A Farewell Message for Professor Wessely?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by tansy, Jul 19, 2006.

  1. tansy

    tansy New Member

    Source: http://www.meactionuk.org.uk/A_Farewell_Message_for_Professor_Wessely.htm

    A Farewell Message for Professor Wessely?

    Margaret Williams 19th July 2006

    At the fifth oral evidence session of the Gibson Parliamentary Inquiry held on
    18th July 2006, the Chairman, Dr Ian Gibson, revealed that Professor Simon
    Wessely had submitted about 20 pages of "evidence" but would not attend because
    'he'd had enough of ME'. Perhaps this time, Professor Wessely intends to keep
    his word and withdraw from the world of ME/CFS and move to pastures new.

    Also at the fifth oral evidence session was a freelance journalist who seemed to
    be particularly well informed about the shambles in which the ME community finds
    itself. His name is Richard Webster. Webster would seem to have a farewell
    message for Wessely.

    Those who are interested may wish to visit Webster's website
    (http://www.richardwebster.net) and read his 18 page essay entitled "Hysteria,
    medicine and misdiagnosis", from which the following quotations come.

    (Note that one of the current replacement terms for 'hysteria' is

    "Doctors tend not to advertise their misdiagnoses any more than they are wont to
    display the corpses of their patients. The mistakes, misdirections, deceptions
    and self-deceptions in which the larger part of medical history consists
    disappear almost completely".

    "One of the facets of medical history which tends to be obscured in this way is
    the manner in which disease-syndromes have frequently been brought into
    existence by doctors not because they correspond to any real clinical entity,
    but in order to provide a refuge from diagnostic uncertainty. One example of
    such a 'syndrome of convenience' is provided by neurasthenia".

    "In Britain, hysteria is still referred to as though it were a distinct syndrome
    in a number of psychiatric textbooks.it is used to refer to any symptom or
    abnormal pattern of behaviour for which there is no apparent organic pathology".

    "One of the most damaging effects of the term 'hysteria' in the past is that it
    has encouraged doctors to think they have arrived at a diagnosis of symptoms
    which, in reality, remain mysterious. This in turn means that it is much easier
    for doctors to miss real but obscure organic illnesses. The point has been well
    made by the psychiatrist Eliot Slater:

    "The diagnosis of 'hysteria' is all too often a way of avoiding a confrontation
    with our own ignorance. This is especially dangerous when there is an underlying
    organic pathology, not yet recognised. In this penumbra we find patients who
    know themselves to be ill but, coming up against the blank faces of doctors who
    refuse to believe in the reality of their illness, proceed by way of demands for
    attention ... Here is an area where catastrophic errors can be made. In fact it
    is often possible to recognise the presence though not the nature of the
    unrecognisable, to know that a man must be ill or in pain when all the tests are
    negative. But it is only possible to those who come to their task in a spirit of

    "Slater comes to the conclusion that the diagnosis of hysteria has no validity

    "The diagnosis of 'hysteria' is a disguise for ignorance and a fertile source of
    clinical error. It is, in fact, not only a delusion but also a snare".

    "Slater's views have exercised considerable influence on psychiatrists and
    neurologists over the past thirty years and the use of the term 'hysteria' has
    declined in consequence. In the United States the diagnosis has, in theory at
    least, disappeared from mainstream psychiatry. Yet there appears to be a
    significant gap between theory and practice. If we are to believe the
    psychiatrist Philip Slavney, writing in 1990, the term still enjoys some
    currency even in American medical practice: 'Despite condemnation from
    physicians ... the concept of "hysteria" is alive and well in the practice of
    medicine' ".

    "Aubrey Lewis draws the conclusion that the diagnosis of 'hysteria' is
    legitimate. He ends his paper by observing that 'the majority of psychiatrists
    would be hard put to it if they could no longer make a diagnosis of 'hysteria'

    "To confer medical respectability on a label originally invented by a nineteenth
    century nerve-doctor who put forward as a scientific fact an entirely fictional
    account of the pathology of 'hysteria' seems an unsatisfactory way of dealing
    with medical uncertainty".

    "Since 1980, DSM III has been revised (but) the underlying concept has remained
    unaltered. Relatively new terms such as 'somatisation' have not entirely
    succeeded in ousting the older terminology".

    "Marsden goes on to endorse one of the most significant of the arguments put
    forward by Slater:

    "There can be little doubt that the term 'hysterical' is often applied as a
    diagnosis to something that the physician does not understand. It is used as a
    cloak for ignorance".

    "Having noted Slater's plea for the abandonment of the diagnosis of 'hysteria'
    (Marsden) goes on to observe that neurologists have sometimes fallen into the
    trap of calling such symptoms 'functional'. As Marsden points out, however, this
    common usage of 'functional' is actually a misuse of a word which correctly
    designates an illness which is presumed to be a real organic disorder but which
    has no visible pathology".

