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David Baxter

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Author blasts Cruise's beliefs
14 December 2005
By Alexa Baracaia, Evening Standard

Best-selling crime writer Patricia Cornwell has attacked Hollywood star Tom Cruise, claiming his Scientology beliefs are "dangerous" and could endanger the lives of impressionable young fans.

The author said she was horrified by Cruise's dismissal of psychiatry and his claim that mental disorders are imaginary and the medication to treat them is an attempt to suppress people.

Writing on her website, Cornwell, who has studied psychiatry while researching her books, said: "There are misconceptions about psychology, especially when people out there like Tom Cruise say there's no evidence of chemical imbalance and psychiatric disorders. There's going to be some girl or boy who worships this megastar, who decides, 'I'm not going to take my anti-depressants because Tom Cruise said I don't need drugs'."

One of the key principles of the wealthy cult is the condemnation of psychiatry.

The Scientology website explains it is the duty of all members to "expose and help abolish any and all physically damaging practices in the field of mental health".

Cruise has repeatedly added to the criticism. He has also railed against the use of drugs to control chemical imbalances in children.

This year he criticised Brooke Shields for her use of anti-depressants to treat post-natal depression.

Shields replied that Cruise "should stick to saving the world from aliens and let women [with] the condition decide what treatment options are best for them".
 

Lana

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I read this and I feel I want to add something that would effectively show my disapointement in Cruise and others that either dismiss psychology and psychiatry, or those that make both appear to be some kind of a hoax. But all I can come up with is a loud GRRRRRRR.
 

David Baxter

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That and now when I see him in a movie I want to smack the little moron...
 

Pilonea

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Cruise may be wrong about anti-depressants, but I can't say he is wrong with his criticism of psychiatry in general. For decades psychiatry was a scam as it was dominated by the Freudian psychoanalytic schools. Psychoanalysis has been shown to be one of the largest scientific scams of all time. It is only in the recent decades psychiatry has underwent a paradigm shift towards a more biological approach. Psychiatry and psychology by their very essence are not hard sciences. There is a lot to learn yet. They are mere infants compared to the hard sciences like physics and chemistry.
 

David Baxter

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Cruise may be wrong about anti-depressants, but I can't say he is wrong with his criticism of psychiatry in general.
Well I can. Cruise doesn't KNOW anything about psychiatry apart from what he's read in the Scientology pamphlets - he makes that clear every time he opens his mouth.

You do realize that Scientology is (1) psuedo-science, (2) pseudo-religion, and (3) the result of a joke and a dare accepted by L. Ron Hubbard who bragged that he could create his own religion and find enough stupid people to believe in it to make it viable?
 
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I agree w/ Dr. Baxter...everytime I see Tom Cruise I realize that you don't need to have brains to be famous....given there are many intelligent performers but Cruise isn't one of them... Him talking about psychiatry in the manner that he does would be like myself talking about rocket science... I would have no idea what I was really talking about and I would just end up looking like an idiot...Cruise needs to get off his, "I'm an expert on everything" pedastal and begin listening to the hard evidence, and their is hard evidence in the fields of psychiatry and psychology...if you don't believe that just talk to some of the people who are active on this site...I know that many of us here have been saved b/c we had someone to talk to or took a medicine that helped us to have a more functional life...Plus Cruise thinks that meditation and healing from depression can come from w/in...man, I wish it was that easy... God forbid that Katie Homes suffer from any kind of postpardom depression...
 

Pilonea

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I am in no way defending Scientology. In fact, I have a relative (by marriage) who is a member of the church and has met Tom Cruise and John Travolta and others. I can provide you with a hundred anecdotes about how scary and dangerous Scientology is-- the way they stalk members who try to get out and the way they demand you to work for them and then force you to pay them once you are done with your work. Most of them are misguided individuals seeking to fill a spiritual void in their lives, but the organizational structure and its goals are quite unsettling.

