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Future of technology to cure mental illness


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#1
Razz

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At what year will the technology be available world wide to cure mental illness such as depression , OCD , Schizophrenia etc ?

And is it possible that in next decade we will be able to delete certain thoughts from our mind that we don't want.

#2
TranscendingGod

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We have pharmaceuticals that ameliorate symptoms greatly, but it is a matter of finding the right pill. As for finding a cure I think we'll be much closer once we completely understand the genetic components as well as the actual manifestation in the brain. Targeting the illness through our genome and via the mechanisms in the brain will allow us to potentially cure mental illness.

As for the unwanted thoughts they are usually the result of the condition so for example the OCD that you mention is often accompanied by intrusive thoughts which when the underlying illness is treated go away completely or are greatly diminished.

Having panic disorder and OCD with intrusive thoughts myself I sympathize with the plight of the millions of people suffering with these horrible illnesses and hope very much that we can cure them soon.
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#3
bgates276

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While I'm not going to deny people having mental problems, the whole psychiatric industry is shrouded in pseudo-science. Before you can treat an illness, you have to be able to properly define what it is,  and you need proper diagnostic tools to ascertain that that is what that person has. Currently, all psychiatrists do, is make a diagnosis based on signs and symptoms, which are totally subjective. They then label you and make the giant leap that what you are suffering from is rooted in biochemistry, maybe even genetic and that can only be treated with pharmaceuticals. They then give you a drug which may or may not be that specific to the illness you've diagnosed with. Ie. Prozac, which is usually given for depression, is also given to those with OCD.

 

The reality though, is that psychiatry doesn't want to find a cure. All they do is treat symptoms. If they actually cured the problem, they would lose customers and they would lose control of you. Psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry are too big of business for it to stop. In fact, I'd argue half the time, it isn't patients seeking the drug, but the drugs the pharmaceutical industry invested in, in search of a patient. Half the time, people are drugged against their will. The business would never survive in a truly free market. These psychiatrists shuffle between acadamia, mental hospitals, and the boards of the pharmaceutical companies. The game is rigged.

 

So where do I see the industry headed? A cure? No. What will probably end up happening, is patients could be tagged with some kind of tracking device, which notifies their doctors, or authorities, if they have been taking their medicine consistently. This will be done to force compliance. Another possibility is that injections are developed which can last for years. Last time I read, there was a slow release anti-psychotic injection which could last for 3 months. It costs thousands of dollars.  



#4
TranscendingGod

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The whole psychiatric industry is shrouded in pseudo-science. Before you can treat an illness, you have to be able to properly define what it is,  and you need proper diagnostic tools to ascertain that that is what that person has. Currently, all psychiatrists do, is make a diagnosis based on signs and symptoms, which are totally subjective. They then make the giant leap that what you are suffering from is rooted in biochemistry, maybe even genetic and that can only be treated with pharmaceuticals. They then give you a drug which may or may not be that specific to the illness you've diagnosed with. Ie. Prozac, which is usually given for depression, is also given to those with OCD.

 

The reality though, is that psychiatry doesn't want to find a cure. All they do is treat symptoms. If they actually cured the problem, they would lose customers and they would lose control of you. Psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry are too big of business for it to stop. In fact, I'd argue half the time, it isn't patients seeking the drug, but the drugs the pharmaceutical industry invested in, in search of a patient. Half the time, people are drugged against their will. The business would never survive in a truly free market. These psychiatrists shuffle between acadamia, mental hospitals, and the boards of the pharmaceutical companies. The game is rigged.

 

So where do I see the industry headed? A cure? No. What will probably end up happening, is patients could be tagged with some kind of tracking device, which notifies their doctors, or authorities, if they have been taking their medicine consistently. This will be done to force compliance. Another possibility is that injections are developed which can last for years. Last time I read, there was a slow release anti-psychotic injection which could last for 3 months. It costs thousands of dollars.  

The subjective nature of a diagnosis is true to an extent, but the other stuff you're saying is bullshit. Psychiatrist are not in cohorts with pharmaceutical industries, and drugs utilized to treat certain mental illnesses have to be vetted just like drugs which are used to treat diabetes. So for example the prozac you mention has had to undergo double blind tests in order to ascertain effectiveness over placebo. So simply because it is not "specific to the illness" does not mean it is not effective. 

 

So the idea that you local psychiatrist is on the board of a pharmaceutical company is completely conspiratorial, and utter nonsense. Drugs can have effects on more than one mental illness. For example buspirone is effective at treating both anxiety and depression even though it is classified as an anxiolytic and not an antidepressant. Regarding the subjective nature of diagnosis this needs to be remedied and like I alluded to before I believe it will. Once having a genetic test, MRI, and other objective diagnoses are affordable and proven at diagnosing mental illnesses it will be a lot less subjective. However I can assure you that even given this the medications prescribed are very often effective and not simply a conspiracy by the pharmaceutical companies to keep their patients sick. 

 

Smarter people than me will tell you as much. Look at some of Robert Sapolsky's interviews for example. 


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#5
bgates276

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The whole psychiatric industry is shrouded in pseudo-science. Before you can treat an illness, you have to be able to properly define what it is,  and you need proper diagnostic tools to ascertain that that is what that person has. Currently, all psychiatrists do, is make a diagnosis based on signs and symptoms, which are totally subjective. They then make the giant leap that what you are suffering from is rooted in biochemistry, maybe even genetic and that can only be treated with pharmaceuticals. They then give you a drug which may or may not be that specific to the illness you've diagnosed with. Ie. Prozac, which is usually given for depression, is also given to those with OCD.

