[Marxism] People Say I'm Crazy
davidquarter at sympatico.ca
Wed May 5 18:20:31 MDT 2004
From: <g.maclennan at qut.edu.au>
Gary wrote in response to Rachel M.:
> you would also know that the theories and polemics of Szasz
> and Breggin and Lang in these cases are not worth a bucket of
> spit. [...]
> suffer and kill themselves because they won't take their
> That's the bottom line.
what is the basis for your argument? To begin with, Szasz is
geared towards psychoanalysis and therefore takes a significantly
different position on mental illness than Breggin.
Szasz argues that mental illness relates to problem in living. In the
worst case scenario, he sees the symptoms attributed to the
'mental ill' as a kind of cry for help. Szasz's view is that 'suffering'
from so-called mental illness enamates from a conscious or
sometimes unconscious unwillingness on a part of individual to
cope with life's many demands. Szasz takes a pretty liberatarian,
almost a-historical (even while claiming not to) approach to
suffering. His specifics of his theory -- which I'm basing on this
book, the Myth of Mental Illness -- gets at times convoluted and
therefore difficult to follow. However, his general contention that
mental illness is a ' metaphor for problems in living' in dead on.
Breggin, on the other hand, who is trained as a psychiatrist, does
not suggest that people whom we attribute as suffering from mental
illness feign their behaviour. He recognizes the problems as 'real',
although like Szasz he is certainly critical of the conventional
psychiatric treatments and explanations for so-called mental
illness -- medications and forced drugging, electro-convulsive
shock 'therapy' and forced institutionalization. ALso Like Szasz,
Breggin had worked tiredlessly to dispell the belief that persons
labeled as mental ill carry a biological marker that can distinguish
them from so-called normal people -- for example, a chemical
imbalance in their brain. I have already pointed out that this is the
fundamental myth peddled by the psychatric establishment in order
to market the use of potentially harmful medications to treat the so-
called mental ill. The belief is that medications 'correct' these
chemical imbalances and therefore improve the overall functioning
of persons 'suffering' from disorders.
What is rarely if ever discussed in the medical journals or the
popular press is the fact that medications can very harmful. It is
unclear the extent to which side-effects occur from medications
since often times research conducted on the efficacy of a particular
drug is sponsored by the actual manufacturer. However, there is
ample research demonstrating the links with psychiatric
medications -- including anti psychotic drugs used to 'treat'
schizophrenia -- and the proliferation of other types of health
issues: depression, suicidal tendencies, deterioration of cognitive
functioning, obesity, heart problems, etc.
I know also from the personal acecdotes of others (for example, a
relative of mine who gets 'delusional' as well as quite a few people
whom I've spoken to with 'schizophrenia') that taking anti
psychotic medications do not necessarily make a persons better
off and that the drugs can leads to the proliferation of exactly what
they claim to cure.
My mother has been a psychiatric nurse for the past 20 years.
Througout that time, most of her clients have been persons 'with'
schizophrenia. While she views anti psychotic medications as
sometimes effective in putting a stop to voices, it is also her
experience that meds act more as a crutch for the symptoms, as
opposed to a cure and that they usually come with some
significant side effects, including the inability to function in a job,
deterioration of health, etc. Also, the meds. may not be as effective
after long use and can even wear off after a while. What she says
usually ends the symptoms of schizophrenia is aging, not
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