Pathologisation of Normal Beliefs by the WHO

In 1995 the WHO (World Health Organization) published a series of 5 ‘manuals’ for the ‘management’ of ‘mental disorders’. This was shortly after the publication of the DSM4 by the American Psychiatric Association. The manual was authored by staff at St.Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney led by Professor Gavin Andrews. They were ‘underwritten’ by the New South Wales Institute of Psychiatry and strongly promote the use of drugs over psychological treatments.

Not by coincidence the manual promoting antidepressant drugs carried the logo of Pfizer while that promoting haloperidol and other dopamine-blocking drugs for the treatment of ‘schizophrenia’ carried the logo of the Belgian drug company Janssen-Cilag (which has since been acquired by Johnson & Johnson). These drug companies distributed the manuals free to doctors in Australia.

The manual on treatment of schizophrenia includes the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) which was developed by psychiatrists and psychologists at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).

What is described as “unusual thought content” and the recommended questions to “elicit” this “evidence” of “mental illness” are dubious, to say the least:

1. Have you been receiving any special messages from people or from the way things are arranged around you?

2. Have you seen any references to yourself on TV or in the newspapers?

3. Can anyone read your mind?

4. Do you have a special relationship with God?

5. Is anything like electricity, X-rays or radio waves affecting you?

6. Are thoughts put into your head that are not your own?

7. Have you felt that you were under the control of a another person or force?

The manual pathologises “unusual beliefs in psychic powers, spirits, UFOs or unrealistic beliefs in one’s own abilities”.

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