Friday, 21 November 2014

Denial in the medical system

I now have a new doctor who seemed on the surface to be understanding, but once she had gone through my notes came back with what I've heard countless times before; "it's reasuring that the tests have come back clear". And then there's the unstated ..."and therefore there's nothing wrong with you".

In case you think I am imagining this I want to share the following with you. This is for all the people who are suffering from environmental diseчase, or disorders caused by medical intervention itself.

There is an old ideology in a new from to explain away why you feel so unwell. You are suffering from a mental disorder.

Of course, there is no toxins out there, no radiation that could case physical symptoms! And we all know that cancer has nothing to do with toxins in the environment!

Who knows? Maybe they will invent another category for those people who believe that civilisatisation is collapsing, or humanity is heading for near-term extinction. 

I wonder what they will call it.


Somatic symptom disorder - an ideology to dismiss environmental and other illnesses

A somatic symptom disorder, formerly known as a somatoform disorder,[1][2][3] is a mental disorder characterized by physical symptoms that suggest physical illness or injury – symptoms that cannot be explained fully by a general medical condition or by the direct effect of a substance, and are not attributable to another mental disorder (e.g., panic disorder).[4] In people who have a somatic symptom disorder, medical test results are either normal or do not explain the person's symptoms, and history and physical examination do not indicate the presence of a medical condition that could cause them. Patients with this disorder often become worried about their health because doctors are unable to find a cause for their symptoms. This may cause severe distress. Preoccupation with the symptoms may portray a patient's exaggerated belief in the severity of their ill-health.[5] Symptoms are sometimes similar to those of other illnesses and may last for several years. Usually, the symptoms begin appearing during adolescence, and patients are diagnosed before the age of 30 years.[6] Symptoms may occur across cultures and gender.[6] Other common symptoms include anxiety and depression.[6] In order for an individual to be diagnosed with somatic symptom disorder, they must have recurring somatic complaints for at least 6 months.[6]

Somatic symptom disorders are not the result of conscious malingering (fabricating or exaggerating symptoms for secondary motives) or factitious disorders (deliberately producing, feigning, or exaggerating symptoms) – sufferers perceive their plight as real.[7] Additionally, a somatic symptom disorder should not be confused with the more specific diagnosis of a somatization disorder. Various laboratory tests, physical examinations, and surgeries on these individuals show no evidence supporting the idea that these exaggerating symptoms are present.[6] Mental disorders are treated separately from physiological or neurological disorders. Somatic symptom disorder is difficult to diagnose and treat since doing so requires psychiatrists to work with neurologists on patients with this disorder.[6] Those that do not pass the diagnostic criteria for a somatic symptom disorder but still present physical symptoms are usually referred to as having "somatic preoccupation".[5]

Recognized disorders

Somatic symptom disorders are actually a group of disorders, all of which fit the definition of physical symptoms that mimic physical disease or injury for which there is no identifiable physical cause; as such, they are a diagnosis of exclusion. They are recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders of the American Psychiatric Association as the following:[4]

  • Conversion disorder: A somatic symptom disorder involving the actual loss of bodily function such as blindness, paralysis, and numbness due to excessive anxiety
  • Somatization disorder: A disorder characterized by multiple physical complaints which do not have a medical explanation.[8]
  • Illness anxiety disorder: A somatic symptom disorder involving persistent and excessive worry about developing a serious illness. This disorder has recently gone under review and has been altered into three different classifications.[citation needed]
  • Body dysmorphic disorder: wherein the afflicted individual is concerned with body image, and is manifested as excessive concern about and preoccupation with a perceived defect of their physical appearance.

Undifferentiated somatic symptom disorder – only one unexplained symptom is required for at least 6 months.

Included among these disorders are false pregnancy, psychogenic urinary retention, and mass psychogenic illness (so-called mass hysteria).

Somatoform disorder Not Otherwise Specified (NOS)[9]

The ICD-10 classifies conversion disorder as a dissociative disorder.

Proposed disorders

Additional proposed somatic symptom disorders are:
  • Abridged somatization disorder[10] – at least 4 unexplained somatic complaints in men and 6 in women
  • Multisomatoform disorder[6] – at least 3 unexplained somatic complaints from the PRIME-MD scale for at least 2 years of active symptoms
  • These disorders have been proposed because the recognized somatic symptom disorders are either too restrictive or too broad. In a study of 119 primary care patients, the following prevalences were found:[11]
  • Somatization disorder – 1%
  • Abridged somatization disorder – 6%
  • Multisomatoform disorder – 24%
  • Undifferentiated somatoform disorder – 69%
  • Somatoform autonomic dysfunction (Dysautonomia)

Diagnostic criteria

Each of the specific somatic symptom disorders has its own diagnostic criteria.


In the opinion of Allen Frances, chair of the DSM-IV task force, the DSM-5's new somatic symptom disorder brings with it a risk of mislabeling a sizable proportion of the population as mentally ill. “Millions of people could be mislabeled, with the burden falling disproportionately on women, because they are more likely to be casually dismissed as ‘catastrophizers’ when presenting with physical symptoms

Reposting an earlier article

This is a personal story and so doesn't relate to the bigger picture of collapse - or does it?

I am looking from the point-of-view of medical science so this article leaves out the most important - the human spirit and the spiritual realm.