    "One reason why this whole argument continues to trouble physicians and other
    interested parties is that the questions of medical ignorance and medical
    progress raised by Miller are extremely important ones. One of the main problems
    in this area is that, as the history of medicine eloquently demonstrates,
    soundings taken by physicians of the depths of their own ignorance are
    notoriously unreliable".

    "Writing in 1993 the psychiatrist Graeme Taylor (suggests) that medical research
    is likely to reveal many supposed psychogenic conditions as 'legitimate'
    disorders of physiological function ".

    "It may prove, on further investigation, that the initially unexplained symptoms
    are actually the signs of a recognised physical illness which is little known or
    whose symptoms are ambiguous".

    " 'Unexplained physical symptoms' is patently not a diagnosis and invites - and
    indeed almost compels - further efforts towards understanding".

    "The confusion as to what somatization actually means, and where the concept
    comes from, is significant. For while it may well be the case that it has been
    redefined in terms of phenomenology, it must be suggested that its strongest
    appeal to psychiatrists springs from the fact that it is congruent with
    psychoanalytic assumptions".

    "The careless use of the term 'somatization', and, indeed, the very fact that
    this medically tendentious word is used at all, almost certainly contributes to
    sustaining this climate of credulity. It also suggests that modifications of
    terminology alone will not solve any problems. It is the concept of 'hysteria'
    and not merely the external label which needs to be discarded".

    "If 'hysteria' has indeed functioned for centuries as a diagnostic dustbin into
    which physicians have tossed a huge and ill-assorted selection of diseases,
    syndromes, symptoms, and responses, (it) does not mean, however, that the term
    'hysteria' should be retained".

    "When physicians continue to use terms such as 'hysteria', 'somatization',
    'psychogenic' and even 'psychosomatic', they merely perpetuate the very kind of
    creationist dualism which I have tried to analyse in the last part of this book.
    Such dualism is no more conducive to clear thinking about medicine than it is to
    clear thinking about any form of human behaviour".

    In his accompanying NOTES, Richard Webster refers to a book by Stuart A Kirk and
    Herb Kutchins (The Selling of DSM: the Rhetoric of Science in Psychiatry; A de
    Gruyter, New York, 1992), about which he comments: "This book, of whose salutary
    existence many workers in the field of 'mental health' evidently remain unaware,
    has been described by Thomas Szasz as 'a well-documented expose of the pretence
    that psychiatric diagnoses are the names of genuine diseases, and of the
    authentication of this fraud by an unholy alliance of the media, the government,
    and psychiatry' ".

    A farewell message, Professor Wessely ?

  2. findmind

    findmind New Member

    Love it!

    And good riddance!

    The British say it better!


    There's always hope!:)
  3. Juloo

    Juloo Member

    "...as the history of medicine eloquently demonstrates,
    soundings taken by physicians of the depths of their own ignorance are notoriously unreliable".

    That really says it all, doesn't it!
  4. KelB

    KelB New Member

    I read something about Wessley a couple of months ago that indicated his new interest is Gulf War Syndrome. Well, he already has the government and the MOD onside there and the official enquiries have already concluded that GWS doesn't exist. So no pesky proof that he's wrong there.

    It should be a much easier life than trying to deal with ME/CFS, where he'd rather quietly disappear, than stick around and admit he was wrong all along.

    Good riddance, but spare a thought for those poor veterans who have already been through so much. Now they have to deal with him, as well...
  5. tansy

    tansy New Member

    has said he’s tired of ME, he did the same 6 years ago. He has been very successful in getting others on board, so if he really means it this time, it’s not going to make a lot of difference in the UK.

    Kel B do you remember the Independent Inquiry into GWS? The conclusions drawn from that Inquiry were somewhat different. As you know the MOD employs Wessely, doing so ensures they get the answers they want. By subsuming ME and GWS into a wider heterogeneous group, he has succeeded in muddying the waters and creating even more confusion.

    No wonder the whole thing got to be such a mess.

    Simon Wessely will never admit he got it wrong, his belief system is too obsessive for that. I suspect recent research has led to this comment being made again. He can sit on his laurels now, he’s done the damage so he can leave it to govt depts and the insurance industry to protect their own interests and reputations.

    TC Tansy

    [This Message was Edited on 07/20/2006]
  6. findmind

    findmind New Member

    Tansy, if the CDC does follow Wessely and the UKs CBT and GET, I will be so demoralized I don't know if I will be able to go on, after fighting for the reality of this illness for so long.

    I believe a class action lawsuit that presents the 3000+ papers delineating the abnormalities in PWCS would be in order.
    The goal of the lawsuit would be to have them do a 3 year long public awareness campaign stating that PWCs are very seriously ill, with a progressive disease that is as serious as MS, Lupus, AIDS, and Parkinson's diseases.

    That would be the payoff: plus they have to pay the attorney fees and costs.

    I am truly very serious.
  7. tansy

    tansy New Member

    To be worried about the CDC's current stance. They have widened the diagnostic criteria just as the Wessely School did in the UK when they produced the Oxford criteria. This means they can include anyone who feels tired or is chronically fatigued.

