Psychiatry and Game Theory

Some theorists propose that the concept of “mental illness” as we know it is a false paradigm.  One may view society as individuals playing within a collective game.  Each of individual is trying to maximize their potential and gain with minimal effort or suffering.  Some individuals understand and play the rules of the game better than others.  Problems therefore arise. 

 "The struggle for definition is veritably the struggle for life itself. In the typical Western two men fight desperately for the possession of a gun that has been thrown to the ground: whoever reaches the weapon first shoots and lives; his adversary is shot and dies. In ordinary life, the struggle is not for guns but for words; whoever first defines the situation is the victor; his adversary, the victim. For example, in the family, husband and wife, mother and child do not get along; who defines whom as troublesome or mentally sick?...[the one] who first seizes the word imposes reality on the other; [the one] who defines thus dominates and lives; and [the one] who is defined is subjugated and may be killed."…Szasz

 Mental health disorders are medical metaphors describing incidents when the individual’s desires or behaviors are in conflict with society or nature.  Problems of living such as depression, anxiety, and even psychosis exist to be sure.  However, it is false to liken them to traditional medical diseases that should be “treated” by a medical doctor. Psychiatrists are similar to “soul doctors”, the successors of priests or shamans, who deal with the spiritual “problems in living” that have troubled people forever. 

 While people behave and think in ways that are very disturbing, this does not mean they have a disease.  Society’s definition of mental illness sometimes seems like a matter of semantics.  Thomas Szasz, one of the leading psychiatrists of this view, wrote: "If you talk to God, you are praying; If God talks to you, you have schizophrenia. If the dead talk to you, you are a spiritualist; If you talk to the dead, you are a schizophrenic."

 Through various Mental Health Acts or laws, psychiatry has slowly become a social control system, which disguises itself under the claims of scientificity.    

It should be noted that Szasz’s views have been rejected by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and the psychiatric establishment.  His views are often inappropriately lumped in with less astute psychiatry deniers such as the Scientologists.  While I disagree with much of his views, there is something compelling about them especially for any psychiatrist who has ever worked in military, forensic or disability evaluations. Dr. Lacy

Postat av: Jennie

Mycket tänkvärd läsning!

2008-12-01 @ 20:35:25

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