Talk:Mental illness denial

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By the standards of psychiatry I've witnessed, rationalwiki is antipsychiatry, sorry.[edit] Such a position as you have published has earned me the accusation of being a scientologist. In order not to be antiscience and remain outside of a psychiatric ward, I do feel entitled (well kind of coerced, really...) to publicly shun you about this shameless link. It's dangerous to others, buddy! You do not know that one joint AUTOMATICALLY sends you in a schizophrenic psychosis? ALWAYS!!!! Shame on you! What evidence do I have? Duh... well, don't you know psychiatry is science, kid? It's consensus of medical authorities!

If you find that (mildly) funny, you'll know the kind of nonsense we are forced to endure and hear while drugged up under the name of science. I have names of a shitload of psychiatrists that behave like the above paragraph, and it's no way "anecdotal" in my country. Keep in mind that when we claim psychiatry is not science (which it isn't, seriously, kid), we first and foremost want this bullying to stop. It's not funny: we're way much more dead serious about the whole issue than you would-be "rational" people are. Indeed, we know such psychiatric bullying kills:

By the way, if is not a proof that psychiatry as a whole is highly questionable from a scientific standpoint, what would be? What question, empirically testable, could be a right test to answer whether or not psychiatry is "scientific"? None?... that wouldn't be a very scientific attitude...

OK, I'll wait for a better test to be provided to settle the issue. But... by the way, the burden of proof is on psychiatry's side, not ours: it is psychiatry that locks us up and that legitimises this practice by CLAIMING science mandates locking us up. Their claim, their burden of proof. Not ours. Prove us that is wrong. (And no, spin, like in the conclusion of the mentioned article, is simply not fair game by any scientific standard).

This "rant" perhaps has points that can be attacked/discussed, but I do hope that it will give you insight in the realities at stake with this whole "psychiatry is science"/"pschiatry is not science" business. It's not, but it's besides the point. If it were science, and given the results documented in, the questions would start being very awkward: if it's science, and good science, then the results of the article should likely be intentional; or proceed from some kind other mysteriously irrational force, like collective delusion.— Unsigned, by: / talk

I'm not entirely crystal clear on your point. Is your argument that rationalwiki is anti-psychiatry therefore this article is contradictory? I would agree that the way society treats the mentally ill is bad, see my subsection psychiatric hospitals on the prison page. The major issue with mental illness is that it can't be "cured", medications can be used but it's only a conditional thing. As for mental illness categorization, there is a amount of opinion involved. Psychiatry like sociology is a science that attempts to explain the mind with the limited amount of neuroscience knowledge it has. In any case, these are points worth considering.—チーズバーガー • めん Spinning-Burger.gif (talkstalk) 21:17, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
My point is that you cannot have your cake and eat it too: that's called immanent criticism and is a fairly rational undertaking. My main point is that very often people claiming that "mental illness exists" claim something the semantics of which they are completely unaware or blinded to. In other words, they do not even really know what they are really claiming, and stick to some caricature of rationalism. This results in unacceptable and self-contradictory gaslighting in the hospital and out of the hospital, where accusations, for example, of being a scientologist are made off-handedly as soon as a critical viewpoint is voiced. This has to stop.
As you're saying, there is "an amount of opinion" involved, and while the comparison of psychiatry to sociology is valid at first glance, sociology does not make grand claims in the same way as psychiatry, which moreover operates with a greater confirmation bias than sociology because of its focus on "disease" that confines its perspective to counterproductive miserabilism (i.e. "there is no cure"). I never have any problem accepting the fact that people experience problem in their lives, and psychiatry has indeed created a shitload of them for me, for instance. But I'm still waiting for a sound argument to be made for these issues to be "diseases" rather than "problems". I can deal with "problems", whereas the "disease" concept strips me off any right to attempt to do anything else than curb my head and follow instructions. I'm not buying it.
I'm not buying the "there is no cure" concept either as I do not perceive that people claiming that as fact have any clue as to whether or not they understand what that statement could mean: Being locked up in a catch-22 self-righteously self-indulged system cannot, in a nutshell, be more productive than laying down issues pragmatically and attempting to solve them pragmatically. That's precisely what the diagnostic categories won't allow you to do: they define your problem as being something else than what is really at stake, which in turn becomes forcefully silenced. How this can mascarade as science and how the whole issue about involuntary commitment is reduced to a ridiculously stubborn dogma to conceive life problems as psychiatric illness will endlessly baffle me.
Anyhow, science or pseudoscience, I couldn't care less either way (though I do have a clear cut opinion), but one thing is sure: I will never forgive past, present and future iatrogenesis and forced commitments of situations like mine, and I'll never forget. Unfortunately antipsychiatry vs. psychiatry is not a soft-spoken "academic debate" about "care". It's a war. We haven't started it, by the way (as if that mattered in any way...)
On a more "constructive" tone, the only really serious discussion I've read and endorsed on the concept of "mental illness" has been written by Mark Cresswell. Call that denialism if you care to, but it does highlight the real issues at stake. It's not an easy read, but goes to the heart of the problem near the end of the paper. You won't find double-blind pharmacological studies in there, but rather a discussion of Szasz's criticisms, exposition of the arguments of his critics and a discussion of the nature of their shortcomings, starting to get serious on page 37. This kind of literature cannot be ignored, in my opinion, if you want to know and understand serious "antipsychiatric" arguments before attempting to "debunk" them. — Unsigned, by: / talk 23:14, 5 January 2017
From Wikipedia:
In humans, disease is often used more broadly to refer to any condition that causes pain, dysfunction, distress, social problems, or death to the person afflicted, or similar problems for those in contact with the person.
The word "disease" is a rather loaded term, thus why the alternate term is "mental disorder". I am assuming your writing is mostly an expression of distaste and distress about your own condition? If so, I assume you are mad at science because it identifies you as different from the rest. In society, having a mental condition has the stigma of being an outcast and different. But this is you. Wallowing in your own self pity isn't going to help you, you are just going to dig yourself into a deeper hole of hallow hatred. Accept who you are and consider that you do have options in life. And with these options, you can discover who you are, how you can be a better person, and how you can change the perspective of mental disorders. Life isn't easy and isn't for someone identified with a mental condition. Don't let your condition stop you.—チーズバーガー • めん Spinning-Burger.gif (talkstalk) 00:05, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
Assume what you will, it's not my responsibility. I'm not mad at science. I highly respect science (the contrary would be impossible given my personal academic curriculum), which also explains why I find it very hard to give psychiatry such an acknowledgement. This discipline is less concerned about the truth than about weaving soothing but misleading narratives for potentially anxious relatives as well as exhibiting irrational faith (yes, faith) in the progress of their discipline, and their grandiose mission. You are wrong about me on many points, and I care more about "us" (i.e. people that have experienced the same mess) than I care about "me". Psychological injunctions of being a "better person", "changing the perspective", "stigma", "life isn't easy", "deeper hole of hollow hatred" are not anymore my business: they constitute the absurd injunctions to health with which psychiatry destroys people it locks up when they did not have serious problems in the first place. Have a look at the Mark Cresswell paper to see the perspective on "mental illness" I support. Full disclosure: my mother is a psychiatrist and I've been groomed within that specific culture that I know all too well. — Unsigned, by: / talk 23:42, 5 January 2017
I hope you realize that Mark Cresswell is arguing for mental illness by reacting to Thomas Szasz's writing; this is clearly presented in the title and first couple of sentences in the intro. Cresswell also reacts to Szasz's beaten-to-death argument "It's just a theory". I suggest you actually read the paper.—チーズバーガー • めん Spinning-Burger.gif (talkstalk) 00:45, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
Continue reading. Page 37 starts to get a bit more tricky by reinstating Szasz' argument "in the case of psychiatry" in a subtle way. In the end, from a purely scientific point of view, I do not care whether or not it is called "mental illness" or "chulababoo". That's public relations. What matters is the semantics. And the place of technology with respect to ethics and epistemology. This is what is systematically hijacked by psychiatry when it drools over the concept of psychiatric illness as if the concept existed in some kind of vacuum filled by unspoken psychoanalytical obsessions such as mania and narcissism. Yawn. — Unsigned, by: / talk 01:05, 6 January 2017
Yes, I read page 37 and found this:
Szasz’s interlocutors resides in the fact that, in making of the difference between the physical and the mental symptom a quantitative continuum, they have reached a conclusion which is equally "absurd"
—Mark Cresswell (page 37)
Cresswell concludes that Szasz's point are absurd. I don't know why you are using a pro-mental illness essay and taking sentences out of context to support your mental illness denial. In fact, anything that you can point out to me in the essay, I can counter with content later in the essay.
"I do not care whether or not it is called 'mental illness' or 'chulababoo'[...]What matters is the semantics.". Except juxtaposing 'mental illness' and 'mental disorder' is semantics. SemanticsWikipedia is looking at the meaning of a word. "Illness" is a more loaded term than "disorder". Using the latter over the former gives a relatively more positive connotation.
"And the place of technology with respect to ethics and epistemology. This is what is systematically hijacked by psychiatry when it drools over the concept of psychiatric illness." Better technology is the best thing that has been introduced to psychiatry. It has weakened the stigma of mental illness, offering a better understanding of these individuals. With limited neuroscience in the past, the best treatment was murder and a lobotomy.—チーズバーガー • めん Spinning-Burger.gif (talkstalk) 01:35, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
I'm not going to argue with you anymore. You are using an essay that you don't even understand and don't understand what "semantics" means. If you aren't putting any effort into arguing, why should I?—チーズバーガー • めん Spinning-Burger.gif (talkstalk) 01:49, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
Cresswell is not claiming that Szasz's point are valid. He's discussing his points in relation to his critics and attempting to assert what his critics have been messing up. That's not defending Szasz. It's attempting to strike a theoretical balance on what is called, if I remember the paper correctly, the holism/realism issue. Attempting to assert how mental illness could be a valid concept, you do have to debunk Szasz argument as it is too wide, and still see if the reasons you've discarded the argument still hold in the case of psychiatry. That's a natural undertaking, and it's not a prejudiced position to attempt to assert what mental illness should be as a valid concept before going on to determine how realistic it is that mental illness could be valid concept. I do not see what your problem with what is written is. However, page 37, just before the discussion of "lacunae of Szazs' interlocutors", you do have the statement: "And it is this failure on all counts of the harmonious functioning of the tripartite distinctions within psychiatry (ethics/technology/epistemology)—which distinctions function harmoniously within medicine—which justifies Szaszian dualism in the case of psychiatry". Conclusion is reached page 41, second paragraph for example. (If you can counter something in the essay with something later in the essay, it's perhaps because that's a case of "dialectics" where arguments of various sides of the debate are thoroughly confronted. On all accounts its easier than reading Hegel...)
Strictly speaking, semantics is not the process of looking meaning up in the dictionary. From a logical point of view, Tarskian semantics is solely the process of assigning a given symbol/lexeme/word to its interpretation, nothing more, which is sometimes conflated with the interpretation itself when the symbol/lexeme/word under consideration is unambiguously identified. This has nothing to do with the dictionary. Or perhaps more precisely, I should perhaps have specified that what really matters is rather "referential transparency" from a purely scientific point of view.
Considering murder and lobotomy as treatment is simply nonsense and should have disqualified psychiatry as medical science at that time. Moreover, that's not true in the US in the 19th century, for instance, nor for military psychiatry during first world war in France, nor during the early 19th century. Medical killing tends unfortunately to be a mid-20th specialty. The question raised is not whether better technology is a good thing or not, or gets in a narrative of scientific and human progress. It is how to position the use of technology, at a given stage of development at a given time, with respect to ethics and epistemology at a given time. If I remember the contents of the paper correctly, this interplay is a concept of Georges Canguilhem. Who wrote stuff like that: I'll skip the claims about "stigma" and "better understanding" which I find unconvincing. It's interesting however to note how your perception can be retrofitted in Canguilhem's framework: what has improved ethics (i.e. "reduced stigma") and epistemology ("better understanding") is the technology used in treatment. How widespread do you believe this opinion is?
Feel free not to argue (I do not coerce anyone, you know...), but the claim that this paper upholds the concept of mental illness that is popularly in use nowadays is highly misleading. It proposes the only sound way I've found about to think of what mental illness could be. It's the best effort I can identify with if I had to defend some concept of mental illness. It's my red line. As a last note, judging by Mark Cresswell's bibliography he's more likely to be classified in the antipsychiatry crowd than in the E Fuller Torrey groupies.
Well I'll be damned, you've gotten more rational and calmed down, thank you and I shall do the same. As for sociology, I'm personally not a fan because it tends to produce writings that unnecessarily use obscure words to sound smart; sociology writings just need to get to the point. It becomes prevalent now that you have a better understanding of the text … and that I do not.
As for lobotomies and murder, these are examples of treating mentally ill. Lobotomies were in fact used in the 20th century USA on homosexuals, see Sexual orientation change effortsWikipedia for more general examples. As for murder, a psychologist (I realize it's not psychiatry) used/abused their field to justify the killing of Native Americans … Is this a stretch? Kind of.
As for proving Szasz wrongWikipedia, why do I have the burden of proof? Mental illness exists no more than the concept of species, race, and ethnicity; it's a term that has a definition. Whatever falls into the definition of mental illness is a mental illness. There is real world portrayals of mental illness, schizofrenia; however, what falls under mental illness is debateable, homosexuality. Brain scans show atypical activity from people categorized with mental illness. However, it is unfortunate that mental illness is used to discriminate mentally ill people and give them inhumane treatement. If you want to talk about abstract sociology, I really don't have it in me.—チーズバーガー • めん Spinning-Burger.gif (talkstalk) 04:09, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
I'll deal only with the question of burden of proof, here. There is burden of proof where there is a claim made. The position you make, very roughly, is that the question of mental illness is a purely definitional one, and that we just have to agree on a definition instead of attempting to "prove" something. It is not so: mental illness are not discrete definitional items living in theoretical vacuum of unspoken and debatable moral values ( Instead, you should rather consider the whole diagnostic system as a statistical estimator. As an estimator, the diagnostic system maps observables (symptoms, exhaustively: to interventions (may they be medical or social). Mental illness (as clinical concepts/tools) are then described by the observables that lead to a given intervention. This description is perhaps simplistic and too mathematical, as happiness could be conceived as a mental illness; "observed mental condition" could perhaps be a more legitimate wording. This setting indirectly echoes the Canguilhem framework of technology as a mediator between ethics (what to maximise under the estimator) and espistemology (the set of observables we are able to understand properly). The theory of statistical estimators nowadays has a vast literature, and there is no reason that "mental illness" should be immune to criticism via this thoroughly developed science. What is claimed by proponents of mental illness, as far as I can fit it in a testable framework, is that mental illness categorisation leads to better outcomes than it would if left alone in the natural world. And here lies the burden of proof: if you want, for example, to lock up people against their will. I believe that is a thought-provoking example of why this claim is spurious. If you fail to provide a proof, all you can claim is that people indeed have problems causing distress, now, or in the future. Not much more about the validity of the classification that would warrant the interventions.
Again, this is simplistic, but it is the first thing to prove. You may criticise it, for instance by defining illness as an observable condition statistically leading to a decrease in life expectancy (or life expectancy in good health) if it follows its natural course. But if you take simple schizophrenia where do you find such studies? Relying on the "popper is not sufficient" argument to discard looking at the outcomes in the absence of intervention seems to me to verge on quack science. Indeed, you here have a "mental illness" that doesn't really need any symptom at all to be diagnosed (duh?), where there is no serious notion of danger to oneself or others (which IMO raises doubts on the honesty of claims made when committing patients ending with such a diagnosis to psych wards), that is mainly a response to anxious parents (how else does it get diagnosed in the real world? Seriously?), where no long term outcomes studies of this condition are known (to me at least) as it's bundled together with other hardcore situations in epidemiological studies, and that responds to psychological needs of doctors (the myth of caring for whatever comes their way and also the recycling of the psychoanalytical concept of "white psychosis" which is unscientific and dear to a lot of doctors at least in my country which uses CIM-10) and that, being the most normal type of schizophrenia, inflates the prevalence of schizophrenia. I do not see why this diagnosis should be considered in any way more valid than sluggish schizophrenia (read to convince yourself that "scientific" criticism only falls flat; the terms of the debate haven't really changed...). Granted it's not included in DSM any more and not used in the US (though I do not see reasons to believe that the same people would not in the US be given another diagnostic anyway...). Nevertheless, it still gets the same "schiz" treatment in my country than vanilla schizophrenia would in the US (negation of whatever may be claimed, negation of the right to consent, antipsychotics, recurrent nightly police interventions when relatives freak out for whatever ludicrous reasons, loss of job opportunities and autonomy when making life decisions courtesy of psychiatric help, etc...). A diagnostic of schizophrenia is not about it's degree of severity but instead clearly, by the description of the interventions, a purely irrational medical freak out, and a freak show.
I raised the example of simple schizophrenia to counterbalance your claim of real portrayals of schizophrenia that I assume are more dire. Making distinctions is indeed the art of a diagnostic system. And they should be rationally based in studies of long term outcomes compared to the natural course of the alleged/observed condition. That is not the case: there is a tremendous pressure of practitioners to discard the scant long term epidemiological data in favour of apocalyptically inflated clinical descriptions. We're simply sick and tired of that delusional nonsense about care when data shows that it doesn't help at all, far from it. You want to claim mental illness exists the way you want it to be? Show us seriously convincing epidemiological data: We won't settle for minor short-term collective improvements of depression that comes at the price of broad coercive prophylactic practices. (Early detection of simple schizophrenia with outpatient commitment? We have that here where I live).
What I'm claiming is that whenever an antipsychiatry "crank" is raising up an argument based on real life experience (that argument may not be fully faithful to reality, I agree), it's always an argument that adresses at least indirectly what the observables of the statistical estimator are or could be (not a minor issue), what the outcome to optimise is or could be (not a minor issue either) and what the relevant intervention (medical OR social) is or should be (not a minor issue either). What we do know, without doubt, is that the opportunity to simply not do anything as an intervention (within the context of that statistical estimator) is something that is consistently being left out and considered unscientific or immoral. That attitude is plainly antiscientific bullshit, and to conclude, that is perhaps the core of the "mental illness doesn't exist" mantra: we won't consider psychiatry scientific until we at least have a proper thorough conceptualisation in statistical terms about the outcomes of the absence of interventions. We won't settle for the "well, that's immoral to study" argument. It's not.
P.S.: Brain scans are of no use in the burden of proof discussion, as difference is in no way indicative on their own of illness (women have genes in excess number than men, much like Down syndrome which does not translate without further evidence into classification of female sex as being a disease: it's a condition). Depending on the illness at stake and the evidence of a given specific study involving brain scans, I'm willing to discuss the evidence, but keep in mind that IF brain abnormalities WERE correlative of an (endogenous) disease in a SUBSET ONLY of people diagnosed with a given diagnosis, you would still see a statistically significant effect in the WHOLE population under consideration with properly designed studies. As such, brain abnormalities cannot, by design, disprove that the diagnostic criteria are too large compared to what you attempt to detect. The real question, that I believe currently has a negative answer, is the reverse inference: can you, on the basis of structural brain abnormalities, discriminate ill from healthy. You can discriminate women from men based on the number of genes. It's highly dubious that you can for psychiatric illnesses with statistically significant studies of brain abnormalities since discriminating is a very different concept from "statistical significance". It's not even sure it can pragmatically add useful information to the diagnostic procedure, which is the real question at stake. What extra information does a brain scan add? Real info? Or noise? Abnormalities do exist in "normal" "healthy" people. The bottom line for disease / illness classification claims is the so-called "statistical estimator" that I've exposed before. I haven't even assumed in this criticism that the illness under consideration is schizophrenia, psychiatry's poster child, where other objections apply. — Unsigned, by: / talk 12:25, 6 January 2017
Not going to respond to everything because you honestly type too much, so here we go:
I'll deal only with the question of burden of proof, here.
I understand what abuse of burden of proof is. I'm not a psychology expert so don't expect me to represent the entire field. And especially don't expect me to disprove an outrageous claim you've made. You could claim that there's an invisible Flying Spaghetti Monster that created the universe and that I have to disprove that. You made the outrageous claim, you prove it.
"Mental illness (as clinical concepts/tools) are then described by the observables that lead to a given intervention. This description is perhaps simplistic and too mathematical, as happiness could be conceived as a mental illness; "observed mental condition" could perhaps be a more legitimate wording."'
It sure is. Welcome to psychology. This is a valid criticism of the field.
And here lies the burden of proof: if you want, for example, to lock up people against their will.
Again, a valid argument. Instead of arguing mental illness doesn't exist, criticize how the term is applied to people.
"where there is no serious notion of danger to oneself or others" Nevertheless, it still gets the same "schiz" treatment in my country than vanilla schizophrenia would in the US
If it's not distressing to you or others, it's not a mental illness. Saying otherwise is quackery. If your country is doing this, then that's bullshit. Still, how does this prove mental illness is a myth?—チーズバーガー • めん Spinning-Burger.gif (talkstalk) 19:14, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
I apologise for typing too much. I do not perceive what the outrageous claim I made precisely is (I haven't talked about spaghetti monster). The outrageous claim I do not shy to fight is the scientificity of the diagnostic system as a whole, which to me is intrically linked to definitions of mental illness it's based on and ipso facto their scientificity. I do contend that there cannot be valid definitions of mental illnesses out of the blue on purely phenomenological considerations (with moral considerations mascarading behind), but that they need to be grounded in epidemiology. On this front, data is rather inconsistently collected if not inconsistent: for instance. I do shift the burden of proof, as, honestly, their hasn't been much evidence if any that the psychiatric system as a whole does provide better outcomes than the natural outcomes. That's why usually look out for so-called "ecological studies" of psychiatry's impact, which is indeed what I do care about to support my claim: they tend to be "no bullshit" studies when properly designed. I mentioned a paper that supports my claim, and I'm willing to read empirical evidence suggesting that psychiatry works as a whole. Here's another one: On a more general note, I'd conclude the paragraph with the following discussion about definitions of outcomes:
"If it's not distressing to you or others, it's not a mental illness." That's also simplistic: if you take high IQ people and if they achieve less in school/academia than what they could or should, then that's considered a negative outcome, no matter if it remains within perfectly acceptable social norms. If it "distresses" your parents, you're in for a free psychiatric ride. However, if it does not distress yourself, nor your parents, it still distresses mental health practitioners and public health policy makers... When locked up for such "reasons", it gets all too easy to note down on your records that you have "paranoid/paranoiac beliefs" about people manipulating you for their own psychological needs (hey! it's indeed the case!). Technically, that's iatrogenically retrofitting into established diagnostic categories the "distress" that authorities feel that you should feel on their behalf. I've witnessed similar things happening on more people than I would have cared to.
Other examples: early psychosis detection is not about whether anyone feels distressed, but rather, it's about whether or not psychiatric authorities are willing to take an epidemiological bet on whether or not you or your relatives will feel distress in the future. That's also why the Plioutch case could not be used to attack soviet psychiatry on scientific grounds. By this standard, homosexuality should also likely be classified as mental illness given that lifelong suicide rates are higher. This gives me a very queasy overall feeling... And that's also why many "difficult psychiatric patient" go into hiding from doctors in an uncompromising choice of freedom over "compliance". They're called antipsychiatry quacks in some circles, by the way.
To put it simply, if life problems are distressing to myself, then I'd like to deal with them on my own first and foremost, before eventually seeking help ON MY OWN. If they're distressing to others, then it's first and foremost THEIR OWN psychological problems and I shouldn't have to pay the price of their distress (which has no reason to go away by locking me up in a psych ward by the way as it may fill their need for a sado-masochistic type of parenting needs, who knows...). If it's distressing to the State, let's have an honest discussion in court so that we can AT LEAST DISCLOSE what the REAL problem is instead of dancing around some kind of unspoken totem and taboo while asking the mental patient to guess what he's accused of (i.e. the so-called "insight" problem). If that's not mental illness denialism, what is?
If people want to see shrinks and pill pushers of their own free will, I'll never object to them buying into the mental illness explanation that's provided to them. Mental illness is not a "myth", it's simply an "explanation" for real life problems: you do not need to accept nor deny brain abnormalities statistics in order to accept that CBT therapies sometimes are "statistically significantly" working without any real science into the nature of "illnesses" nor why the CBT therapy works. Medicine is supposed to be all about pragmatism. Whether or not mental illness is a myth is irrelevant to the fact that the what matters is the therapeutics associated to the diagnostic system. And it should be fixed, ASAP, and the first scientific question to be asked is: does therapeutics work better than placebo on patients who refuse treatment? If not, the whole idea of evidence-based medicine is to mandate that these therapeutics should be dropped once and for all. — Unsigned, by: / talk 21:18, 6 January 2017
Good post! There we go. From what I'm gathering, sure mental illness exists, but the definition is not perfect and is up to interpretation. Therefore, in practice, the definition can be abused to put people in unwanted positions. This is something to bring up with the mob.—チーズバーガー • めん Spinning-Burger.gif (talkstalk) 22:24, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
"This is something to bring up with the mob." I did sue some participants. Pointless. That's the point when you understand that "war" is a more accurate description of the situation than "science", "health" or "law". There's no excuse for that kind of "medical" behaviour. I'm not "sick" enough yet to involve the mob. — Unsigned, by: / talk 23:02, 6 January 2017

Regarding cannabis and psychosis[edit]

This reflects the current scientific consensus. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 13:04, 6 January 2017 (UTC)

Which logically implies that the french academy of medicine are cranks if not simply fear-mongerers. Fine by me. Keep in mind that scientific consensus does not really translate into the mindset of practitioners who are nevertheless rather quick to raise the antiscience crusade flag to push their agenda. It's sad to observe, really. — Unsigned, by: / talk 13:36, 6 January 2017

Overlap between antifeminism and anti-psychiatry[edit]

Crank source: Reverend Black Percy (talk) 17:40, 9 February 2017 (UTC)

Forms of denial[edit]

To what extent are there different forms of denialism - so some people argue that specific forms of mental illness do not exist (rather than argue over where the boundary is/perceptions changing over time) and some claim that mental illness as a whole does not exist? Anna Livia (talk) 16:31, 13 September 2017 (UTC)

Tana Dineen's "Manufacturing Victims"[edit]

I came across this thing on TV Tropes of all places. I haven't read it, but here's my impression after reading a few reviews and previews:

  • She doesn't seem to be particularly famous, so some promotions of her book oversell the impact she's made.
  • She doesn't deny all mental illness, but she seems to e.g. blame depression sufferers for failing to take "personal responsibility".
  • She likes to accuse psychology of being pseudoscience.
  • She believes the "psychology industry" is trying to turn healthy people into patients, and to keep them dependent on their therapist instead of preparing them to move on with their life.
  • Her website goes as far as saying the effects of it are "damaged people, divided families, distorted justice, destroyed companies, and a weakened nation". Yes, really.

(1) Is there any merit whatsoever to her claims (other than "a few psychologists are useless or malicious, and therapy doesn't help everyone"), or is it just another Big Pharma conspiracy theory? (2) Should we even bother addressing her claims? As I said, she doesn't seem to be particularly influential. ThineAntidote (talk) 11:07, 8 May 2018 (UTC)

Remaining problems[edit]

Involuntary commitment still exists for people who are deemed a danger to themselves or others. While Mental Health isn't nearly as bad as it used to be the involuntary commitment of people who attempt suicide or display self-destructive behavior is still unjustified. If a person is feeling depressed or has suicidal thoughts and wants treatment then of course they should receive treatment but if they just want to kill themselves then why lock them up to try and keep them alive against their will? I'm also puzzled by the argument that if a person later decides they want to live then that somehow invalidates their earlier desire to die or if that change was facilitated by involuntary psychiatric commitment then that somehow makes that commitment justified. I would also like to submit that Mental Health uses a double standard by never treating the reasons why a person finds to live with the same scrutiny as the reasons why a person wants to die. Personally I know my own desire to live is based entirely on irrational impulses and emotional/subjective reasoning. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

This is now addressed in anti-psychiatry.Neiltyson1fan (talk) 19:32, 22 December 2019 (UTC)

Section on the difference model[edit]

I feel like whoever wrote the section on the difference model doesn't have a good grasp on mental disorders.

"ADHD and autism come with strengths and harmless differences as well as difficulties" - ADHD doesn't come with "strengths and harmless differences", especially if it continues into adulthood. It's actively debilitating on all facets of life for a majority of patients. Literally the entire point of ADHD as a psychiatric diagnosis is that the inattentiveness and restlessness actively impedes functioning to the point it requires medical intervention. And that's before we get into its very high comorbidity with other psychiatric disorders, like depression, bipolar disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.

I'm not going to touch the autism one, I ain't opening that can of worms.

As someone on the spectrum myself, I will simply say that while the model's attitude of promoting greater acceptance is commendable and that there are parts of autism that can be strengths when harnessed correctly, the model fails to remember that we live in a society made by and (for the most part) for neurotypical people and therefore we must ultimately play by their rules, albeit with the possibility of finding a future middle ground more conducive to people on the spectrum in the future. -- (talk) 16:02, 17 October 2018 (UTC)

"Whether the disability causes suffering is also important to note. For example, the difference model might make sense for a healthy schizophrenic woman whose voices tell her not to forget to buy milk at the store, but might not be helpful for a frightened schizophrenic woman whose voices tell her to hurt herself and to trust no one" - That is not how schizophrenia works and this assessment is so inaccurate it may actually be dangerous. There is a lot more to schizophrenia than just auditory hallucinations; what about her negative symptoms? What about her cognitive deficits? Those two are more important to a schizophrenic patient's functioning and quality of life than the positive symptoms. Hell, what about the other positive symptoms like disorganized thinking, or delusions?

Normally, I'd fix it (by taking away that paragraph entirely), but then I'd have to touch the identity politics of the difference model and I wouldn't touch that with a sterilised ten foot surgical steel pole being held by some other bloke. --Hingle McCringleberry (talk) 18:43, 16 October 2018 (UTC)

I mean, the underlying medical definition of any "mental disorder" requires by technical necessity "affects the quality of life", so I feel like you get the toupee problem. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 19:24, 16 October 2018 (UTC)
Do we have to cater to identity politics here? I really wouldn't want to be an author in a Politically Correct encyclopedia (and not in an anti-Politically Correct either). Political opinions should never enter the equation in the first place. A synthesis one could make from the paragraph is that difference model proponents, instead of denying the illness itself, deny the psychiatric evaluation that the illness is the cause for the worsened quality of life. Instead, they blame the society for this effect. This is essentially not any better. Persons that receive the diagnosis are often relieved when the cause of the problems is recognized as an illness, instead of it all being their fault. The diagnosis allows them to receive treatment, which is again something that would be denied if following the denialists. As such, while more subtle, the difference model is harmful for the same reason as outright mental illness denial. --DrH (talk) 13:26, 17 October 2018 (UTC)
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.
The positions of neurodiversity proponents vary, but in general they don't deny that the illness itself is the cause of lowered quality of life. They just reject the label of "illness" or "disorder", claiming it's just a difference in brain function, a position I find hilariously quaint at best as our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of mental disorders improve. But I like the underlying intent; removing the stigma plaguing mental health. The stigma is part of the relatively high treatment dropout rates for various mental disorders, and frankly makes me unreasonably mad.
Others say, on top of that, society should adjust to patients who refuse treatment, which, again, while well-intentioned, speaks to an incredible lack of understanding of how mental disorders impair functioning.
Then you have the social constructionists claiming schizophrenia is a social construct. And sociologists ask why the hard sciences don't take them seriously.
Anyway, I removed the paragraph in its entirely because it makes me see red. X-Wing @Aliciousness (talk) 16:34, 17 October 2018 (UTC)
The only academic in history I can find making the absurd claim that schizophrenia is a social construct is a "hard science" psychiatrist (just like you) Thomas S. Szasz, and I had to go back to the fucking 60s to find him doing so. And his actual arguments were a bit more complicated than you imply, namely that recent(at the time) abuses had people institutionalized for cases of schizophrenia that were not at all in line with diagnostic criteria, suggesting that it was a convenient blanket being thrown over more complex cases, which yeah, starts to sound socially constructed. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 02:09, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
I was thinking of Michael T. Walker, actually, who argued all mental illnesses are social constructs, because... language creates reality? And therefore all psychiatric diagnoses are social in nature? Ibrahim Moizoos (talk) 13:32, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
Well, I don't think you understand what social construct means. Just like saying race is a social construct doesn't mean differences in skin color don't exist, so saying mental illness is a social construct doesn't imply people who are dysfunctional on a mental level and suffering from it don't exist. But psychiatric diagnoses are obviously socially constructed, which is evident from the simple fact that they differ based on culture and time, the demarcations between them (an adult who was diagnosed with schizophrenia in the 1970s may be diagnosed with autism now; an adult who is diagnosed with borderline personality disorder now may be diagnosed with complex PTSD in a few years from now) and whether a given condition is to be treated as a mental illness is subject to change.
Psychiatry, like all of medicine, does have problems with practicing psychiatrists abusing their power and not only individual practitioners but also organizations harboring common societal biases against various social groups and minorities (women, non-heterosexual people, gender variant people, intersex people, poor people, people of color, uneducated people, and last but not least people identified as disabled, mentally ill or non compos mentis, and – for example – under- or sometimes also overestimating their abilities), and it is important to acknowledge this. However, it can be done without denying the concept of mental illness in general. Nuance is crucial: for example, a dire economic situation, criminalization and minority stress can all contribute to depression, making it more than a plain brain dysfunction but also affected by social factors; this does not mean that depressed people should never be treated or receive medication, but their autonomy needs to be respected and their social situation should be improved. This can all still work as criticism largely internal to psychiatry, however (yet informed, for example, by activism), without discrediting the field as a whole. The neurodiversity paradigm (whose goals are often misrepresented or misunderstood; at its base, it's simply a reaction against the tendency to treat disabled and mentally ill individuals as intrinsically inferior and incompetent, and not deserving of the same rights as neurotypical individuals) and other forms of activism do have valuable contributions to make. The same is true for approaches that challenge norms which serve at the basis for pathologization of behavior that is not inherently problematic or harmful and thus cannot be classified as inherently disordered. This is, in fact, the main issue in psychiatry: the long-standing unwillingness to consider the voices of the clients themselves. -- (talk) 21:00, 25 May 2019 (UTC)

Improved diagnostics...[edit]

I removed the first sentence in the 'In their defense' section. It claimed that as psychiatry has developed its diagnoses have improved and become more precise. This is inaccurate. In fact neuropsychiatric research has increasingly abandoned the DSM as unhelpful. Long story short, DSM diagnoses consist of loosely connected and sometimes vague clusters of affective, cognitive and behavioral symptoms. Attempting to take diagnoses developed long before contemporary advances in neuroscience and map them onto the brain has proven difficult at best. This is why the National Institute of Mental Health has abandoned the DSM in favor of an approach that begins with the brain and works its way up from there. Medical sociologist Nikolas Rose's 'Our Psychiatric Future' has a good summary of this history and is an excellent source for citations. — Unsigned, by: / talk

Needs a cleanup[edit]

this article is biased as fuck and reads like a pharma lobbyist's manifesto. it not only overstates the effectiveness of psychiatric treatment but indulges sweeping generalizations that every person taking some sort of anti-psychiatry stance is a 'quack'; it's denigrating to patients traumatized by forced treatment/coercement and who've suffered iatrogenic effects from unsuccessful medication regimens. I realize the antipsychiatry movement is often associated with woo and pseudoscience but this article makes psychiatry out to be some unassailable institution which ironically matches the delusion of mental illness denial itself. linking to another article for arguments against isn't enough and this article desperately needs a more balanced viewpoint. — Unsigned, by: 2605:6000:EB40:3A00:A4E6:834B:3912:EB1E / talk

Moving stuff to a new page[edit]

That doesn't have to do with mental illness denial or is only tangential. To anti-psychiatry specifically. This page is mostly about Szasz-type thought, which of course overlaps heavily with anti-psychiatry but != anti-psychiatry. I don't think previous writers were being malicious, but rather they didn't want to go through the trouble of also creating an anti-psychiatry page as well.Neiltyson1fan (talk) 19:33, 22 December 2019 (UTC)

Grassroot mental illness denial[edit]

I met quite a few people who have never heard about Szasz or likes, but argue that mental illnesses aren't really illnesses simply because they never had such experience themselves and thus don't understand it's severity. It's a large group and I'm surprised that it isn't covered at all.

Arguments against are very weak[edit]

The "arguments against" section appears to be split into 3 arguments. We have paragraph 1, then "yet another problem" opens paragraph 2, and then a neuroplasticity subsection. I'll look at them in order. Paragraph 1 immediately concedes some ground, stating that some things considered mental illness are "simply a category with which people may be labeled so they can receive extra help." This isn't an argument against mental illness denial. It concedes that the illness doesn't exist, but suggests that the linguistic category is useful. For other illnesses, paragraph 1 notes that sometimes they shift onto things with a biological basis, but this doesn't present any argument for mental illness really existing. In fact, if all mental illnesses fit into these two categories, either being "really just a linguistic category" or "really a misdiagnosis for a neurological condition" then mental illness denial has won. Hardly an argument against. The second paragraph states "there could be some dysfunction there that is unseen." That's an obvious retreat to the possible. To argue against mental illness denial, you need to argue for the existence of mental illness, not just for the possibility of mental illness. The rest of paragraph two is dedicated to an irrelevant ramble about migraines followed by a clarification on what mental illness deniers believe regarding treatment for supposed illnesses. The third and final argument, then, is that "advances in the research of neuroplasticity have made this even more silly." Here, it's noted that giving someone chemicals to temporarily worsen their memory allows them to recall traumatic events without issue. It even jokes "turns out you can cure almost anything by suppressing memory of an event, wow, much science." Well... exactly? People get smashed to help them deal with bad memories too. This does absolutely nothing to prove that they have an illness. It just shows that memories can be difficult, and that chemicals can damage memory, something which mental illness denial doesn't stand against. Overall, this section is awful. If this is the best it gets then we might as well burn down the local psych ward now. 2A00:23C7:400:E000:1504:6E51:B74F:CFD2 (talk) 22:29, 24 November 2020 (UTC)