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A profoundly sick experiment





Solon_Poledourus
I was talking with a friend of mine, who is a doctor, and we were discussing psychology and the distinction between sanity and insanity. We got on the topic of the Rosenhan experiment, which, if you haven't heard of it, was a psychological experiment held in 1972 to investigate the legitimacy of how patients were diagnosed(I will provide a link below for more info on it).

Basically, it goes like this:
Psychologist David Rosenhan took a number of people(12 I think) who were perfectly healthy, and had them go to 12 different psychiatric hospitals. They were to tell only one lie, which was that they were having auditory hallucinations. The pseudo-patients were supposed to be diagnosed, and presumably cleared of any mental illness(as they were all fine). They ended up getting admitted, some of them forcibly, and at least one was made to stay for up to two months. They were given psychotropic medications and were only allowed to leave after they first admitted to being mentally ill, then accepting treatment and thus getting "better".

The study was released, and needless to say, the psychiatric community reeled at this. One hospital in particular, who was a target of the experiment, decided to challenge Rosenhan with doing it again, promising that they could easily identify the impostor pseudo-patients. Rosenhan agreed, and the new experiment commenced.

After some time, the hospital identified 41 impostors, and released them all as fakes. Much to their dismay, Rosenhan revealed that he hadn't sent any impostors the second time.

This was not that long ago. 1972. This study helped to reform diagnostic techniques in the psychiatric community, but my doctor friend(who is herself a psychiatrist) tells me that the changes amount to little in practice, and that you could perform the same experiment today with similar results.

So my questions here are these: Is there a clear line between sanity and insanity? Or is it subject to interpretation? If so, what is our barometer for sanity? As Krishnamurti said: “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” Are we sick? With all the advances in medicine and therapy, why are mental disorders on a rise, rivaling if not overtaking, physical ailments? Or have we only tricked ourselves into thinking we are sick?

For more info on the Rosenhan experiment.
More information can be gained from Google.
jwellsy
You have missed the biggest factor in the entire medical profession. Money!
Doctors will do anything for the profitability of their own business or the practice they work for.

Do the same experiment withtwo groups. One with insurance and another group without insurance. I dought that the results would be the same for both groups. The uninsured would only receive treatments proportionate to the level of state aid available. The insured patatients will receive several times more 'treatment'.
8166UY
That money system is only in the US, not here in Europe. But I must say the nation the article is about isn't famous for their good medical care, even in these times... Razz
Solon_Poledourus
jwellsy wrote:
You have missed the biggest factor in the entire medical profession. Money!
I am well aware of that factor. I was hesitant to bring it up. Another factor within the money scheme is "funding". For a mental institution to receive State funding, they have to show results. If they find fewer people with mental illness, they lose a percentage of that funding.
deanhills
Mental Hospitals are dealing with so many different faces, insane can be easily hidden behind a sane face. It's all in the paperwork, and you are right, maybe people are not really paying attention to the patients they are dealing with. Perhaps they get processed much later than they should? Up to being checked over by a psychiatrist, perhaps those who allowed the patients in, could have been misled, but surely psychiatrists would easily identify people who are sane, or faking insane? Although one could probably also argue that there has to be a modicum of insanity involvedto check yourself into a psychiatric hospital as insane. That has to be an act of insanity Laughing
Solon_Poledourus
deanhills wrote:
but surely psychiatrists would easily identify people who are sane, or faking insane?
That was the problem in the experiment. The hospitals diagnosed 12 perfectly sane people as being deeply troubled and requiring medication and therapy. And the second time around, when they were looking for the fake patients, they found 41 of them. But it turned out that no fake patients were sent in the second time. So the techniques being used for diagnosis were flawed on every level.
Quote:
Although one could probably also argue that there has to be a modicum of insanity involvedto check yourself into a psychiatric hospital as insane.
Most people don't check themselves in. They usually get told, upon diagnosis, that they either require in-house treatment or not.

I really don't believe that there are nearly as many psychological illnesses as the medical community would have us believe. Another experiment in England during the 70's studied 40,000 households at random, and found that most of the members of those families could have technically been diagnosed as schizophrenic. I seriously doubt that there are that many truly mentally ill people, percentage wise.
handfleisch
Solon_Poledourus wrote:
jwellsy wrote:
You have missed the biggest factor in the entire medical profession. Money!
I am well aware of that factor. I was hesitant to bring it up. Another factor within the money scheme is "funding". For a mental institution to receive State funding, they have to show results. If they find fewer people with mental illness, they lose a percentage of that funding.