My point wasn't to defend Scientology, but to simply point out that Cruise has a point only in the sense that psychology and psychiatry are still fledgling sciences (I am not saying he said this, but this is my opinion on the state of the two sciences). It is no fault of the scientists, of course, since they are studying by far the most complex organism on Earth. However, any psychologist who says his analysis of any individual is as certain as Newton's laws of motion is kidding himself and his patients. We just do not know that much about the brain yet. I would bet that the average patient who takes SSRI's does not know that psychiatrists and phramacologists DO NOT KNOW how those drugs work (their own words). They only know that it "has something to do" with serotonin, dopamine, and other neurotransmitters. They have only a vague idea of the processes involved with how SSRI's effect the physiology of the brain. All they know is that in most studies of depressed patients, they seem to get better after having taken SSRI's. I am still skeptical whether they have properly taken into account the placebo effect, since I have seen studies where most depressed patients, after taking a sugar pill, get better on their own eventually, but often relapse. I don't know about you, but I am not apt to take a pill where the doctors prescribing it are not even sure of exactly how it works or why.

No doubt this science will improve and we will make great advances. However, as of now, psychology and psychiatry are two of the softer sciences. Psychoanalysis should be outlawed from all public universities. I am shocked that there are still advanced degrees given in such a widely discredited field.
 
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Biology is an extremely crediable science yet is is based on theories not laws...the cell theory, DNA, Osmosis, ect are all theories in biology... Also psychiatrists are medical doctors who attended the same medical schools as other doctors...when it comes to antidepressants, doctors and chemist understand why they work w/ people...in medical school students take many many courses on not only biology and medical procedures, but on chemistry, specifically organic chemistry and they learn how the chemistry of medications effects the chemistry of the brain...when i start college in a few months my major is going to be biochemistry b/c I wan't to go to med school and become a psychiatrists, and I can confidently say that I would never perscribe something that I didn't understand...or if the only research out there is that scientists saw that some people "Feel better" when taking them...scienctists do understand how the brain chemistry is effected...I truely believe that psychiatry is a hard science it is just a newer science...biology, chemistry, physics, have all been around for hundreds of years...psychology/psychiatry has really only been around for a little over a hundred years if even that...Here are some links that explain some of this stuff...

http://www.medinfo.co.uk/drugs/ssris.html

http://www.biopsychiatry.com/ssris.htm
 

Lana

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Well let's see...

We don't know everything about auditory system, but there are no qualms about going to an ear specialist

We don't know everything about cancers, but there are no qualms about going to see oncologists either (and accept experimental treatments)

We don't know everything about Alzeimers (though I'd wager that psychiatry and psychology would give you most insight) but we go to some medical professional for treatment

We don't know everything about AIDS but I haven't heard of any qualms about seeking and following treatment programs that exist (many of which are experimental)

I can go on. But the point of this is that no science is finite. There is always something to learn and build on. But, if people choose to take the route of "well, it's not real/definitive/soft science" chances are they are the ones that will become statistics. This principle works no matter what medicine is applied.

It upsets me to hear this stuff, as much as it upsets me to watch people hurt, ridicule, and/or humiliate those that suffer from psychological illnesses. It upsets me that in this day and age there are still people that would rather be ill with a terminal illness then a mental one. And the main reason is that people fear how they'll be treated by characters such as Cruise and whomever supports his views on psychiatry and psychology.
 

David Baxter

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Pilonea said:
My point wasn't to defend Scientology, but to simply point out that Cruise has a point only in the sense that psychology and psychiatry are still fledgling sciences (I am not saying he said this, but this is my opinion on the state of the two sciences). It is no fault of the scientists, of course, since they are studying by far the most complex organism on Earth. However, any psychologist who says his analysis of any individual is as certain as Newton's laws of motion is kidding himself and his patients. We just do not know that much about the brain yet.
I think we know quite a bit more than you realize. I agree that the history of psychiatry and psychology is not as long as that of physics or biology or chemistry but then again a good part of the history of those sciences focused on issues like the geocentric universe and alchemy, did it not?

I would bet that the average patient who takes SSRI's does not know that psychiatrists and phramacologists DO NOT KNOW how those drugs work (their own words). They only know that it "has something to do" with serotonin, dopamine, and other neurotransmitters.
Nonsense. We know a little bit more than that. That's just silly.

