In his response to Dr. Awais Aftab’s critique of his essay, titled “Causality in Mental Disturbance: A Review of the Neuroscience”, Professor Peter Sterling addresses several points and clarifies some aspects of his work. He acknowledges that his essay is not an original research article or scientific paper, as advertised, and takes responsibility for the error.
Professor Sterling explains that his essay provides an overview of what is currently unknown about the brain in relation to mental disturbance and questions the physical and chemical interventions used as therapy. He highlights the influence of corporations such as Big Pharma and Big Devices in shaping the current model of psychiatry and points out the involvement of academic institutions and publishing houses in this system.
Responding to Dr. Aftab’s assertion that his essay would not have been published in a conventional journal, Professor Sterling mentions that he sought comments from senior neuroscientists and neurologists before submitting the article. None of them challenged his neuroscientific assertions or requested any changes. The essay has been well-received by various senior neuroscientists.
Next, Professor Sterling emphasizes his credentials as a neuroscientist with 60 years of experience in investigating the neural structure and function of the brain. He has published numerous articles on society, stress, and the brain’s control of physiology, and has conducted research on indigenous communities and lived in a community without issues such as homelessness or violence. His expertise allows him to write broadly on human behavior and its disturbances.
Professor Sterling clarifies that he seeks challenges and alternative views based on serious study and thought, rejecting “fake news” propagated by commercial interests. He disputes the notion that young clinicians in psychiatry have a comprehensive understanding of mental disturbances, highlighting the influence of stories manufactured by neurosurgeons, psychiatrists, and the pharmaceutical and device industries.
In response to Dr. Aftab’s critique, Professor Sterling denies holding a general grievance against psychiatry and explains that his lack of humility is a reflection of his clarity and confidence based on his broad knowledge and experiences. He also clarifies that he did not launch a tirade against psychiatric neuroscience but does regard the term as an oxymoron.
Lastly, Professor Sterling notes that Dr. Aftab did not address any of his substantive conclusions about the current medicalization of social and psychological suffering, which he argues is not justified by the current understanding of neurobiology. He points out the labeling of various behaviors as disorders in psychiatry’s diagnostic manual and questions the validity of this approach.
In conclusion, Professor Sterling offers his perspective as a neuroscientist and emphasizes the need for critical examination of prevailing narratives in psychiatry.
– Peter Sterling’s essay on Mad in America
– Dr. Awais Aftab’s critique on Substack