[Marxism] People Say I'm Crazy

David Quarter 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 
> medication.
> 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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