Saturday, June 25, 2005

Tom Cruise, Ph.D.

Tom Cruise was at it again a few days ago with more of his bizarre ramblings on the evils of psychiatry . During an interview on the Today Show, Cruise and Matt Lauer had the following exchange:

Cruise: Matt, you have to understand this. Here we are today, where I talk out against drugs and psychiatric abuses of electric shocking people, okay, against their will, of drugging children with them not knowing the effects of these drugs. Do you know what Aderol is? Do you know Ritalin? Do you know now that Ritalin is a street drug? Do you understand that?

Lauer: The difference is -

Cruise: No, no, Matt.

Lauer: This wasn't against her will, though.

Cruise: Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt -

Lauer: But this wasn't against her will.

Cruise: Matt, I'm asking you a question.

Lauer: I understand there's abuse of all of these things.

Cruise: No, you see. Here's the problem. You don't know the history of psychiatry. I do.

Lauer: Aren't there examples, and might not Brooke Shields be an example, of someone who benefited from one of those drugs?

Cruise: All it does is mask the problem, Matt. And if you understand the history of it, it masks the problem. That's what it does. That's all it does. You're not getting to the reason why. There is no such thing as a chemical imbalance.

Lauer: So, postpartum depression to you is kind of a little psychological gobbledygook -

Cruise: No. I did not say that.

Lauer: I'm just asking what you, what would you call it?

Cruise: No. No. Abso— Matt, now you're talking about two different things.

Lauer: But that's what she went on the antidepressants for.

Cruise: But what happens with antidepressants, all it does is mask the problem. There's ways, [with] vitamins and through exercise and various things... I'm not saying that that isn't real. That's not what I'm saying. That's an alteration of what I'm saying. I'm saying that drugs aren't the answer, these drugs are very dangerous. They're mind-altering, antipsychotic drugs. And there are ways of doing it without that so that we don't end up in a brave new world. The thing that I'm saying about Brooke is that there's misinformation, okay. And she doesn't understand the history of psychiatry. She doesn't understand in the same way that you don't understand it, Matt.

And here's some more from Dr. Cruise and Lauer:

Cruise: Matt. Matt, Matt, you don't even — you're glib. You don't even know what Ritalin is. If you start talking about chemical imbalance, you have to evaluate and read the research papers on how they came up with these theories, Matt, okay? That's what I've done. Then you go and you say where's the medical test? Where's the blood test that says how much Ritalin you're supposed to get?

Lauer: It's very impressive to listen to you. Because clearly, you've done the homework. And you know the subject.

Cruise: And you should. And you should do that also. Because just knowing people who are on Ritalin isn't enough. You should be a little bit more responsible in knowing really

I'm speechless. I felt bad for Matt Lauer. How do you respond to such incoherence? I do find it funny that Cruise tries to come off as this authority on research in psychology and the history of psychology when his only research probably consisted of reading L. Ron Hubbard's Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health (which by the way can be yours for the low, low price of $16.95 at the Scientology Bookstore). While Cruise's recent behavior continues to remind me of an old Simpsons episode where Troy McClure has a relationship with Selma in part, to cover his sexual fetish with fishes, Cruise did have one valid point in his rambling. Drugs like Prozac or Xanax or Lithium with no psychological counseling to compliment the drug treatment do just cover up a person's mental issues. Most research on medications treating mental illnesses show that people who just take the medication alone will have their symptoms reappear after they stop taking the medication. However, much of that same research also shows that in treating mental illness, taking medication and engaging in counseling sessions produces the most the beneficial and long lasting effects (well after counseling and drug treatment ceases) on person's well-being. So to say that taking medication to treat mental illnesses is taking our society to a Brave New World scenario is a bit misguided.