“I am not a fax? They overestimate their analytical skills. They reject science because it does not give certainty but certainty”

Giuliano Casu

The last two years as a psychiatrist and psychotherapist in the public service were the most difficult. And not because retirement is approaching: “There are – as Giuliano Caso, Director of Mental Health and Addiction at ASL Toscana Centro explained until last January – millions of deaths from Covid and measures to limit social contact with closely related psychological consequences for a large part of the population. Sleep disorders have increased Anxiety crises, panic attacks, eating disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorders in adolescents are increasing in large numbers. It is an emergency in an emergency.” In this case, there are those who refuse vaccination or even hospital treatment, attack health workers and face death.

Professor Sergio Harari spoke in the Corriere della Sera of “a feeling of frustration at an incredible sadness”. But what is behind these settings?

“Let’s assume right away that they are in the minority and most who come to the hospital are treated. These are extreme cases that put the doctor under observation and make us think about his role. How many cancer patients have to undergo serious treatments to have a life expectancy? Instead, these people die and deny the evidence. It only happens when they are dominated by a belief that has grown over time and they cannot psychologically give it up.”

Why can’t they give it up?

“The whole fortress of certainty will collapse. They live in a cognitive constellation of dominant and thus undisputed ideas. The leitmotif always seeks the support of others, and it is a common strategy: a person blindly believes something more when they find support in a general group, and having their certainty contradicted by clear evidence is secondary. Another cognitive mechanism that characterizes them, the Danny-Krüger effect, is an overestimation of one’s ability to analyze situations that are instead very complex.”

But can we talk about mental illness?

“I will be careful to generalize, we must not stigmatize in a psychopathic key. Of course: that many of them actually use psychological defenses like denial, denial, and projection. But I’m not going to talk about psychiatric illnesses, I’m going to talk about the dominant ideas that were pushed forward because of life experience and psychological structure. In relationships with others, they acquire only patterns and information that confirm their certainty, and selectively exclude everything else, the so-called Save cherryThat means I take the cherries I like and leave the others.”

However, this situation harms those who – fortunately the majority – are trying with great effort to confront the epidemic in a scientifically conscious manner…

“The newcomer does not reject knowledge because there is no certainty: knowledge gives certainty, but no certainty. There is a tendency to simplify very complex issues, which is worrying. Then there is the fear aspect, which is often underestimated in analyses, but as a psychiatrist I think I can confirm: many situations justify inner fear, of a phobic nature. Studies have been conducted on denialists in the past, and in the end it turned out that most of the believers were afraid of blood and needles. Many do not want to use masks because they are actually anxious, afraid of closed spaces and prone to panic attacks.”

Nonetheless, the vaccine is delivering the desired results, particularly in terms of reducing mortality. Why not consider a commitment at this point?

“The problem with commitment is that you then have to find a way to enforce it. How you do that? An exception in our legal system related to mandatory health treatment is the mental disorder exception, Tso. In Tso’s formulation, we speak of an intervention to bring the person back into the social context. The individual only exists when they can express themselves about themselves in a social context, they do not exist as a unit. If you do a tso just to try to heal the person and bring them back into the social context, somehow the vaccine has the same importance because it allows for the protection of the social context.”

The epidemic, as I indicated at the beginning, is causing the growth of many mental illnesses, don’t you think there is little interest in this subject?

“The currently weak mental health services should be strengthened: even if they work well, they focus on critical illnesses. When the World Health Organization forecasts an increase in mental disorders such as anxiety and depression over the next 10-20 years, which will also overtake cardiovascular disease, we cannot help but reflect on the fact that our social environment is under-resourced, especially in the prevention area. so-called minor diseases, but which can have an enormous impact on public health.”

January 14, 2022 | 08:03

© Reproduction reserved

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *