The Myth Of Mental Illness

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In 1961 Thomas Szasz penned a book by the title The Myth of Mental Illness that would go on to cause quite the stir in the world of psychiatry. In the book, Szasz stated his belief that what most psychiatrists would label as mental illnesses are in fact not illnesses at all, but instead what he would go on to call “problems in living.” This article will take a critical approach at Szasz reasons for his belief in these “problems in living” including an objective outline of his argument, a discussion on the validity of the argument and its’ premises, and finally the strongest objections to the argument. Szasz is an important figure in modern psychiatry and his opinions are very divisive but certainly worth discussing. Szasz’s most radical belief is undoubtedly his opinion that what many people practicing psychiatric medicine would call a mental illness is in fact not an illness as at all, going as far as to calling them “myths”. Szasz came to this conclusion because aside from certain diseases, including alzheimer 's, that can be clinically proven, all other instances of “mental illness” are subjective. Szasz believed that in order for something to be labeled as a disease there must be a clinical correlation. The nature of disease, to Szasz, referred to a malfunction of the human body, easily identifiable and a disease needs to demonstrate a clear pathology at the cellular or molecular level. The nature of the mental, to Szasz, is concerned with what people do, the actions

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