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If mental and emotional problems are partly biological, then how is recovery possible?

“You have a biochemical imbalance in your brain.  This medication will help correct that imbalance.”  This is what most people diagnosed with a “mental disorder” will hear in the USA.  Yet, there is no solid evidence of any such imbalance, no brain test, and most of the theories about particular imbalances have been actually disproven.  Nevertheless, the mantra about imbalances is still chanted – because even though it is wrong and even though it robs people of hope of ever recoverying without drugs, it does help get people to “take their meds” and that is what our current mental health system is designed to do.

While there is no specific “chemical imbalance” that can be reliably found in people with a particular diagnosis, and no medication that restores a particular balance, there is lots of evidence that brain differences of various sorts play a role in mental problems.  Does this mean that mental and emotional problems are sometimes “hard wired in” and full recovery is impossible?  No, because modern science is showing how the brain itself is constantly being rewired, reorganizing itself, and this reorganization can lead to recovery.  A very good and remarkably coherent summary of this reality is posted at

1 comment… add one
  • I read something in the news today, that is far far more scary than the ongoing yatter about chemical imbalances: they seem to have found genes that predispose for “schizophrenia”, and the researchers now got funded further research that is supposed to finally verify the findings. Goal: people with these gene-“anormalies” can be “cured” via gene-manipulation, if an embryo shows the predisposing genes, abortion should be considered. Eugenics? Yup, eugenics. And, yes, they have 30 million Danish crowns to fund this research, while they don’t have a dime to establish alternatives…

    What the media don’t tell – of course not – is that recent research also has shown stress (childhood abuse/neglect/mistreatment) to be able to change genes.

    So, in future, people maybe no longer risk to get picked up by the cops, handcuffed, and carried to the nearest psych-ER to receive their monthly neuroleptic-shot, they risk to get picked up by the cops, handcuffed and carried to the nearest psych prison to get their genes manipulated, and/or to get an abortion. Nice, huh?

    I wrote an extensive comment about this at the comment section at an article in a Danish newspaper. I’ll probably translate and post it later today on my blog.