Trotsky / Breton / Rivera

David Quarter davidquarter at
Fri Mar 7 16:38:24 MST 2003

[ quoted text clipped ]

[Here is a revised version of my original reply, which I don't even
think reached the list]

 Well, there is a difference between medications prescribed for physical
 difficulties like arthritis, and medications prescribed for so- called
 "mental illness". One is used to relieve actual pain caused by some
 biologically -based problem in the body, the other is used to reduce
 (or better yet, hide!) symptoms that are deemed problematic to
 [bourgeois] society (and has little to do with helping relieve the
 suffering of the people with the actual problems). In other words, the
 first acts as more of an aid, the second acts primarily as a social
 control mechanism. The diagnosis of arthristis is judged upon known
 side-effects that can be detected and seen through a microscope,
 whereas 'mental illness' has never been detected and therefore has
 never been proven to even exist! Medications proscribed for arthristis
 allow many people, with the less debilitated forms, to get on with
 their lives "care free", whereas for a person to be labeled as
 'mentally ill' this will usually lead to life-long supervision by the
 psychiatric establishment, including forced medicalization, and in some
 cases, incarceration inside institutions.  And whereas being diagnosed
 with athritis in no way implies deficiency in thinking or in one's
 capacity to reason (the hallmark of what we like to call in our
 society, "normal behaviour"), being labeled as 'mentally ill' implies
 (in varying degrees) the opposite.


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