They have only a vague idea of the processes involved with how SSRI's effect the physiology of the brain. All they know is that in most studies of depressed patients, they seem to get better after having taken SSRI's.
I get the very strong impression that if you have done any real reading into these issues it hasn't been recent enough.

I am still skeptical whether they have properly taken into account the placebo effect, since I have seen studies where most depressed patients, after taking a sugar pill, get better on their own eventually, but often relapse.
"Most" patients? This is going from silly to sillier. Actually, we know quite a bit about the placebo effect. That's one of the reasons all drug testing for new medications, including those SSRIs you think we know nothing about, include direct side-by-side comparisons with placebo groups.

I don't know about you, but I am not apt to take a pill where the doctors prescribing it are not even sure of exactly how it works or why.
Well, suit yourself. If you are ever unlucky enough to be diagnosed with cancer, do be aware that the exact mechanism by which cancer treatments work is not any better understood than the mechanisms by which psychotropic medications work. I assume your choice would be to do nothing and simply let the cancer kill you.

However, as of now, psychology and psychiatry are two of the softer sciences. Psychoanalysis should be outlawed from all public universities. I am shocked that there are still advanced degrees given in such a widely discredited field.
And this is one of the problems with your entire argument in this thread, going back to your first post, where you stated:

For decades psychiatry was a scam as it was dominated by the Freudian psychoanalytic schools. Psychoanalysis has been shown to be one of the largest scientific scams of all time. It is only in the recent decades psychiatry has underwent a paradigm shift towards a more biological approach.
I think you will find that even psychoanalysts would be offended by the suggestion that they are all Freudians or even dominated by Freudian views. And, further, to suggest that psychology or psychiatry has been dominated by psychoanalysis "for decades' really makes me wonder where you are getting your information (Woody Allen movies and similar Hollywood viewpoints, perhaps?). That is simply not true. As for psychiatry "only recently" moving to a more biological approach, that also is simply not true. If anything, I think the complaint most patients have about psychiatry is that it is too biological in its approach.
 

comfortzone

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I agree with David. The fields of psychiatry and psychology have changed over the years. One must understand the context of Freud. He lived in the Victorian era where sex was not to be spoken of in public. He laid the ground work for many other theories to be established. I am not defending Freud as I don't agree with SOME of his thoughts but he spoke of things that could have easily placed his entire life in jeopardy. The study of the brain and behavior are growing older but the views regarding both are changing according to new studies. The studies regarding the brain are helping us to understand more and more each year. Neuropsychologists are able to pinpoint a focal area of the brain where someone might have some dysfunction. They can aid the individual in rehabilitation.

Psychology has changed radically in the last quarter of a century. The focus involves mind, body, and spirit. Once upon a time the focus was on mind, and then later on body...and now with the addition of spirit...psychologist can assist their clients reach goals in a holistic way.
 

comfortzone

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Well said Lana!

NOTE: I wanted to add that I tend to think of mental illness being similar to a carburetor that needs adjusted. I think the stigma of mental illness has grown into a monster because of people like Tom Cruise. I tell my clients that it is not a bad thing to have mental illness. Tom Cruise and those who follow the path of Scientology condemn those who experience mental health issues to a fate worse than death if the world was without psychiatrists and psychologists.

It has been my experience that as we divide our world into black and white we reduce the chance of seeing life in full color. Tom Cruise seems set upon subjugating others to his radical black and white thinking.
 

Pilonea

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This from an abstract of an article found in a psychiatric journal, authored by a professor of psychiatry in Texas:

The hypothesis has enjoyed considerable support, since it attempts to provide a pathophysiologic explanation of the actions of antidepressants. However, in its original form it is clearly inadequate, as it does not provide a complete explanation for the actions of antidepressants, and the pathophysiology of depression itself remains unknown. The hypothesis has evolved over the years to include, for example, adaptive changes in receptors to explain why there should be only a gradual clinical response to antidepressant treatment when the increase in availability of monoamines is rapid. Still, the monoamine hypothesis does not address key issues such as why antidepressants are also effective in other disorders such as panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and bulimia, or why all drugs that enhance serotonergic or noradrenergic transmission are not necessarily effective in depression.

