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Re: Controversy over mental health.

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  • barriec@xxxx.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx)
    Eric, What did you do with my reply to Schaler (copy below)? I really enjoy (perhaps appreciate would be a better word!) the TT interchanges. Thanks. Your
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 8, 1998
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      Eric,

      What did you do with my reply to
      Schaler (copy below)? I really enjoy
      (perhaps "appreciate" would be a
      better word!) the TT interchanges.
      Thanks.

      Your Sept 6 reply to Anon from Canada
      was excellent.

      Barrie


      Barrie R. Cassileth, Ph.D.
      PO Box 222, Twenty Holsberry Road
      Truro, MA 02666 USA
      Phone: (508) 349-9623; Fax: (508) 349-7231
      Email: <BarrieC@...>

      ============================
      On Sun, 23 Aug 1998 13:00:04 -0400 barriec writes:
      >Schaler is not suggesting a new concept.
      >Has he not heard of Thomas Szasz, the
      >(largely discredited) proponent of "The
      >Myth of Mental Illness," an early book,
      >the "Manufacture of Madness," or any
      >other of his numerous publications?
      >
      >How illness is defined is a social issue.
      >Talcott Parsons, the great medical
      >sociologist, and his student Prof Renee
      >Fox (U of P) and others of distinction
      >have written extensively about this subject.
      >The concept of "medicalization" and
      >"demedicalization" was conceived to describe
      >just this issue. An example: homosexuality
      >was "demedicalized" when it was removed
      >from the list of psychiatric disorders several
      >years ago. Much criminal behavior has been
      >"medicalized," or explained in terms of one
      >disorder or another.
      >
      >Mental illness has a long social history.
      >Madness was defined first as a gifted state,
      >the blessing of gods. Then as internalized
      >demons (Salem witch trials; lunacy wards
      >with barred windows where inmates/
      >patients were on public display, including
      >200 years ago in Schaler's home town, in
      >the basement of Pennsylvania Hospital.
      >
      >Then science discovered genetic errors
      >that accounted for some mental illnesses;
      >inadequate serotonin levels that explained
      >others; brain scans that displayed specific
      >differences in people who exhibited normal
      >vs abnormal behavior. The twin studies
      >(identical twins reared apart) provided further
      >evidence that mental illness stems not from
      >gods, witchcraft, or an unhappy childhood,
      >but from identifiable, quantifiable, neuro-
      >physiologic disorders. Mental illness was
      >thus "medicalized."
      >
      >How society deals with it is another matter,
      >because all illness is handled in the context
      >of time and place.
      >
      >These are basic concepts of psychology and
      >medical sociology. Is there someone out there
      >teaching psychology who is unaware of them?
      >
      >BRC
      >
      >
      >Barrie R. Cassileth, Ph.D.
      >PO Box 222, Twenty Holsberry Road
      >Truro, MA 02666 USA
      >Phone: (508) 349-9623; Fax: (508) 349-7231
      >Email: <BarrieC@...>
      >
      >On Sat, 22 Aug 1998 22:22:41 -0400 Eric Krieg <eric@...>
      >writes:
      >>From: Eric Krieg <eric@...>
      >>
      >>Hi people,
      >>
      >> There have been many debates in the "soft science" of psychiatry
      >>over what
      >>constitutes a disease. A rising faction of dissidents have done a
      >>good job of
      >>challenging the existence of some tenuous newer claimed illnesses.
      >>Much of
      >>the debate focus's on "the mind" - if it is an esoteric abstraction,
      >
      >>then how
      >>can it be diseased. My problem with these "skeptics" is when they
      >>say there
      >>is no such thing as mental illness. David Herman is a ardardent
      >>defender of
      >>this new thinking. The following is a short piece of long exchanges
      >he
      >>and I
      >>have had:
      >>
      >>======= my response to David:
      >>David,
      >>
      >> I certainly agree that many things termed "disease" are really just
      >
      >>a
