Wednesday, 19 August 2009

The unstable ground of psychiatry as a science

It is reasonable to believe in scientific terms that there is a reason for everything. I just was reading recently on a web site devoted to social phobia amd I came across the following:
Associated Laboratory Findings:

No laboratory test has been found to be diagnostic of this disorder.

I believe it is exactly this which puts psychiatry on very shakey ground at times. If you have no way of diagnosing something, how then can you assert that it even exists in scientific terms? Basically the academic and scientific answer is a simple own - you cannot. But does that mean it does not exist as an illness. Of course it doesn't, there are thousands even millions of individuals who suffer from phobic disorders regardless of the inability of science to find a way of diagnosing it in the laboratory.
I thnk this again ties in with the discussion which we have ongoing about the stigma of social phobias and anxiety disorders. It is hidden, it cannot be diagnosed like a physical illness and as such is always treated with suspicion in the eyes of the sceptics.

1 comment:

  1. >>It is reasonable to believe in scientific terms that there is a reason for everything. <<

    There is; sometimes more than one. What is not reasonable, but people do it nonetheless, is to expect that you will be able to *identify* the reason(s) quickly and clearly. Sometimes even the physical sciences flounder along for centuries before evolving the tools and theories needed to pin down mysterious phenomena. It's even harder in the soft sciences.

    Just remember, psychiatry is decades or centuries behind most other sciences, because we got to it later and the tools for it are difficult to conceive, let alone build. If we keep at it, however, we'll figure things out eventually. The core truth of all science is that the world makes sense, and when it does bizarre things, there IS a reason for that. This is complicated by the fact that humans don't *have* to make sense, but usually we do. Science will eventually map out the sensible parts. The nonsensible parts are the rightful concern of other disciplines including religion and philosophy.