Link: http://www.biopsychiatry.com/monoamine.html

Now, there may be other "hypotheses" that have replaced the monoamine hypothesis, but as this abstract states, this hypothesis has been the dominant one for thirty years. It is plain to see that psychiatrists do not understand exactly how the SSRI's operate. They know they effect serotonin (inhibit it), but the mechanism is largely unknown. I ran across a lady on another message board who said her psychiatrist even told her "We aren't exactly sure how the SSRI's work, but we know they DO work." NAMI's website says that "SSRI's are believed to work by effecting serotonin......" BELIEVED is the key word. I think it is pretty well established in the psychiatric community that A) SSRI's are largely effective, but B)The precise mechanism of operation is not known, nor is it known why they help disorders besides depression.

I take prozac (fluoxetine) myself, and am not necessarily anti-medication. I do not like having to take something that the pharmacologists aren't sure exactly how it will effect my brain in the long term, but I deal with it for the small relief these drugs bring me. The psychiatry industry and the psychology industry (which with all due respect to any shrink here, is snake oil neatly packaged) are just as close minded to the "other side" of the aisle as is Tom Cruise. I will say it again, psychology is a soft science, and psychiatry is in its infancy relative to the hard sciences. Do I dispute the notion of mental illness? No, of course not. Do I dispute the notion that talking to someone for one hour a week will solve their problems or even set them on their way to recovery? Yes, I do, from my own experience with a few different psychologists. They are worthless and a waste of money, though I must say one of my shrinks let me see him for 3 hours a week for no charge for about 6 months.

This discussion of the relevance of psychology reminds me of something the perspicacious Mandeville once said:

"No Kingdom, no state, can flourish without vices. Take away the vanity of the ladies of quality, and there will be no more making of fine silk, no more employment from men and women in a thousand different branches; a great part of the nation will be reduced to beggary. Take away the avarice of our merchants, and the fleets of England will be annihilated. Deprive artists of envy, and emulation will cease; we shall sink back to primitive rudeness and ignorance."

Voltaire, who was speaking in reference to the above statement, had this to say:

"The highwayman is worth money to the man who denounces him, to those who arrest him, to the jailer who guards him, to the judge who condemns him, and to the hangman who executes him. In short if there were no thieves, locksmiths would die of hunger."

Psychology is much the same as the locksmith. Without the "mentally ill," shrinks would have to get real jobs.

Disclaimer: My harsh renunciation of psychology is in no way intended to denigrate Dr. Baxter or any other practicing psychologist, as I respect all of them on an individual basis, yet choose to rail against their profession as an intellectual exercise based on personal experience and past research into the topic. Psychology has its place in society, but I remain skeptical of the efficacy of clinical talk therapy.
 

Pilonea

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Kell said:

Biology is an extremely crediable science yet is is based on theories not laws...the cell theory, DNA, Osmosis, ect are all theories in biology...

Once you enter college, I am certain your Biology 111 professor will give you the same talk he did all of us when I was in pre-med several years ago. It went something like:

"A theory in science is not the same as a "theory" in everyday language or a Sherlock Holmes who-done-it mystery. A scientific theory has been through rigorous observational phases and experimentation by many different scientists to the point that it would be absurd to try to refute the theory based on its past evidence."

He didn't mention the part about Sherlock Holmes (that was my improvisation), but you get the picture.

Basically, the "theory" of evolution is about as much of a guess as the "theory" of relativity. Both, as far as I am concerned, and as far as most scientists are concerned, are immutable. Slight details may change (such as the pre-historic fossil history of human remains, or the mathematical solutions of black hole entropy in General Relativity), but the meat of the theories will essentially always be maintained -- that is, assuming you are a positivist.
 

