The Myth of Mental Illness - Thomas Szasz

Il Matto

Padawan Learner
Thank you for your summary of this book Alejo - I'd not heard of it before and I'll definitely be adding it to my - already very tall - pile of 'books to read'!

If we look at ourselves and our behavior in life, in any given situation, first what are we trying to communicate and where does it come from? Are we aware? Second, how is this message being received by others, is our behavior sincerely expressing the truth or is it being distorted by how we go about communicating our inner realities, whatever they may be. Is it hurting someone else?
Now, I could be mis-remembering the details, but this idea seems to chime quite nicely with Timothy Wilson's idea of 'seeing ourselves through the eyes of others' in order to come to a better self-understanding; to determine our true motivations.

Now the DSM makes illnesses something the industry simply invents rather than discover. This gives great powers over the lives of millions to a small select group who determine what is medically valid, what is medical practice and what isn’t and whoever steps out of it suffers the consequences. Big Pharma at the core of treating the human spirit is a recipe for disaster, and it’s already visible.
This made me think of the trend in diagnosing children with ADHD that I've seen a lot of in my professional life. I'm not trying to suggest that ADHD is a condition that has been invented, just that the inevitable consequences of such a diagnosis are prescriptions of pharmaceutical drugs and the labelling of the child as 'difficult to handle', a label that follows them around and often serves to colour the assumptions of those around the child.
 

Alejo

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Thank you for your summary of this book Alejo - I'd not heard of it before and I'll definitely be adding it to my - already very tall - pile of 'books to read'!


Now, I could be mis-remembering the details, but this idea seems to chime quite nicely with Timothy Wilson's idea of 'seeing ourselves through the eyes of others' in order to come to a better self-understanding; to determine our true motivations.


This made me think of the trend in diagnosing children with ADHD that I've seen a lot of in my professional life. I'm not trying to suggest that ADHD is a condition that has been invented, just that the inevitable consequences of such a diagnosis are prescriptions of pharmaceutical drugs and the labelling of the child as 'difficult to handle', a label that follows them around and often serves to colour the assumptions of those around the child.
I thought about Timothy Wilson's work as well, because if we're unaware of what we're saying, the person speaking for us through our behavior is a stranger, now that doesn't mean an evil person, but if someone is working against our conscious will and choices, might as well get to know this person.

And yes, Szasz would say, I think, that ADHD is a broad stroke label applied to a whole set of behavioral patterns that could be understood within each particular context and treated if seen as a whole as opposed to as symptoms diagnosed as undesirable by someone who has a vested interest in selling a "cure" that really hampers the human spirit.

Think of it this way, a Child misbehaves in school and has a hard time paying attention to class, maybe this child has a nutritional imbalance, maybe the child lives in difficult conditions with his parents, maybe there's a traumatic experience, whatever it may be, the child's behavior communicates something about himself to the world and instead of listening to this message and adjusting the source, we simply numb the symptoms. Like putting a bandaid on an infected wound, the sight changes but the root cause remains.
 
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