On Ted Kaczynski, the Unibomber:
Against Biochemical Psychiatry--The Trauma Theory of Mental Illness
Henry H. Lindner, MD
The psychiatric evaluation of Ted Kaczynski can be found here .
"Available reports indicate that the pregnancy with Mr. Kaczynski was full term with no significant problems prior to delivery. As a young child, he reached developmental milestones such as sitting up, walking, and talking within normal parameters. He was hospitalized at the age of approximately nine months, for several days, as the result of an allergic reaction. Hospital course was apparently uneventful and he was discharged without known medical sequelae. Conflicting reports exist as to the significance of that hospitalization. Records reviewed through notes kept in Mr. Kaczynski’s baby book do not provide much information in regard to problems following that hospitalization. Information provided by Wanda Kaczynski, however, indicates her perception that his hospitalization was a significant and traumatic event for her son, in that he experienced a separation from his mother (due to routine hospital practices). She describes him as having changed after the hospitalization in that he was withdrawn, less responsive, and more fearful of separation from her after that point in time. Mr. Kaczynski experienced usual childhood diseases including mumps and chicken pox, and underwent a tonsillectomy at age six and removal of a congenital cyst of his upper jaw at age 12 or 13." (emphasis mine)
I saw an interview with Ted's mother on a major television news show. She stated that she did not see her child at all during the hospitalization, on the advice of the doctor, but waited until they called to say that he was being discharged. This is the ghastly way that it was done back then (and often still is). She further stated that Ted had been normal happy baby up until then, he cuddled and cooed and enjoyed all contact with her. However, when she picked him up at the hospital, she noticed immediately that he had changed. He was withdrawn. He didn't respond to physical contact. He was aloof and unresponsive. He didn't smile or cuddle as he had done before. He was never the same. She believes that the hospitalization played a crucial role in his psychopathology. Now I propose that his mother handed us a clear and adequate explanation for the Unibomber's paranoid schizophrenia and his hatred of technology.
Dr. Clancy McKenzie is nearly alone among modern psychiatrists. He is researching his theory that schizophrenia and major depression are not primary genetic disorders of the brain but are psychological disorders caused by traumatic events in a child's life. Schizophrenia is the more serious disorder and appears to be caused be trauma at an earlier age--before 18 months. Major depression appears to be related to trauma between 18 months and 3 years. What kind of trauma causes these disorders? Dr. McKenzie has found that the greatest trauma to an infant is separation from the mother. This is understandable. An infant will die if separated from his mother for a sufficient time. No wonder then that separation causes a powerful response in the infant, which we witness as prolonged crying--obviously a mechanism to assure that the mother will return to him, or that some adult will come to protect and feed him.
Prolonged separation appears to be neurologically overwhelming to the infant. The emotions and thoughts associated with it are eventually suppressed, and then remain as a neurological remnant, able to be reactivated when a similar separation occurs later in life. Thus we find schizophrenia occurring when teenagers leave home and depression being triggered by the death of the mother, by divorce, or by any trauma that resembles and reawakens the earlier trauma. Dr. McKenzie found a striking association between schizophrenia and what we would consider a very mild form of separation from the mother--the birth of a sibling in the child's first 18 months of life and the resultant loss of contact and care. Just imagine the effect of complete separation!
Consider Ted Kaczynski's fate from his perspective at the age of nine months. Highly sensitive but neurologically immature, he was abandoned by his mother, not for a few minutes but for several days. To him, it was an eternity. Like all infants and children, he concluded that he was abandoned because she did not want or love him. He concluded that he was not good. He developed an extremely negative self-image. Not only was he abandoned, but he found himself in a sterile, impersonal environment where strangers didn't hold him or love him, but instead stuck needles into him and left him to lie alone for hours. He cried for many hours, but eventually had to suppress his pain and anguish. He stopped crying altogether, which adults would have considered a "good" thing--a sign of adaptation. In fact, it was the onset of repression of the whole experience and its overwhelming emotions.
Now consider the environment in which he suffered abandonment and physical torture: plain white walls, people in white uniforms, devices and machines all around with flashing lights and beeping sounds. This high-tech, inhuman environment surely left and an indelible impression on his developing mind. Now as Ted grew up, he attempted to explain why he felt so unloveable, why he couldn't believe that any woman would want him, why he hated impersonal technology so much. Is it any wonder, then, that he became convinced that technology was evil! With the irrational mind of a nine-month old, he decided that technology and all technologists were destroying everything good and human. He decided that he must destroy the technologists to save humankind from destruction.
Did any psychiatrist make this simple connection? NO. They simply diagnosed him as a paranoid schizophrenic--end of story. In modern psychiatry, all mental disorder is assumed to be the result of some genetically-determined biochemical imbalance in the brain. Therefore one need not look any further for the cause. One needn't give much consideration to the abandonment, neglect, or abuse suffered by the child. Of course, this modern bio-medical cookbook psychiatry serves an obvious function for parents and society: No one need question how we treat children. Any mental disorder they develop is not their parents' or their society's fault. They just have a biochemical imbalance that can be partially remedied with drugs! Brain chemicals now play the same role in our explanation of mental illness that demons used to play!! As long as one can blame chemicals or demons for mental disorder, one needn't change anything about one's society and one's childrearing practices.
