Overcoming “Mental Illness”

Overcoming mental illness may be started best by no longer thinking of it as “mental illness.” Or “disease,” or a “sickness.” In the world of marriage and parenting, it’s important to think how you will deal with certain problems. If your spouse or child seems to “have” a mental illness, then please read on. So why do I say that you shouldn’t think of it as mental illness, disease, or sickness? There are three reasons why I’m putting it in these terms. The Concept is Made Up; They Only Describe; They Can’t Ascribe If we look back in history, people who heard voices were thought of as prophets at one time. In a different era, they were considered possessed by the devil. At present, if you compare the European diagnostic code with ours, you learn that the Europeans have fewer categories and ever since World War II are really, really hesitant to put labels on people. In the psychology world today, diagnostics are considered a “construct.” This means that we made up the idea because it seems useful to have it. We constructed it. Unfortunately, putting people into the “correct” diagnostic category is impossible because there is no objective measure of what the correct category would be. Yes, there are many rules as to what sorts of behaviors we are looking for but people don’t actually fall within the neat rules that the panel that composes the series of books on it have arbitrarily created. Unlike diagnosing a broken arm (which takes place with the help of an X-ray) or whether a person hit a D# (which takes place...

What Is Missing In How We Treat Mental Illness

I’m angry. I am so angry that I need to get it out before I can reach out with love and tears to the families of murdered children. I am angry because I have been saying for years that our country is going about its handling of mental illness in the wrong way. I have just written an article at GoodTherapy.org on that very topic. The new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders will be coming out in the spring, DSM-5, and, as the reviewers for GoodTherapy said about my article: “They’ve had five versions, and nearly 20 years since the last one, to get Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders right. And they’ve failed miserably.” Why Adam Lanza Killed If you are not up for reading a heavily-researched article on the history of the DSM and why it is junk, here is the synopsis: Labeling people with diagnoses and then pushing pills at them is NOT, I repeat NOT the answer to helping people with emotional difficulties. Adam Lanza did NOT kill people, including his own mother, because he had Asperger’s Syndrome. Like all the other mass murderers, he killed people because a. he was in terrible, unbearable pain b. he wanted the world to “know” the degree of pain he was in by giving us that same degree of pain. Adam Lanza needed something far more potent than pills. The pharmaceutical industry has been pushing pills and I have been patiently trying to explain why that is not the answer. In short, pills are incapable of taking away the degree of pain that some people,...

Deconstructing Mental Illness

According to Jerome Elan of the Washington Times, schizophrenics who abuse drugs are more likely to commit violent crimes than other people. This doesn’t answer the question: Where did the schizophrenia originate from? At one time, there were people who blamed this problem on poor parenting and the term “schizophrenogenic mother” came into being. Then that was not deemed politically correct so it was dropped. Besides, it is more comforting to blame an unknown “disease” process than to reflect hard on one’s own behavior to rule out responsibility for hurting one’s children. Elan goes on to say, “Elements of psychopathy may be genetic, and overwhelming stress can combine with a psychopathic nature, to cause a reaction that is emotional or just the opposite, coldhearted.” That sounds like a nice explanation, but what research is it based on? The Myth of Disease In Mental Illness Back in 1960, Thomas Szasz wrote a book called The Myth of Mental Illness. I used it as a resource for my 1968 college honors research paper that is reprinted on this site. In researching this article, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Szasz, in 2011, was still alive, well, and kicking. In 2011, he apparently re-printed his book with a new introduction. Here’s what it says: “The claim that ‘mental illnesses are diagnosable disorders of the brain’ is not based on scientific research; it is a lie, an error.” Szasz’s contention is that if a particular disease in or of the brain is found in a person with abnormal behavior, then the initial diagnosis of “mental” disorder must be corrected to reflect a...
Show Buttons
Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkdin
Hide Buttons