Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Politics and psychology: Why real long-term solutions are needed in both areas

There is not often much mention of psychology or psychiatry in relation to politics in the wider discourse, but I was luckily able to gain such insight today after a drop-in session at a stress relief centre in London.

One strong relation between politics and psychology/psychiatry is the excessive use of drugs in psychiatry, when evidence demonstrates that in the long term anti-depressants and other drugs are not nearly as effective at solving mental health problems as therapy and direct help. In fact, an acquaintance of mine told me she had actually experienced anxiety-related tremors as a side effect of a drug supposedly designed to cure significant anxiety and/or depression. The excessive use of drugs and the over-reliance of the medical model in the management and understanding of depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder etc. is down to the influence and lobbying of large pharmaceutical companies and private healthcare providers (e.g. GE Healthcare and GlaxoSmithKline) not just in Britain and the USA but also many other countries; many drugs are produced privately by companies primarily seeking to make a profit rather than in the actual interests of patients they intend the drugs to be sold to, or the doctors who need to prescribe such drugs.  I also believe that the same influence of the large pharmaceutical companies was a factor in the prohibitions of cannabis and psychotropic mushrooms across most of the world, even though these are naturally-growing herbs when anti-depressants, beta-blockers etc. are all artificial and produced with chemicals, hence the nasty side effects of many psychiatric drugs.

Meanwhile, there needs to be more concentration, both in politics and psychology, on long-term solutions and tackling the root causes of issues like these-but our political system is fundamentally too focused on short-term issues rather than long-term issues. Medical doctors (GPs, in particular) should also not be involved in curing psychological illnesses of any type-they are inclined to use the medical model naturally (instead of the psychosocial model which is much more effective) because they are primarily trained to treat physical illness-not mental illness. Therefore, the influence of psychologists, and especially psychotherapists, needs to be increased in the field of psychiatry and solutions to mental health problems.

Relating back to politics, my wish for long-term solutions to pressing problems, and wanting to change the political culture rather than just a few politicians, explains why I am a loyal supporter of the Green Party, and why the Green Party is still polling an average of 6% despite a relative media blackout by the BBC and many newspapers (although the blackout is whitening up, slowly but surely) in election polls. We Greens are focused on long-term solutions to Britain's problems, not just the issue of artificial climate change. UKIP, despite its current high polling, will, like the SDP of the 1980s, turn out to be nothing more than a drug, politically, albeit one with long-term, harmful side effects, which the SDP exacted on the LibLabCons even after they merged into the Liberal Democrats in 1988.


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