Intermittent Explosions

Study says millions have ‘rage’ disorder

There comes a point when even _I_ think psychology and science end up just looking plain, down-right ridiculous. If you explode in a rage at seemingly random intervals, don’t look to your own attitude for a fix. Look to your physiology. Or at least that’s what a recent scientific study is saying. According to this study, an imbalance in the neurotransmitters in your brain can cause periodic explosive bouts of rage and anger, exhibited in such instances as road rage and spousal abuse.

Here’s what really grinds me – every single time we notice a particular trend in our culture, a phenomenon that hits the national radar, scientists want to find a cause for this behavior. They set up studies, they record observations, and they issue reports. And time and again we hear the same thing – it’s not your fault that you’re fat or angry or depressed, etc. It’s an imbalance in the chemicals in your brain throwing off your psychosocial equilibrium.

This is all well and good, I suppose – there _are_ legitimate cases of chemical imbalances that cause antisocial behavior. But what these studies fail to mention is that just because an imbalance has been observed does not necessarily mean a cause-effect relationship. Typically, the relationship is merely correlational – when antisocial behavior occurs, there is an imbalance in neurological chemicals, but it is exceptionally difficult to determine which caused which. Did the imbalance cause the behavior? Or did the behavior cause the imbalance? The human brain is so complex that we still don’t really know how it works. Here’s a bit of trivia for you – we dispense many different kinds of drugs for various psychological disorders, yet we still don’t really know _how_ they work. We just know that they do.

Here’s something else for you to chew on – many antisocial behaviors can be corrected through the use of counseling, through mentoring and coaching an individual and urging them toward a general chance in attitude. Change the heart and mind of a man and you change his behavior. (There’s a reason why Christianity applied correctly has the power to drastically alter a person for the better.)

I suppose I’m simply tired of scientists – men and women who are educated and knowledgeable – trying to constantly justify poor human behavior by finding some genetic or physiological cause. I believe in accountability and personal responsibility, and I also believe that, by and large, the primary reason why we have seen an increase in anger, rage, and a whole host of other negative behaviors is because we no longer hold people accountable. There is no longer any desire to urge one another a higher standard of living because to do so would be ‘intolerant’ and unacceptable. It would be rude and inconsiderate to expect anyone to live their lives other than the way they want to, even if that way is self-destructive and even dangerous (or simply rude) to others.

We live in a time of ridiculous behaviors and even more ridiculous philosophies, a time when all people are simply children and juveniles because no one actually has to grow up, be mature, or take responsibility. Anything goes, and apparently most of us are alright with that because we don’t say anything to change the status quo.

Simply ridiculous.

9 thoughts on “Intermittent Explosions”

  1. Yay! Hear hear.. YES, I’m so glad someone thinks as i do. Even tho’ my site is psychologypower.com

    I’m in Western Australia and run 25+ web sites tho’ I was heavily into a mixture of medical social work and counseling psychology.. in New Zealand in the 1980s.

    But heck – you’re right! You only need to read my articles on ‘understanding schizophrenia’ and ‘depression as low energy choices..’ to realize how we view, say, individual choice and environmental effects. That ‘chemical imbalances’ thing is exactly as you imply.. more a consequence than a CAUSE. Causes are from thought processes and how the organism operates on the environment. And the effects.. fed back to the operator.

    Recently I’ve been ‘into’ The Holosync Solution and it’s revealing a lot of layers of truth to me. It shows that ol’ Buddha certainly has a LOT to teach us westerners!

    I give you Top Blog status in my favorites!
    GEOFF DODD

  2. As a bipolar scientist I am saddened that you would not separate the need for accountability for our own behavior from the need to find treatment for legitimate illnesses. I would agree that many people in our society feel that chemicals are the cure for everything. I also agree that as a society we have degenerated into an state of apathy whose only real interests lie in the latest reality tv show. I do neither.

    I am also grateful for the daily influx of chemicals which alter my behavior to make me live a healthier life. Did the brain chemicals alter my behavior or the behavior alter my brain balance? I don’t know. I really don’t care. I’m happy that there is something that can put it back.

    As for accountability, just like with AA, or any other philosophy that is ethical, recognizing the underlying cause for behavior does not excuse you. You are still 100% responsible for your actions. That is at the core of society’s ills… not science.

  3. Safira,

    I think that ‘The Medical Model’ of psychiatry and medical explanations for behavior lead us into the dark ages of ignorance. I formed this opinion after years of working in psychiatric institutions. Never have I seen such darkness and limitation of thought, blocking of human potential by society’s ‘control freaks’ as legitimized by law.
    You need to experience a totally ‘spiritual’ re-connection with Nature, DNA, Life with a capital ‘L’ and God if that’s your frame of reference. Safira, you are a scientist. You may be strictly empirical and statistical by training. I was. Do you know that gives you ‘Left Brain dominance’ which in itself is an imbalance? Simply by re-training yourself for Right Brain function – like Einstein said – and using the other 90% – because of ‘whole brain functioning’ will be a revelation to you!

  4. Safira, I’m not sure if you’re addressing my post or Geoff’s comment, but in either case I hope I didn’t leave you with the impression that I consider legitimate physical/physiological causes of mental illness to be little more than a myth, since I did take great care in my third paragraph to point out that such legitimate causes do exist. I do believe, however, that such causes are grossly overdiagnosed, creating an upsurgence of false positives. What I see is a trend of dismissing abysmal behavior by labelling it under some new disorder rather than by recognizing the fact that much of people’s poor behavior is more an act of the will and less a problem with physiology. This is not to minimize the existence of actual disorders; it is simply an effort to recognize that people are indeed responsible for their actions and bring about an awareness that there are those who seem to wish to remove all obligation for responsibility from the public eye.

    Thanks for the comments on this topic. I certainly welcome the discussion.

  5. Thank you Jim, yes we’re in agreement. I personally think that it is a combination just as you do. There is no shirking responsibility of our actions regardless of what mental/physical/emotional state we may have been in when we took those actions. As for Geoff’s comments, I am also very spiritual, and as a pagan have a strong connection with nature and the divine. It is not a cure. Neither is “just thinking myself” out of the problem, using left or right brain. Any reputable mental health professional will tell you that dealing with mental illness requires a combination of drug therapy, talk therapy and behavioral modification.

    Thanks for your reply to mine – discussion is always good – it leads to better understanding for those with open minds.

  6. Exactly, Safira! Spirit. It can be fully harmonious, positive and a moment-to-moment Creator — or, it can be negative, cynical, destructive, void of Love.

    My point in this context is that WE create it all from the inside, moment-to-moment.

    Agree?

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