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It is time we questioned what is deemed "mental illness" and whether what is termed 'Functional Psychosis' is in actual fact the same thing as 'Organic Psychosis' - to change how we address psychiatric illness in the future?

Over two thousand years later, the “causes” of FUNCTIONAL PSYCHOSIS have not yet been determined or identified, and there are no specific laboratory tests to specifically diagnose Functional Psychosis "The doctor or therapist bases his or her diagnosis on the person’s report of symptoms, and his or her observation of the person’s attitude and behaviour" (totally subjective) and psychiatric training does-not include study of the very organ that is being diagnose in the same way a Neurologist would.

"According to the DSM-5, a diagnosis of schizophrenia is made if a person has two or more core symptoms, one of which must be hallucinations, delusions, or disorganized speech for at least one month. The other core symptoms are gross disorganization and diminished emotional expression. Other DSM-5 criteria for a diagnosis of schizophrenia include:

  • Level of work, interpersonal relations or self-care is significantly below what it was before the start of symptoms.

  • Signs of disturbance that have lasted at least 6 months.

  • Schizoaffective disorder and depressive or bipolar disorder with psychotic symptoms have been ruled out.

  • The disturbance is not caused by substance abuse or another medical condition."

However, much of what the DSM-5 highlights here is the same as many of the symptoms seen in Organic Psychosis.

Why is this and why do we still allow this outdated method of diagnosis?

Organic Psychosis on the other hand, though also not easy to determine, is diagnosed through blood and/or spinal fluid tests, to measure the impact of autoantibodies running rogue in an individual’s system. These antibodies potentially cross the blood/brain barrier causing inflammation of the brain and/or structural defects or physiologic dysfunction of the brain, resulting in psychosis and a range of behavioural and physiological changes.

Causes include brain injury and/or infection from parasites/pathogens/toxins/viruses/diet and is now also being seen in Covid patients where “a study found 20% of those infected with coronavirus are diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder within 90 days”.

PANDAS (pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcus) is the child version of Organic Psychosis which comes after an infection involving Streptococcus pyogenes. Yet children are often mistaken for having major behavioural issues from bad parenting and upbringing.


What if these covid survivors are now deemed mentally ill, what is the impact from the stigma these people will experience and others with psychosis? And what if the treatments are incorrect due to old psychiatric biases?

What might the positive impacts be on our health systems, our social systems, and economically, if we had to discover 'Functional Psychosis' and 'Organic Psychosis' are one in the same thing?

How would you feel if your loved one was told they were mentally ill? What if it turned out they had been misdiagnosed and as a consequence incorrectly treated? Incorrect treatment using antipsychotics as opposed treatment for an inflamed brain can be fatal.

Im attaching a true life story of Bex, a podcast by the BBC's Helena Merriman, of a fortunate young 20yr old who, when she began having strange behavioural and cognitive symptoms, was spotted by a Doctor in the hospital, and if it was not for his high suspicion that this was in fact organic psychosis, who knows where she might be today.

Remember, this is NOT a once off

"Mental illness" is on the rise globally and this potential global pandemic surely requires new approaches especially when one looks at the paralleled rise in autoimmune diseases globally. In the USA alone it is estimated 50 million people suffer from autoimmune diseases and studies are also citing the Western Diet as impacting this. Too many individuals are being ignored and/or told their illnesses are all in their head or are mentally ill.

Until we begin questioning what we deem to be mental illness in a more holistic and systemic way, with less confirmation bias towards a psychiatric diagnosis, and begin asking different questions, do we stand the chance of reducing the incarceration of ‘innocent’ individuals and their families and reduce the many negative causal loops that result as a consequence?

#mentalhealthawareness #futuresthinking #futureofmedicine #sammcdonald

Listen here to the Podcast Bex by @Helena Merriman

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