I want to reiterate that it is in the US that the medical profession has sunk the lowest in terms of greed. There are places where doctors overall still put their integrity and the patient before their monetary self interest (in fact doctors are just middle class professionals in many countries and don't make extra money from tests or prescriptions or whatever).
RubySlasher
Everyone is mentally ill. It's how well you hide it that makes the difference.
Kopernikus
Well, the problem is as always to define whatīs sane and whatīs not.

The sanity of a person depends on the environment, thatīs what the doctors try to establish...
I donīt think, that the people involved where corrupt or evil. itīs just that if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

There is one point, that was overlooked. in a typical situation, people who a) go to a doctor and b) have auditory hallucinations do suffer, which makes them in anyones book sick.

the question if a person who doesnīt suffer, but is deslusional is really insane... well is a rather philosophical one.

I donīt suffer from insanity! I enjoy every minute of it... Twisted Evil
mk12327
Sanity is something very subjective and dependant on the environment. The diagnosis of psychological illness is also not as straightforward as Mathematics or Physics, which can be proven using formulas. Most of the diagnosis are based on DSM IV, and the patient does not need to fulfill all the criterias to be diagnosed with a particular illness. This leaves a gray area that often leaves certain details almost impossible to be determined by the psychiatrist.

In addition, "sanity" is very dependent on the environment as it is something relative to the majority. If you are closer to the majority, you are more likely to be deemed "normal". Eg. if you put a perfectly sane person in a room of 9 other psychiatric patients, within the context of the room, the sane person is instead insane since he is not "normal".
bsbteng
Although no significant differences were found between the performance times when expressed by trial order, mean performance during the second trial was 1.3 secs quicker. Similarly, mean time taken to perform the last 750m was 2.6 secs quicker during the second trial. This implies that there was a learning effect, or, more simply, the subjects got better at performing the task once they got used to it.

The results from this experiment suggest that the most likely cause of caffeine's ergogenic effect in endurance events is that it does stimulate catecholamine release. This was borne out by the significant increase in the exercise heart rate found in this experiment, because catecholamines accelerate the depolarisation of the sinus node and cause the heart to beat faster. The increase in the warm-up and recovery heart rates in this experiment were not significant, though they were clearly elevated during the caffeine trial. The greater increase in heart rates during the exercise may have been caused by additional catecholamine release stimulated by physical performance.

This experiment suggests that there is no benefit in using caffeine as an ergogenic aid in short-term, high-intensity exercise. In addition, the changes in heart rates during the experiment, together with some of the comments from the students about how they actually felt (ranging from 'profoundly sick' to 'weird') did show that caffeine is a very potent drug even when only a moderate dose (5mg/kg) is taken. This dosage would result in urinary caffeine levels below the limit set by the International Olympic Committee for competition. The unpleasant side-effects might cause even endurance athletes to have second thoughts about using caffeine.
BigGeek
I have to laugh at this, the mental hospitals in the US back in the 50's preformed tens of thousand "Ice Pick" Labotomy's, in other words they shove a sharp pick up through the eye socket to scramble the frontal lobe of the brain. This was done on anyone that showed any sort of aggressive behavior, even folks that were normal recieved these.

Like MK12327 said, sanity is also relative. Say for example in the US, if a person were to worship animals as gods, most would consider them insane on some levels, in India this is completely acceptable to some. Some cultures talk to spirits or the dead, in the US you would be considered insane for doing so. I know people that experience voices, and they are very sane people.

We all would consider pathological lying as a form of insanity, and consider those that dis so for personal gain at the expense of other to be insane on some level or another. But that is not the case, our coporate leaders and politicians are pathalogical liars and do so with no reguard for the consequences except personal gain, and no one seems to question that, we just keep electing them, or appointing them to postions of power. Why/ Are the better than us, more knowlegable? Why don't we commit them instead?

You see it works like this.......I'm not insame, I'm special, because the voices only talk to me Laughing
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