Home Introduction Szasz Materials Debates Links/Related Items


Imitation is the sincerest flattery.

res ipsa loquitur. . .

"My general thesis is simple: that addiction is not an illness and treatment is therefore metaphorical rather than real."

Theodore Dalrymple (Anthony Daniels, M.D.), in Jamie Glazov, FrontPageMagazine.com, October 13, 2006.

"Practitioners of all disciplines who provide care and treatment to persons with mental illnesses, along with the recipients of these services and their families, unwittingly contribute to stigmatizing the very individuals we are trying to free from the myths and stereotypes of psychiatric disorders. Like a skin-borne pathogen, stigma passes among us with no more than a handshake, a hug, or a graze. We all keep this stigma alive by using the names of disorders to designate people.

Among physicians, psychiatrists are unique in their use of such terminology. . . .

. . . "Schizophrenic" provides the necessary structure from which to hang stigmatized images of a person—a lonely person with inadequate social skills and poor hygiene in one language, and a person who is bizarre, grubby, smelly, a street person, or a zombie in another language.

. . . Ain't no such thing as a schizophrenic."--Geller, J.L. (2001). Ain't no such thing as a schizophrenic. Psychiatr Serv 52:715, June. Jeffrey L. Geller, M.D., M.P.H., professor of psychiatry and director of public-sector psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester.


"Psychiatry has tried so hard to fashion itself as a medical discipline that it has shot itself in the foot. Recovery from mental illness does not obey the laws of physical illness."--John R. Lion, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Maryland, in "Please make the mental patient go away," The New Psychiatric Review (Sheppard Pratt Health System), 3: 3 (April), 2001.


Supporting the Mythology of Mental Illness by Imitating and Ignoring "The Myth of Mental Illness":

  • Mental Illness is No Myth by Tom Siegfried and Sue Goetinck
  • Mental Illness Myths by Steven Thow
  • Some Myths of Mental Illness (from the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill)
  • Mythunderstandings by Marcia Purse


    "This tendency to medicalize all the pains that go with being human is, I believe, the crux of Dr. Satel's critique. It can be seen in other areas of psychiatry--for instance, in the recent claim that 33 million people in this country suffer from social phobia. Do we really have criteria that can always distinguish this disorder from shyness or timidity?

    In pursuit of our laudable efforts to remove the stigma from mental illness and to diminish the barriers to its treatment, I believe we can go too far if, for whatever reason, we endeavor to include all undesirable human traits and feelings in the domain of illness." [Paul Chodoff, M.D., Washington, D.C. "More on Dr. Satel." Psychiatric News, March 17, 2000.]


    "I drew up a clear arrangement with my psychiatrist and family that if I again become severely depressed they have the authority to approve, against my will if necessary, both electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT, an excellent treatment for certain types of severe depression, and hospitalization." [Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Mood and Madness. New York: Knopf, 1995), p. 113.]


    "As someone who studies, treats and suffers from a severe mental illness -- manic depression -- I commend the surgeon general for his excellent, thoughtful and fair report on mental illness."--Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. ["Mental Illness: End the Stigma, Treat the Disease" (Letter to the Editor), The New York Times, December 17, 1999.]


    "'Often there isn't much difference medically between someone who is voluntarily or involuntarily committed,' said Kay Redfield Jamison, a professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore. Sometimes people will agree to be voluntarily hospitalized to avoid having a court record of being involuntarily committed. . . . the distinction between voluntary and involuntary commitment is 'misleading and arbitrary,' Professor Jamison said." [Butterfield, F. (2001). "Massachusetts gun laws concerning mentally ill are faulted." The New York Times, A18, January 14.]


    Summerfield, Derek. (2001, January 13). The invention of post-traumatic stress disorder and the social usefulness of a psychiatric category. British Medical Journal, 322, 95-98. (Derek Summerfield, a psychiatrist, is Honorary Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychiatry, St. George's Hospital Medical School, London SW17 ORE.)

    See Anthony Stadlen's reply to Summerfield at British Medical Journal website
    Or read Stadlen's letter here

    Thomas S. Szasz Cybercenter for Liberty and Responsibility:
    Copyright © 1998-2001 by the author of each page, except where noted. All rights reserved.