.D., Associate Medical Director at Seacoast Mental Health Center in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, stated, “First, no biological etiology [cause] has been proven for any psychiatric disorder … in spite of decades of research. ... So don’t accept the myth that we can make an ‘accurate diagnosis.’ … Neither should you believe that your problems are due solely to a ‘chemical imbalance.’”

An article published in May 2004 in the U.S. newspaper The Mercury News warned that brain scans also cannot determine “mental illness”: “Many doctors warn about using the SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) [brain] imaging as a diagnostic tool, saying it is unethical—and potentially dangerous— for doctors to use SPECT to identify emotional, behavioral and psychiatric problems in a patient. The $2,500 evaluation offers no useful or accurate information, they say.”

Quoted in The Mercury News article was psychiatrist M. Douglas Mar, who said, “There is no scientific basis for these claims [of using brain scans for psychiatric diagnosis]. At a minimum, patients should be told that SPECT is highly controversial.”

“An accurate diagnosis based on a scan is simply not possible,” admitted Dr. Michael D. Devous from the Nuclear Medicine Center at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

While there has been no shortage of biochemical explanations for psychiatric conditions, Joseph Glenmullen is emphatic: “… [N]ot one has been proven. Quite the contrary. In every instance where such an imbalance was thought to have been found, it was later proven false.”

According to Valenstein, “The theories are held on to not only because there is nothing else to take their place, but also because they are useful in pro- moting drug treatment.”

Psychiatry makes “unproven claims that depression, bipolar illness, anxiety, alcoholism and a host of other disorders are in fact primarily biologic and probably genetic in origin…. This kind of faith in science and progress is staggering, not to mention naïve and perhaps delusional.”
— David Kaiser, psychiatrist


1. Mental health would be the outcome of effective mental healing.

2. While medical cures exist for physical illness, no psychiatric cures exist for mental disorders.

3. It is a matter of sound medical fact that undiagnosed physical illness or injury can trigger emotional difficulties.

4. Several studies show that those diagnosed with “mental illness” were actually suffering from a
physical condition.

5. The true resolution of many mental difficulties begins with a thorough physical examination by a competent medical—not psychiatric—doctor.


1. People in desperate circumstances must be provided proper and effective medical care. Medical, not psychiatric, attention, good nutrition, a healthy, safe environment and activity that promotes confidence will do far more than the brutality of psychiatry’s drug treatments.
2. Mental health homes must be established to replace coercive psychiatric institutions. These must have medical diagnostic equipment, which non-psychiatric medical doctors can use to thoroughly examine and test for all underlying physical problems that may be manifesting as disturbed behavior. Government and private funds should be channeled into this rather than abusive psychiatric institutions and programs that have proven not to work.

3. When faced with incidents of psychiatric assault, fraud, illicit drug selling or other abuse, file a complaint with the police. Send CCHR a copy of your complaint. Once criminal complaints have been filed, they should also be filed with the state regulatory agencies, such as state medical and psychologists’ boards. Such agencies can investigate and revoke or suspend a psychiatrist’s or psychologist’s license to practice. You should also seek legal advice to file a civil suit for compensatory damages.

4. Establish rights for patients and their insurance companies to receive refunds for mental health treatment that did not achieve the promised result or improvement, or which resulted in proven harm to the individual, thereby ensuring that responsibility lies with the individual practitioner and psychiatric facility rather than the government or its agencies.

5. The pernicious influence of psychiatry has wreaked havoc throughout society, especially in the prisons, hospitals and educational systems. Citizens groups and responsible government officials should work together to expose and abolish psychiatry’s hidden manipulation of society.

Citizens Commission on Human Rights International
The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) was established in 1969 by the Church of Scientology to investigate and expose psychiatric violations of human rights, and to clean up the field of mental healing. Today, it has more than 130 chapters in over 31 countries. Its board of advisors, called Commissioners, includes doctors, lawyers, educators, artists, business professionals, and civil and human rights representatives.

While it doesn’t provide medical or legal advice, it works closely with and supports medical doctors and medical practice. A key CCHR focus is psychiatry’s fraudulent use of subjective “diagnoses” that lack any scientific or medical merit, but which are used to reap financial benefits in the billions, mostly from the taxpayers or insurance carriers. Based on these false diagnoses, psychiatrists justify and prescribe life-damaging treatments, including mind-altering drugs, which mask a person’s underlying difficulties and prevent his or her recovery.

CCHR’s work aligns with the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in particular the following precepts, which psychiatrists violate on a daily basis:

Article 3: Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 5: No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 7: All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.

Through psychiatrists’ false diagnoses, stigmatizing labels, easy-seizure commitment laws, brutal, depersonalizing “treatments,” thousands of individuals are harmed and denied their inherent human rights.

CCHR has inspired and caused many hundreds of reforms by testifying before legislative hearings and conducting public hearings into psychiatric abuse, as well as working with media, law enforcement and public officials the world over.

Mission Statement

investigates and exposes psychiatric violations of human rights. It works shoulder-to-shoulder with like-minded groups and individuals who share a common purpose to clean up the field of mental health. We shall continue to do so until psychiatry’s abusive and coercive practices cease and human rights and dignity are returned to all.

For further information:

CCHR International, 6616 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA, USA 90028
Telephone: (323) 467-4242  (800) 869-2247  Fax: (323) 467-3720
www. cchr.org  e-mail: humanrights @cchr.org


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