Friday, 4 July 2014

I'm still concerned about the anterior cingulotomies going on at the Dundee Advanced Interventions Service

The fact that Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, up the road from me in Fife, Scotland, is promoting brain surgery for mental illness, neurosurgery for mental disorder (NMD), is still a big concern to me.  On many levels.  

Not least because I believe there is no such thing as mental illness in the scientific sense.  It's a psychiatric construct and a label given to people for whom the treatment doesn't work.  They labelled me with it but I didn't believe it, got off the psychiatric drugs and recovered.

The Dundee Advanced Interventions Service is "a specialist service providing assessment and treatment for severe and chronic treatment-refractory depression (TRD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)".  Their website uses the expression "top-sliced" to describe the money for the service taken from the budgets of NHS Boards.  A surgical description.

I am concerned that the DAIS work of focusing on brains is a reinforcement of biological psychiatry which hasn't been proven and reduces a person to an organism.  Mental health difficulties can become mental disorders in psychiatric settings when people are resistant to drug treatment or "non-compliant" (non-conformist in the real world).

I contend that if the treatment doesn't work then it's the treatment that is at fault, not the person.  Let's look at better ways of working with people in mental distress which take into account the whole person and not just their biological make-up.  We are more than genes and cells and chemicals.  We are human beings with spiritual and existential leanings.  There is more to us than meets the eye. 

I don't want Scotland, my home country, to be the centre for anterior cingulotomies, spearheading brain surgery for mental illness.  It's a retrograde step, in my opinion, to be fiddling in people's brains for no good reason whatsoever.  Just because the ECT "hasn't worked".  ECT new pain for old.  A knock on the head.  Going a step further and delving into brains.  It just doesn't make sense.

More to follow ...

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