      >>personality deficiency or as you say, "different behavior". I'm sick
      >
      >>of
      >>liberals finding new labels to make sure no one is responsible for
      >>their own
      >>actions. I hope skeptics and atheists aren't called mentally ill
      >>because they
      >>see things very different than most people. I can't say exactly what
      >>constitutes a disease, but I know there are diseases like Tourettes
      >>syndrome
      >>where the actual cause and mechanism are not understood and there is
      >
      >>no
      >>definitive test (like white blood cell count) to establish it - but
      >it
      >>can be
      >>clearly diagnosed on the basis of behavior. I think a neurotic
      >person
      >>does
      >>not have an illness, but person sitting in a catatonic state in their
      >
      >>own
      >>excrement occasionally blathering to a nonexistent person is ill. I
      >
      >>feel
      >>there is lot's of room for skepticism in the area of psychology and
      >>psychiatry, but I feel that Schaler loses much credibility to defend
      >
      >>such an
      >>extreme position as to say there is no such thing as mental illness.
      >> I'm bcc-ing this to a few PhACT members who may question whether
      >we
      >>should
      >>provide a forum for Schaler.
      >>
      >>Eric
      >>=========
      >>David Herman wrote:
      >>>
      >>> Subject: Mental Health Parity in Philadelphia Inquirer
      >>> Date: Sat, 22 Aug 98 07:41:31 EDT
      >>> From: "Dr. Jeffrey A. Schaler" <JSCHALE@...>
      >>> Organization: The American University
      >>> To: daherman@...
      >>>
      >>> The following letter to the editor appeared in today's Phildelphia
      >
      >>Inquirer,
      >>> August 22, 1988
      >>> [http://www.phillynews.com/inquirer/98/Aug/22/opinion/LEDE22.htm%5d:
      >>>
      >>> Mental-health parity
      >>>
      >>> Loretta H. Ferry, president of the Alliance for the Mentally Ill
      >
      >>of
      >>> Pennsylvania, confuses brain and mind (Letters, Aug. 15).
      >>>
      >>> If "mental illness" is really a brain disease, it would be
      >listed
      >>as
      >>> such in standard textbooks on pathology. It is not listed as a
      >>brain
      >>> disease because it does not meet the nosological criteria for
      >>disease
      >>> classification. On that basis alone, Gov. Ridge should veto the
      >
      >>parity
      >>> bill in Pennsylvania. Discrimination against the "mentally ill"
      >
      >>has
      >>> nothing to do with it. Mental illness is a metaphorical disease,
      >
      >>not a
      >>> literal one. It can no more be "treated" than can a "sick"
      >joke.
      >>>
      >>> Moreover, parity creates a legal slippery slope. Since there are
      >
      >>no
      >>> objective tests for "mental illness," all kinds of socially
      >>> unacceptable behaviors will be declared "mental illnesses." This
      >
      >>gives
      >>> families a guilt-free opportunity to get rid of disturbing
      >>relatives
      >>> in the name of compassion. It gives mental-health professionals
      >a
      >>> money-making opportunity to peddle their wares in the name of
      >>> "treatment." And it gives social parasites and predators an
      >>> opportunity to avoid responsibility for their behaviors.
      >>>
      >>> Legislators and the general public should not be hoodwinked. If
      >
      >>mental
      >>> illness is identical to physical illness, wouldn't it make sense
      >
      >>to
      >>> say cancer and diabetes are the same as schizophrenia and drug
      >>> addiction?
      >>>
      >>> The bottom line is this: Behaviors cannot be diseases. Mental
      >>illness
      >>> is a contradiction in terms. Mental illness is a myth.
      >>>
      >>> Jeffrey A. Schaler
      >>> Adjunct Professor of Psychology
      >>> Chestnut Hill College
      >>>
      >>> Philadelphia
      >>>
      >>> ----------------------------
      >>> [Letters to the Editor
      >>> The Inquirer
      >>> Box 8263
      >>> Philadelphia, PA 19101
      >>> Fax: 215-854-4483
      >>> Inquirer. Letters@...]
      >>>
      >>> jschale@...
      >>> http://rdz.acor.org/szasz/schaler
      >>--
      >> best wishes,
      >>
      >> Eric Krieg eric@... fax (215)-654-0651
      >> http://www.voicenet.com/~eric/skeptic
      >>
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