 

The reality though, is that psychiatry doesn't want to find a cure. All they do is treat symptoms. If they actually cured the problem, they would lose customers and they would lose control of you. Psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry are too big of business for it to stop. In fact, I'd argue half the time, it isn't patients seeking the drug, but the drugs the pharmaceutical industry invested in, in search of a patient. Half the time, people are drugged against their will. The business would never survive in a truly free market. These psychiatrists shuffle between acadamia, mental hospitals, and the boards of the pharmaceutical companies. The game is rigged.

 

So where do I see the industry headed? A cure? No. What will probably end up happening, is patients could be tagged with some kind of tracking device, which notifies their doctors, or authorities, if they have been taking their medicine consistently. This will be done to force compliance. Another possibility is that injections are developed which can last for years. Last time I read, there was a slow release anti-psychotic injection which could last for 3 months. It costs thousands of dollars.  

The subjective nature of a diagnosis is true to an extent, but the other stuff you're saying is bullshit. Psychiatrist are not in cohorts with pharmaceutical industries, and drugs utilized to treat certain mental illnesses have to be vetted just like drugs which are used to treat diabetes. So for example the prozac you mention has had to undergo double blind tests in order to ascertain effectiveness over placebo. So simply because it is not "specific to the illness" does not mean it is not effective. 

 

So the idea that you local psychiatrist is on the board of a pharmaceutical company is completely conspiratorial, and utter nonsense. Drugs can have effects on more than one mental illness. For example buspirone is effective at treating both anxiety and depression even though it is classified as an anxiolytic and not an antidepressant. Regarding the subjective nature of diagnosis this needs to be remedied and like I alluded to before I believe it will. Once having a genetic test, MRI, and other objective diagnoses are affordable and proven at diagnosing mental illnesses it will be a lot less subjective. However I can assure you that even given this the medications prescribed are very often effective and not simply a conspiracy by the pharmaceutical companies to keep their patients sick. 

 

Smarter people than me will tell you as much. Look at some of Robert Sapolsky's interviews for example. 

 

 

If a drug isn't specific to an illness, then what exactly is it doing? You may get a drug which treats certain symptoms, but everything else the drug does may simply blunt the entire brain, or cause other issues with the rest of the body. Psychiatrists often call these 'side effects', but they are not side effects, they are simply the drug acting the way it should, but unintended by the people who made it. The fact that it may have had some benefit, may just have been a coincidence.

 

I also question the safety of these drugs. You'd think they would be safe, because they are supposed to be thoroughly tested, but many of these so called 'studies', are funded by the industries themselves, going back to the point I made about psychiatrists shuffling about. What's more, if you are in the phase of clinical trials, by their very nature, the sample sizes are going to be incredibly small, which could cause a lot of variance. So if you don't like the results you get? Either twist the data, or just throw them out and do another study until you get the data you want. The real test of whether these drugs are safe is when they are actually administered on a large scale to the public, and as has been demonstrated, several class action law suits have arisen because the drugs were NOT safe, despite all the supposed testing. So the pharmaceutical industries just end up settling in court, but I guess that is just the price of doing business. 

 

Off the top of my head, I know there was a class action law suit with Risperidone that got settled. I know this isn't exactly related to psychiatry, but perhaps you have heard of the Sackler family? (who ironically are descendents of psychiatrists) People have been saying that they are largely responsible for the opioid crisis because many of their drugs that they have been producing are a lot more dangerous and addictive than people thought. Of course, they all went through trials too, but that didn't matter. They will pay some kind of fines, and continue to do business.



#6
TranscendingGod

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Every drug has a mechanism through which it operates and while our understanding of the exact mechanism of action of the drugs is not perfect there are viable theories. It is also true that the nature of mental illnesses like anxiety and depression are closely connected and often arise when one or the other is present. It would seem that these drugs act on mechanisms which are related to multiple illnesses. This phenomenon is one of the most well documented in the field.

The purpose of a double blind experiment is to make matters like who funds the experiment irrelevant. There is something called P hacking but to claim that the industry as a whole is doing nothing but corrupting the data needs quite a bit of evidence. Also take into consideration there is peer review, and the fact that as much as you might not want to accept it a lot of these medications are what allow people to lead fairly normal lives.

Obviously there have been instances where medications or many other products in fact have not been as safe or as thoroughly vetted as they should have been but again they are the exception that proves the rule.

Double blind clinical trials are the gold standard, and while it is true that a large sample size over many years is ideal there is nevertheless overwhelming evidence that these studies vet the safety of medications on at least a short term basis. That is why there is always a risk when taking newer medications in the long term. Something like Prozac has been used for several decades now and the long term safety and effectiveness has been demonstrated.

This is not to argue against change in the way we diagnose, treat, or handle mental illness, nor is it a callous defense of the psychiatric profession or pharmaceutical industry. However what I am saying is that these diagnoses and treatments have helped and are helping millions. The whole pharmaceutical industry is not some large conspiracy to keep patients sick. Who is coordinating them all? Does competition not exist? Psychiatrist are not in on the deal and apathetically disregard their patients while being fully aware that they are feeding them lies. They are aware that their field is far from perfect and that it is more subjective than other fields.

In other words I don't refute the problems but I refute the fantastical.

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#7
funkervogt

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Many mental illnesses have genetic causes, so human genetic engineering will provide a means to reduce their occurrence. Even if it cost $100,000 to engineer each zygote in vitro, it would pay for itself several times over since the amount of money saved over their lifetime in terms of medical bills, lost productivity, and just plain misery would be vastly larger. 



#8
Lastseasonsnow

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I'm not sure it's a good idea to cure depression with technology while it is technology, one of the reasons that lead people to depression. I say that because I've seen many people who lost contact with human and spend more time with technology make themselves depressed. 






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