On CNN’s Headline News, just hours after Robin Williams was found dead by his own hand, Dr. Drew Pinsky, “Dr Drew,” went on national TV, vehemently announcing to the world that he was certain Williams’ “mental illness” was due to having a “biological disorder” that was physically (not psychologically) caused. Pinsky couldn’t have the information to make that diagnosis.
Robin Williams had a lifelong history of psycho-emotional issues; he was treated by medical professionals, most of whom used the American Psychiatric Association diagnoses such as: bi-polar, anxiety, depression, ADHD and more; these typically arrived at through subjective, symptomatic thinking rather than through the use of scientific analyses. Why hasn’t someone, just as logically, invented a diagnosis of “Poly-polar”? Robin would have had a field-day entertaining us with that one.
In addition to Williams’ self-medicating, by using very illegal drugs like cocaine, he was also prescribed several kinds of psycho-tropic drugs for a variety of alleged psychiatric mind-conditions. Certainly we can never know the thoughts and emotions he privately experienced that eventually led him to end his own life.
And “Dr. Drew” made his statements before it was recently revealed that Williams had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, a truly biological life-threatening disease. It’s easily understandable that anyone in William’s circumstances might become so depressed as to consider ending his own life.
As a doctor of psychology, I’m scientifically committed to relying upon the standards of using the best science available for determining knowledge; determining fiction from fact.I am amazed that Drew Pinsky came to such a profound and absolute certainty that he was so quickly able to tell the world the exact cause of Williams’ decision to end his own life, and how he went about doing it.
Williams obviously loved drama; he ate, dreamt, lived and died for drama; for entertaining us all. A very real risk that famous, highly popular celebrities are vulnerable to, is getting psychologically addicted to public adoration, then not getting heavy ‘doses’ of public adoration can lead to feeling low. Down. Lonely. Depressed.
Not all sad, lonely, low feelings and emotional states are simply due to one’s own brain chemistry. We do have some ability to think. To make some life-choices. To even emote.
Over my now long professional career working on behalf of countless people, of all ages, who have come to me for professional help, or who have been referred to me, I have yet to have one of my patients deliberately kill themselves.
Although it is accepted by the American Psychiatric Association, many doctors don’t buy into the term “bi-polar” or the psychotropic drugging treatments so widely being done nowadays in our society. “Big Pharm” and drug retailers have been reaping tons of money from manufacturing and selling mind-drugs. My bet is that historians will dub our contemporary culture as “the mind-drugging culture.”
The former psychiatric term for folks who seemed to be experiencing emotional highs and lows was “Manic-Depressive Psychosis;” meaning that the person with such a damning label was “psychotic,” as in “crazy.” Not a very nice label. Some psychiatric professionals decided to invent a more patient-friendly label, “bi-polar,” a term that is more personally and socially acceptable.
I’ve worked with many hundreds of people who had been depressed or anxious, who have been able to do the psychological work that has led to living a physically healthier life – free of relying on psychiatric labels, and psychotropic drugs, which are addictions in themselves.
Dr. Drew, please share with us the bio-chemical-brain science that led to your diagnosis of Robin Williams.
© Copyright 2014 Dr. Keene Hueftle, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.
Dr. Keene Hueftle is a doctor of Clinical Psychology who has been practicing for nearly fifty years. Dr. Hueftle can be reached at email@example.com.
This column has been edited by the author. Representations of fact and opinions are solely those of the author.