Pilonea

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Lana said:

It upsets me to hear this stuff, as much as it upsets me to watch people hurt, ridicule, and/or humiliate those that suffer from psychological illnesses. It upsets me that in this day and age there are still people that would rather be ill with a terminal illness then a mental one. And the main reason is that people fear how they’ll be treated by characters such as Cruise and whomever supports his views on psychiatry and psychology.

I can relate. Just about a month ago I was thrown into a slight state of mental agitation and depression when I learned from a friend of mine that my ex-girlfriend saw him at a nightclub and made a comment to him that "Pilonea is crazy." It was no joke, it wasn't done in jest, but she literally thinks I am "crazy." It hurts even worse that I haven't even seen this woman in five years, and yet she still feels the need to make such idle remarks. This is all because I went through a nervous breakdown while I was dating her and ended up in a mental hospital. She witnessed this and subsequently left me for someone else. Everyone who was around me during those dark days would probably say I am "crazy." Ultimately, it doesn't matter what the ignoramuses think. It only matters what I think and what my own prognosis is, and what my own path to enlightenment should be. The doctors can "diagnose" me with whatever disorder they choose, but I know when my breakdowns are about to occur. I have them, get over them and continue onward, hopefully without the need to see another man in a white lab coat for the rest of my days.
 

Daniel

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Regarding celebrities, some celebrities who have suicided could have survived their depression if they would have gotten professional help. I'm thinking of people like Jonathan Brandis, Kurt Cobain, etc.
 

comfortzone

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The efficaciousness of "clinical talk therapy" depends upon multiple variables (the client's motivation to change, efforts to change and many others). I have a client who has had numerous psychologists in the past. She stated that none of them have produced the effects of the therapy she has been doing with me. I asked her what does she think is different. Her response is the manner in which I present information. I do not tell her how she must feel or judge how she behaves. Others have criticized her for one thing or another. She told me today (which is the anniversary of our start of therapy together) that she liked the way I "taught" her. This client was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. She has made significant changes in her life. I am proud of her and her efforts. I am amazed by her tenacity to learn and to change things in her life. Does talk therapy produce the desired results? If one person can find healing from the words we share, then I believe it works. I get excited when one client reaches for the stars and finds their heaven. Success is in the eye of the beholder.

In my opinion, railing against psychology merely diverts the attention away from one's issues of life that require further examination. Thus, the issues grow, and the efficacy declines.
 

David Baxter

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Pilonea said:
I respect all of them on an individual basis, yet choose to rail against their profession as an intellectual exercise based on personal experience and past research into the topic. Psychology has its place in society, but I remain skeptical of the efficacy of clinical talk therapy.
Be that as it may, I would caution you ro re-read the forum rules very carefully. You can rail against whatever you wish to rail against but not here - that is not why I created this forum, not why our moderators volunteer their time and expertise, and not why most members come here. If you are interested in academic debates, there are other forums where those may be more welcome.

I also dispute the facts upon which you base your arguments but I am not inclined to go into that in this forum either. This forum exists to help people - not as a soapbox for dubious debates founded in misinformation, outdated information, or anti-psychiatry propaganda.
 

Pilonea

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This forum exists to help people - not as a soapbox for dubious debates founded in misinformation, outdated information, or anti-psychiatry propaganda.

I represent no one but myself, and none of my statements can be rightfully said to be propaganda. If you don't want honest discussion about psychology, then let it be on the record that you wish to censor those who do not agree with you or the science you represent as it stands today.

As for me, this board has long ago evinced its usefulness as is illustrated with the ascerbic remarks such that Dr. Baxter wishes to continue to bestow upon me and other dissenters.

These boards are really nothing but sounding boards for people's problems. If we can't have honest and respectful arguments, then what do we have besides a lot of inconsequential venting about personal issues? People who are in real need of mental health professionals should seek out help locally, in person, and not on the net.

CIAO. Over and out.
 

Daniel

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One problem with such a "debate": A person who is feeling suicidal may read only some of the posts in a thread and, due to their already negative thinking, may focus more on anti-psychology, anti-psychiatry misinformation, making it more difficult for them to see a mental health professional.
 

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