In response to the previous article discussing OCD and Involuntary Psychiatric Care, S. P. has decided to post a reply on his blog. He also used different proxies to comment on this blog, despite the fact that his comment privileges were removed several weeks ago because of his constant abusive behavior and unwillingness to address arguments. Unsurprisingly, S. P. engages in multiple personal attacks (calling me a zealot, claiming that I must be mentally retarded, a fascist and a pathetic useful idiot) and rehashing of the same old assertions that have been debunked before. Unlike S. P. I am going to be the bigger person and just address the arguments.
Details are not irrelevant!
It is clear that the personal story of S.P. was an important influence for the origin of his animosity towards psychiatry. In my previous post, I made a provisional conclusion that the story lacked crucial details. The major details S. P. gives us is that he has an exaggerated fear of contracting HIV through usual contact, that he was diagnosed with OCD and that he underwent involuntary psychiatric care in an unnamed European country. However, to investigate whether the decision to commit S. P. for involuntary psychiatric care was justified (an by extension the emotional underpinnings of his position), one needs to know the precise details of the conditions, such as severity and the level of functional impairment, as well as the identity of the European country (to be able to check the laws regulating it).
My general argument was that it seemed implausible that he was subjected to involuntary psychiatric care just because an exaggerated fear. I assume most people have more or less irrational fears: wasps, dogs, clowns, heights, spiders, snakes, lightning and thunder, flying and of course germs. But obviously the majority of people with irrational fears are not subjected to involuntary psychiatric care. The conclusion I drew was that there is more to the story that S. P. has shared. Now, I certainly realize that anxiety issues (as well as other issues related to mental health) are sensitive things and I obviously cannot force S. P. to share if S. P. does not want to. However, this does not change the fact that these questions are very relevant. How severe is the condition? How much functional impairment was there? What are the laws regulating involuntary psychiatric care in the unnamed European country?
Individual freedoms and laws regarding involuntary psychiatric care (Sweden v.s. the U. S.)
S. P. dislikes the Swedish laws that regulates involuntary psychiatric care. To summarize, Sweden require that the patient has a severe psychiatric condition, refuses voluntary care and cannot be taken care of in any other way that around-the-cloak psychiatric care. According to S. P., the U. S. requires that the life of the patient or a third person needs to be threatened. What S. P. fails to grasp is that the third condition in the Swedish law is related to whether or not the life of the patient is threatened, but is more specific and focuses on not being able to take care of him or her self, or by other people. This highlights an important difference between Sweden and the U. S. Sweden has a generous welfare system, but the U. S. generally does not. It boils down to how much do we think that the government should have to care about people.
I find it peculiar that S. P. considers the U. S. to value freedom. Is S. P. aware that the FBI regularly abuses the Patriot Act?
Accuracy of medical testing
I confronted S. P. on his belief that medical tests are generally 100% accurate. S. P. then says that he clearly did not mean 100%, but used a metaphor. I find this hard to believe because the argument is often used by opponents of science-based medicine and metaphor is really a form of analogy, so S. P. is using the term incorrectly. The general message of my argument was that medical tests that are not 100% accurate does not undermine the existence of the condition, or the biological basis of the condition. Read more of this post