According to their website, MyHealth.Alberta.ca “was built by the Alberta Government and Alberta Health Services to give Albertans one place to go for ‘health information they can trust’” (emphasis theirs). The site reassures readers that the information on the site is correct, up to date, and written for people who live in Alberta, Canada.
So, here we have an official, government-backed website that ensures its visitors that they can totally trust the accuracy of the site’s content. Pretty convincing. Well, here’s one piece of misinformation – actually, three, the misinformation is repeated three times – that seems to have slipped through their net.
On MyHealth.Alberta.ca’s “Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIS) and Borderline Personality Disorder”, the following unequivocal statements appear (italics mine): “Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) balance brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. Balancing these brain chemicals can relieve symptoms of borderline personality disorder. Symptoms include feeling grouchy or angry, acting without thinking (being impulsive), and depression” https://myhealth.alberta.ca/health/pages/conditions.aspx?hwid=ty6909&
Clicking on the “neurotransmitters” hyperlink on the site brings up the following (italics mine):
“Neurotransmitters are chemicals produced by the nerve cells in the brain that send messages back and forth across the space between the cells (synapse). When the normal balance of these neurotransmitters is upset, headache, depression, or other mental health problems may develop.The neurotransmitters that are believed to play a role in mental functioning are serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Current as of: November 14, 2014. Author: Healthwise Staff. Medical Review: John Pope, MD – Pediatrics & Donald Sproule, MDCM, CCFP – Family Medicine & David A. Axelson, MD – Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.”
Now, I have just written a book entitled “Depression Delusion Volume One: The Myth of the Brain Chemical Imbalance”. I spent 3 years researching that book. The truth about brain chemicals and borderline personality disorder is identical to that concerning brain chemical imbalances and depression, and it is the following:
Contrary to popular belief, there are no identified brain chemical imbalances in depression or any other psychiatric diagnosis, borderline personality disorder included.
So, here we have an official government site making false claims about the existence of brain chemical imbalances and borderline personality disorder. The above passages, quoted directly from the MyHealth.Alberta.ca’s website, contain 3 false claims (those I put in italics in the above passages).
These claims are false because no chemical imbalances have been scientifically and reliably identified in borderline personality disorder, no more than they have in depression. It appears from the site that this (mis)information has been passed as accurate by two medical doctors, one of whom specialises in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
This really matters. MyHealth.Alberta.ca’s inclusion of this misinformation means that thousands of site visitors will erroneously conclude that brain chemical imbalances are a scientifically identified and known feature of borderline personality disorder. This is simply not true.
So, let’s sum up: Official government site; accuracy in all information promised; three untrue statements about chemical imbalances and borderline personality disorder, validated as correct by two doctors including one psychiatrist.
That’s not okay by me, but this does illustrate why I wrote “Depression Delusion Volume One: The Myth of the Brain Chemical Imbalance” (I will address borderline personality disorder in a future book).
I wrote that book because it is clear that the majority of the Western world has bought into the false notion that chemical imbalances are a known feature of psychiatric diagnoses including depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder, eating disorders and borderline personality disorder. This false notion has been disgracefully used by drug companies and the medical profession to persuade millions of people worldwide that there is a scientific biological legitimacy underpinning the prescription of antidepressants and other psychiatric medication. In this book, I explain why convincing the public that this falsehood is a known “fact” has been extremely important to drug companies and the medical profession.
MyHealth.Alberta.ca should immediately remove these three pieces of misinformation from their website. They should inform their readers that they have done so. They should apologise for misinforming their many readers. I will send the information on this blog to firstname.lastname@example.org today. If I receive any feedback from them, I will let you know.
Thanks to Anika for drawing my attention to this.