    The CDC’s reference to Tx in the UK means CBT and GET, both have a bad track record and have done many PWME a considerable amount of harm.

    A class action is an excellent idea, there’s sufficient evidence now, and it’s getting more difficult for the psychologisers to maintain their position. I just love the thought of them having to pay the attorneys’ fees and costs.

    I do think everyone needs to sign the petition to have the name ME restored and go back to the original definition. The term CFS is misleading. The WHO lists ME as neurological, there’s been a concerted effort to have that removed and just leave CFS as a psychological illness. If this happens it would be disastrous both in terms of Tx and financial support.

    Many of us have progressive illnesses, I’ve managed to halt the decline and make some improvements, achieving that did not require having my mistaken illness beliefs corrected, graded aerobic exercise, nor did it involve retraining the flight fright response through mind body techniques. Everything I’ve done makes sense when I look at all the research, including Dr Kerr’s gene expression work.

    TC, Tansy
  8. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    Don't let the door hit you on the way out!

    Love, Mikie
  9. findmind

    findmind New Member

    Do you think the delay of the CDC's awareness campaign has anything to do with the findings about the Parainfluenza-5 virus?

    You know, maybe they would be able to have an about-face because they can finally say there is a reason PWCs are so sick. I think there's too much pride and bungling that has gone on, and they don't know how to change that.

    I, too, have done a million things to help myself; many of us have. I have severe pain all day. Drugs knock me out at night, but I know I am getting worse.

    Now with the costochondritis that won't go away, I really feel deathly. Its been 10 years since I felt this sick.

    You know, if only one company gets to have the patent to test for this P-5 virus, how quickly do you think our doctors will know/care about it?

    If only specific labs will be doing the testing, it will be terrible because so many people who are on Medicaid will probably not have the opportunity to be tsted, nor those with certain HMOs.

    I am so worried about the CDC sabatoging whatever gains are being made in our behalf. Why they would do that, I can't understand. It is so sad and disheartening.

    Anyone know the name of a really great class-action law firm?


  10. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    I am also prone to costo and I think I've found a way to help. I always had to go in for a shot of cortisone in my chest between the ribs. It worked beautifully but I don't like steroids.

    With this last round of bronchial problems from the Red Tide, I felt the costo rearing its ugly head again. I started taking higher doses of anti-inflammatories (Ibuprophin) and putting a gel ice pack on my chest. Costo is caused by inflammed nerves in the chest, even though it can also hurt in the back and down the arm. A person can take up to 800 mgs. of Ibuprophen three times a day, if necessary. One should not exceed 2400 mgs. in a 24 hr. period. I don't usually require that much. I take 600 mgs. at a time.

    This is the first time that the costo is uncer control without an injection. Hope this helps.

    Love, Mikie
  11. tansy

    tansy New Member

    it works for me too.

    Loved your earlier post here, short and to the point.

    Like you I've been ill a long time, my progress is slow with herxes and set backs, but even so the improvements I have made have been quite remarkable.

    Take care,

  12. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    I feel you are really a kindred soul because we have both been fighting along the same lines. The difference is that you were sicker than I and you had to try to heal under the worst of conditions. I admire how much progress you have made and how you have shared your info with us all. Thank you.

    Yes, I have made a lot of progress too but it has been agonizingly slooooooow. This Red Tide outbreak has really set me back. Still, I'm not as sick as I used to be and my relapses don't last as long.

    Glad to see you posting again.

    Love, Mikie
  13. Smiffy

    Smiffy Member

    The icon on the left is my farewell to this man.
  14. findmind

    findmind New Member

    Oh, I can't thank you enough! I have been taking a couple of aspirins once a day, only!

    I will get some ibuprofen tomorrow!!! I have to get some relief from this pain, or I will lose it. Never felt so bad.

    How did we get from P-5 and CDC topic to this, LOL???

    What a riot of good stuff you all are.

    Love ya,
  15. KelB

    KelB New Member

    Hangingin, that "thud" you just heard was the sound of my jaw hitting the floor!

    My goodness, if that was the case and someone could find credible documentary proof, we'd really have something interesting.

    If a previous theory could be so obviously discredited/discreditable, I'm sure that would put any current ideas into perspective.
  16. tansy

    tansy New Member

    but it's a mind bending coincidence. Simon Wessely (UK) became a fan of the mind body movement in Germany.

    Wessely was better able to promote his hypotheses through the insurance industry who obviously found his ideas more profitable than accepting ME, CFS, FM, GWS, MCS, OPP, etc as physiological illnesses.

    His hypotheses, and so-called solutions, back in the late 80s are the same as those being promoted by the DWP in order to cut the numbers recieving sickness and disability benefits in the UK. The DWP have employed experts in the insurance industry to help reduce the numbers on these benefits.

    Some MPs are aware of this, more need to know.

    TC, Tansy
    [This Message was Edited on 07/23/2006]
  17. KelB

    KelB New Member

    Thanks for the clarification Tansy.

    What a coincidence that two different numpties should share the same name!