Mental Health is not the same as Physical Health


My mind is not my brain.

Here is an article that, in a way, reiterates a major problem of the mental health industry: it is oriented on the medical model of health. But more specifically, on the notion that physical health and mental health must be connected in a hierarchical manner where what is physical is foundational and thus primary to treatment.

This critique has been laid many times in many ways since probably the 1950s, and we might blame the aggravation of the mental health problem on the Big interest: Big Pharm, Big Money, Big Careers, and Big Egos.

Mental issue is mental issue having only some relationship to physical health, but physical health does not determine mental health.

In fact, neurologists who study the relationship between diagnostic categories, the mental illnesses such as designated and defined to criteria in the DSM V (the book where we find Mental Diagnoses), and the physical brain, have nearly no correlation to the actual experience that those diagnostic names suppose to identify.

What this means is that if someone suffering from anxiety were to have their brain scanned, say, by an MRI, or have their neurochemistry analyzed, there would be virtually no measurable difference in that state of physical brain and neurons that would equate to the diagnostic criteria that the DSM lists to describe “general anxiety disorder”. Whatever the differences in physical structure or chemical make up, it does not explain nor account for what we want to call ‘anxiety’ in any sense; there is no correlate against what is a person who is not suffering from anxiety.

Yet big pharmacology, medical doctors, and the aggregate of psychologists, psychiatrists, neurologists, all live by the standard that when somebody has anxiety, we give them this medicine, and it treats their mental illness. However, in fact, none of those scientists know why the chemicals that we give people for various mental illnesses and mental issues work. They have ideas, but the neurologists can’t find any reason why that should equate to a lessening of anxiety, for example. But more significantly, why some people have anxiety that is problematic and others don’t, all who otherwise might have a “serotonin” imbalance, say.

For sure, medication can help, but we have to ask our self: What are we really treating?

It’s like treating cancer with a wood saw and morphine.

This is the deciding factor in discerning what we’re dealing with so far as what we call mental health, as opposed to what we understand as mental issue or mental illness: mental health is not epistemologically reducible to the physical state, be it one’s personal body, the social environment, or the ideological one.

Though I have my own thoughts about the primacy of psychology in mental health, nonetheless, perhaps some people are actually beginning to think, in Heidegger’s sense of the word.

It’s Time for Psychology to Lead, Not Follow: Psychotherapy is not a medical treatment




Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: