Medical ethics is a system of principles that applies values and judgments to the practice of medicine. One of the purposes of ethics is to remove the barriers toward optimum survival. And an outcome is an end result or consequence.
When we think about the quality and outcomes of health care, we can think in terms that are important to the patient, or alternatively in terms that are important to others such as family, teachers, insurance companies, or the attending medical professionals.
Joe Jimenez, the CEO of Novartis (a pharmaceutical company headquartered in Basel, Switzerland), was recently quoted in Business Week (4/5/12) as saying, “Increasingly, in every part of the world, pharmaceutical companies will not be paid on the number of pills they sell but on the outcomes they produce. In the U.S., we spend about 17 percent of GDP on health care. Singapore spends 1.3 percent and gets better health outcomes. Something is very wrong.”
While it is refreshing to hear a pharmaceutical executive allude to poor outcomes in the pharmaceutical industry, we must not forget what the real problems are in health care, and what the real solutions are.
Naturally, in an industry as complex and burdened with problems as health care, there is not going to be just one solution. There needs to be one or more solutions for each problem. One of the problems is that mental health care has lost sight of what is a good patient outcome.
The Real Problem in Mental Health Care
In a nutshell, there is a lack of science and results within the mental health industry. Despite its lack of scientific validity, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is used heavily as a diagnostic tool, not only for individual treatment but also for child custody battles, court testimony, education, and more. While medicine’s scientific procedures are verifiable, psychiatry’s lack of any systematic approach to mental health and its continued lack of measurable results has contributed greatly to its declining reputation.
In spite of record spending for mental health care, the U.S. now faces record levels of child abuse, suicide, drug abuse, violence and crime – very real problems for which the psychiatric industry can identify neither causes nor solutions. Community Mental Health programs have been an expensive and colossal failure, creating homelessness, drug addiction, crime and unemployment. Mental health courts assert that criminal behavior is caused by a psychiatric problem and that treatment will stop the behavior; there is no evidence, however, to support this supposition. Many medical studies reveal that psychiatric drugs create violence.
The claim that only increased psychiatric funding will cure the problems of psychiatry has lost its ring of truth. In 2002, the U.S. President’s Commission on Excellence in Special Education found that 40% of American children in Special Education programs labeled with “learning disorders” had simply never been taught to read.
More than 6 million U.S. children have been put on mind-altering psychiatric drugs for an invented mental disorder called “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.” Talk about an unethical outcome! Giving a child psychotropic drugs for a learning disorder when the correct outcome should be teaching the child to read! Whose outcome is this? Not the child’s, for sure.
From these facts it is safe to conclude that a reduction in the funding of psychiatric programs will not cause a worsening of mental health. Less funding for harmful psychiatric practices will, in fact, improve the state of mental health.
Fortunately, many non-psychiatric, humane and workable practices exist in the quest for the achievement and recovery of mental health, even for the most severely disturbed individuals. While psychiatrists strenuously deny it, much knowledgeable and skillful help is administered by non-psychiatric professionals whose focus is on positive patient outcomes.
The same waste of lives and funding occurs whenever the DSM is used to evaluate an individual’s mental health or actions. It is vital that the DSM diagnostic system is universally rejected before any chance of meaningful mental health reform and advancement can occur.
Become a member of CCHR St. Louis today and receive a complimentary copy of the CCHR documentary “Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) â€” Psychiatryâ€™s Deadliest Scam.”