2 Paragaphs (5-7 full sentence)

Since, the most widely used definitions for alcohol use disorders are found in the two major classification systems of disease: the Diagnostic and Statistical Manuals of Mental Disorders (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) of the World Health Organization (WHO), discuss the importance of a unified framework for definition and classification, as it relates to education of the client population within the human service field. Why is it important to have one universal system with the same parameters for classification? What issues would it cause if the parameters changed or varied for social workers, counselors, doctors, nurses, etc? How do you imagine a client would react if s/he received a different explanation for their condition from all these helping professionals? As a future human service practitioner, how do you think you’d feel trying to explain something to a client but the definition varied by professional discipline?

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1 paragraph (5-8 full sentences)

Given Breggin’s (2008) criticisms of the pharmaceutical industry, are there any conditions in which a simple suppression of the psychiatric symptoms is appropriate? Are the side effects worth the benefit of suppressing seizure activity?


1 paragraph (5-8 full sentences)

The Nature of Pharmacy

Peter Breggin (2008) is very critical of psycho-pharmaceuticals, pointing out that these compounds are not condition-specific but affect the entire brain. He suggests these compounds do not “cure” the conditions for which they are intended, but suppress neural function across the brain to the point where the patient is no longer bothered by the symptoms of any specific disorder. This is achieved, Breggin points out, at the significant risk of various side effects.

Consider a person with a seizure disorder for which the neurologist has prescribed phenytoin (the generic equivalent of Dilantin®). The medication will hopefully reduce the “firing” rate of the neurons in the damaged area of the brain that initiates seizures to reduce or eliminate the seizures experienced by the patient. It also reduces the rate at which a significant percentage of the other neurons in the brain might fire. Patients who take phenytoin often complain of being clumsy or feeling tired, both of which are side effects that reflect this suppression of neural function.

The same phenomenon is encountered with the use of blood pressure medications. Patients might take diuretics to help their body excrete excess fluid, thus lowering the workload on their heart. They often report feeling thirsty and will consume more water in an attempt to quench their thirst. Further, many anti-hypertensive medications in this category will make the user feel unsteady on their feet for a moment when they stand up, increasing their risk for falls and injuries. The medications have a desired effect (lowering blood pressure), but their “blanket” action brings with it side effects that might make the patient unwilling to continue to use them.


Breggin, P.R. (2008). Brain-Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry (2nd ed). New York: Springer Publishing.

QUESTION: Do you know of somebody who has experienced this “blanket” phenomenon from a medication? Did the person continue to take the medication, or discontinue the medication because of the side effects?