Talk:The Myth of Mental Illness

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Does any one care to discuss his assertions? I by and large agree but think that the lack of belief or certain beliefs is a sign of a neurodiversity that can harm others not similarly situated. Also, when the social construct or the lack of a clear social construct produces anome, self-harm and suicide, and also abuse either by allowing themselves to be abused or by becoming an abuser, we could say their mental health is compromised.

I don't think Szasz is asserting that the lack of mental health isn't problematic in these cases, but rather that mental illness is not biochemical, and perhaps, that the system designed to remedy these wiktionary:wants at a profit is morally and sociologally inept

--Smkatz 02:34, 22 December 2005 (UTC)


OK, Smkatz, I read the book a while ago. I feel tempted to pick it up again and give it a more thorough read, now that I'm not taking so many mind-numbing meds. There is a summary at the back, which looks like a straight forward a priori argument dealing with the meaning of words to the effect that mental illness can't be illness in the same way as measles and mumps are illnesses, but the body of the book seems to be more like an a posteriori argument, like he gets involved in the nitty gritty of what Charcot was up to. Well, I guess a one page a priori argument, no matter how good, does not make a book, and he has to flesh it out with something.

At the time of Charcot, hysteria was the fashionable diagnosis. I think we need to be wary of fashionable psychiatry. Consultants probably are aware of the dangers, but I don't guarantee that this applies to everyone who works in the psychiatry industry. Be warned.

I think the a priori argument goes something like this, but it is a while since I've read the book, and I might have twisted things a bit:

To say that something, e.g. a pancreas, is healthy, is to say that it functions correctly, and there is agreement that amongst endocrinologists that a healthy pancreas ensures a homeostatic balance between sugar and insulin in the blood. So what does it mean to say that a mind is healthy? This is a much more difficult question, on which you aren't going to get so much agreement. It would involve saying how a mind (or person) should function. When we are talking about pancreases, we are doing science, when we are talking about minds we are doing ethics. Talking in terms 'mental illness' can lead to people being force-treated because they are a bit eccentric on the one hand and to people getting away with murder on the other. As you say, smKatz, this is morally inept. (I don't know where the profit bit comes in though.)

Perhaps there is then a move from:

'We don't know what mental health is.'

to:

'There is no such thing as mental health.'

that is, a move from the epistemological to the ontological. I'll have to watch closely if I re-read this book.

I think 'mental health' is more difficult than 'mental illness'. When you see a new arrival on the psychiatric ward, you know that there is something wrong. I don't think Szasz would dispute this, but he would claim that the epithet 'mental illness' is highly misleading.

I think that the psychiatry industry has moved on alot since The Myth first came out.

BTW, Smkatz, meiner Katz Muddypaws heisst. Er ist der Schoenster.

--Publunch 23:42, 6 January 2006 (UTC)

Bodywork and Spiritual healers[edit]

What is the relevance of the opinions of bodywork and spiritual healers about Szasz's views? Are they more pertinent than those of Wiccans, shamans, colonic irrigationists, or iridologists? Nicmart 03:19, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

I removed the sentence: "This may be considered superficial by many radical therapists, bodywork and spiritual healers now who differ in treatment methods."Cesar Tort 21:50, 26 July 2007 (UTC)