I refer to the corporate fascist state but I could also, just as easily be talking about the patriarchy, reductionistic thinking

From the personal realm

Modern medicine, the corporate state – and denial
By Seemorerocks

I have been looking for this information for a while and now I have found it.  Its says just what I feel about the medical "system"

"But getting back to those struck down with Twentieth Century Illness, it was, at least in the English-speaking countries never a case of 'I regret it, but our tests, our laboratories are inadequate to determine what is wrong with you, and so am I. We'll do our best for you in the face of our ignorance'

"Because Freud has said there were hidden things under the surface, in that dim and murky place, which we call, with our patheticallysuperstitious and primative understanding of the brain and logical human motivation, "the mind". And students at medical school are actually taught to believe that up to 45% of their patients will say they are ill, but will not actually be ill."

(Dr Toni Jeffreys PhD - Your Health at Risk – What Doctors and the Government Aren't Telling You, 1998)

It turns out that at medical school they are taught something along the following lines:

In any month any 400 people over 16 feel ill

Of these only 100 go to see the doctor.

Of these 50 have "objective, physical disease". 35 cases will clear up spontaneously and do not need further help. 15 have a real disease that needs further help.

The remaining 50 have "no physical disease" – and this can be explained as stress, anxiety or "in the mind".

So turns out that only 15 out of every 100 people who visit a doctor actually 'need help'. Too bad about the rest! The 35% will clear up, because that's what most illness does. But then there's the 45% who claim to be ill but medicine has 'decided' are not ill.

The problem for me is not that medicine cannot cure everything but the lack of humility, the arrogance that says that because our laboratories can't pick it up and they can't diagnose it it doesn't exist.

Think about this. Despite the fact that medicine is increasing its new knowledge and this forces labs to enlarge their knowledge and testing abilities, at any one time "all that is worth knowing is known today" (Dr Jeffries)

This is absurd and unscientific! And they call other "alternatives" that have been proven empirically over many years (and with many tests)  "unscientific".

For example, there are any number of tests that prove the efficacy of acupucture - until, now it is widely accepted. And yet we still hear the mantra "there is no scientific proof that it works".

The whole hullabaloo about "evidence-based medicine" boils down to whose evidence. 

One case that I saw recently that concerned the British national health has stayed with me. A woman who was wracked with the most terrible pain was tested by three hospitals and told by each that there was 'nothing wrong' with her (and she was told that the pain was 'in her mind') When she finally died they found they found that the tumour in her body had damaged her pelvis.

If you think that I am taking this personally and there is some anger behind my writing you'd be damned right!

Don't get me wrong – I am not denying the whole of medicine and certainly if I break a bone, have a heart attack or a stroke I wouldn't be looking anywhere else other than to the medical system.

But there'e the 50 percent that modern medicine dismisses.

I have always obviously fallen into that category.

Having been exposed to pesticides quite early in my life (as was my mother and my sibling) I have exhibited symptoms that have been 'strange' or 'vague' (to use one doctor's terminology).

I have gone along to doctors armed with lists of symptoms that I have taken the time to catalogue. Now, thanks to Dr Jeffries I learn that (because disease can only ever have one cause) that the American medical system (that the NZ system is close to) 'allows' a maximum of five symptoms. So obviously I have been dismissed as a hypochrondriac (or whatever other epithets they would care to use) for many years.

I remember going to one doctor and asking him if he thought that the frontal headaches that I was having that coincided with urinary urgency were related. His response was that this was impossible because they were in different parts of the body (!!!!)

I have one other recent experience.

While my present, very good doctor was overseas I went to a locum about some concerns about the state of my heart. After listening with her stethoscope she spent some time explaining why the hospital would not want to do tests (but if I wanted to "go private"...). When I opined that I seem to fall between the cracks of the medical system she replied that the mind was very adept at creating illness.

If she had read my file she would have known that I have a diagnosis (unless she thinks sarcoidosis is also in the mind).

But having accepted the miraculous power of the mind to create disease I doubt that she would also accept the miraculous power of the mind (or herbs, homeopathy or any number of other treatments) to heal the body.

That would be a threat to her postion of medical practitioner. 

How this affects me now is that my physical health has declined to a degree where there is no improvement and it is clear to me that this is of a degenerative nature that can have only one outcome.

Because the system have satisfied themselves with a previous diagnosis (sarcoidosis ) and the laboratory results indicate that that is no longer (in its view) active there is nothing to worry about and the fact that my symptoms are getting worse by the week and month does not seem to worry them and they have no curiosity that would cause them to look anywhere else – and now, thanks to the thinking that I started this article with, I understand why.


This also has for me other resonances with the larger processes of ecological, economic and social collapse.

For me it is partly around the phenomenon of denial.

One of the most apposite terms for me is "contempt prior to investigation".

It is something that we see in every area of human activity and it is getting worse and worse as we head into the Long Emergency.

Everything is politics and in this truth (and especially empirical truth) takes a back seat, because much science (thanks to the nature of the corporate fascist state) is ideological rather than objective.

Empiricism is something that we do not hear about these days because to challenges the ability of self-appointed "experts" to dictate to us what we should believe.

it is essentially a challenge to the dictates of the corporate state. 

So we have oil corporations and the likes of the Koch brothers paying big money to deny climate change, climate scientists who are willing to dance to the tune of the political consensus rather than connect their science with real life; we have the likes of Monsanto and the pharmaceutical corporations testing their own products – some of the many examples of "objective" "evidence-based" science being relegated to a tool of the corporate fascist state.

The worse things get and the more obvious the nature of the process of the collapse of human, industrial civilization becomes the more vociferous that denial will become.

The human capacity for denial seems to be infinite.


Finally my health challenges and my misadvetures with the health system resonate with collapse itself.

This is personal collapse.

I have no personal expectation that I am going to be among those who survive and see what comes out the other side.

I am quite reconciled with my own mortality.

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