The ignorance and denial you're fighting against are an aspect of the system of our society that affects knowledge and understanding in every field. We see again how merely descriptive Science is a tool for ignoring reality and the consequences of our actions! As far as modern psychiatry is concerned kids are indestructible, as long as they get "good enough" mothering, which is of course loosely defined so at to include what all "we" good parents are doing. In fact, this modern psychiatry, by ignoring the psychological nature and causes of mental disorder, is assuring that we will produce more sick children as we go on denying their needs and abusing them. We fail to learn lessons from clear cases such as Ted's. We go on leaving our children with strangers or in hospitals in blissful ignorance of the permanent damage we do to their psyche.
Dr. McKenzie believes that "School violence And the interest in TV violence probably are related to the advent of the working mother in America." I believe that he's right. Kids today are not getting the basic mothering that previous generations received. Since organized psychiatry is itself delusional, it is not investigating the causes of mental disorders. If it were paying attention to reality, it would be out there screaming at mothers to avoid any separation of themselves and their infant in the first 3 years of life. Of course, the caregiver need not be the mother 24hrs. a day, but the child needs some adult with which he is bonded and comfortable whether it be the father or adoptive parent. So instead of providing uninterrupted love and care to infants, "liberated" and "enlightened" women hand them over to strangers in daycare after just a few weeks or months.
I know of what I speak. In raising our two children, my wife and I followed the ideas of the Sears and Sears in "The Baby Book". We never lost physical contact with them. At birth we had to fight with hospital personal who wanted to take our child away to give it shots, wash it in water, and wrap it up to lie alone in a crib. We carried our infants all the time and never allowed them to cry without doing everything we could to comfort them. They slept with my wife while breastfeeding, and they still sleep with us every night. We never left them with anyone else until they were old enough to tell us that they were happy to stay be with someone else for a while. Indeed, they are now very happy, relaxed, bold, intelligent, and curious children. Having no psychological traumas or worries, their minds are sensitive and quick to learn. They want to learn everything about their environment and other people. My 8 year-old daughter is an insatiable learner. She taught herself to read. She wanted to try kindergarten, but quit after two weeks, complaining that it was boring, the other children were violent, and that she missed her sister and us. As I've written elsewhere, I believe that orthodox schooling destroys the child's normal mental and emotional development. There's another fact that you won't get from any child psychiatrist.
During medical school, I chose to become a psychiatrist because I was by then a philosopher by personal aptitude and desire. During my first year of psychiatric residency, I realized that anything that I would learn about psychology would have to be through my own research, outside the residency and the profession. I had carefully reviewed the evidence for the biochemical causation of mental disorders and found it lacking. Considering the following:
<![if !supportLists]>1. <![endif]>What has been found are certain kinds excesses or deficiencies of certain chemicals in persons with severe mental disorders like schizophrenia and major depression. Obviously, correlation does not prove causation. These imbalances are more likely to be manifestations of disturbed brain function rather the cause. In fact, what we call "psychology" is a manifestation of brain function, so we must expect that psychological factors will affect brain function and visa versa.
<![if !supportLists]>2. <![endif]>No definitive brain pathology is found in any of the psychiatric disorders. Long-term schizophrenics show some slight anatomic brain differences, but again, these could be explained by their abnormal mental development and function. We know very well that the child's environment and experience influence both the physiology and anatomy of the brain.
<![if !supportLists]>3. <![endif]>The known mental disorders are not clearly demarcated phenomena. They fade imperceptibly into "normal" behaviors and exist in all degrees, varieties, and combinations. They come and go through a person's life. The symptoms of schizophrenia usually fade as a person ages. All the evidence indicates that we are dealing here with psychological phenomena, more or less extreme versions of the same problems that we all have, not with definable biochemical "diseases".
<![if !supportLists]>4. <![endif]>The fact that certain drugs that act on certain chemical receptors in the brain reduce certain symptoms is again no evidence for the theory of genetic/biochemical causation. The brain functions through these neurotransmitters and receptors. Obviously, one can effect the thinking or mood of persons, both normal and "ill", by the use of such chemicals.
<![if !supportLists]>5. <![endif]>No definitive genetic link exists for any of the psychiatric disorders. Schizophrenia, the most severe disorder, appears with only a 50% concordance in identical twins! The reasonable conclusion is that genetics might determine the specific sensitivities of the person, or the form that their reaction to trauma takes. Genetically-determined brain structure or function may be at most a necessary cause of some mental disorders, but there is no evidence that it is the efficient (lone) cause of any mental disorder.
The oft-repeated lie, "Mental Illness is a disease just like diabetes" is, in fact, a desperate delusion grasped at by parents unwilling or unable to admit their own role, or the role of factors beyond their control, in their child's mental and emotional disorder. It is also the default explanation grasped by patients who don't want to or cannot understand the true origins of their suffering.
Again we see how Science, a mere remnant of philosophy, by refusing to reason about causes, allows humans to go on believing in whatever theory of causation that suits their prejudices and interests--whether it be demons, chemicals, sugar, TV, secularism, or "spoiling the child with too much love and attention".