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Cruel Compassion: Psychiatric Control of Society's Unwanted / Edition 1
     

Cruel Compassion: Psychiatric Control of Society's Unwanted / Edition 1

5.0 1
by Thomas Stephen Szasz
 

ISBN-10: 0815605102

ISBN-13: 9780815605102

Pub. Date: 02/01/1998

Publisher: Syracuse University Press

The renowned gadfly of psychiatry examines the growing practice of coercing individuals (especially adults economically dependent on others) allegedly in their own best interest. Demonstrates how moral man has been replaced by mental patient in modern society, how sin has been converted to mental illness as a way of controlling undesirables. Deals with psychiatry as a

Overview

The renowned gadfly of psychiatry examines the growing practice of coercing individuals (especially adults economically dependent on others) allegedly in their own best interest. Demonstrates how moral man has been replaced by mental patient in modern society, how sin has been converted to mental illness as a way of controlling undesirables. Deals with psychiatry as a social control medium, how it disposes of those persons unwanted by society, and presents a compelling argument for limiting coercive powers of psychiatry to take away people's personal freedom and relieve them of their personal responsibility.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780815605102
Publisher:
Syracuse University Press
Publication date:
02/01/1998
Edition description:
REPRINT
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.38(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.76(d)

Table of Contents

STORING THE UNWANTED
The Indigent
The Debtor
The Epileptic
The Child
The Homeless
THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF PSYCHIATRY
The Origin of Psychiatry
Economics and Psychiatry
Adult Dependency: Idleness as Illness
The New Psychiatric Deal
Re-Storing the Mental Patient
The Futility of Psychiatric Reform
Epilogue
References
Bibliography
Indexes

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Cruel Compassion: Psychiatric Control of Society's Unwanted 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Capitalism is the hallmark of the American economy. Americans embrace the notion of producing and distributing goods and services in a free market, which undergoes minimal government regulation. This type of economic trade works for and satisfies most people in democratic society, particularly those with adequate financial stability. For some unfortunate individuals, however, the market is not entirely ¿free,¿ and government regulation is all but minimal. These individuals are forced to be consumers of government-provided goods and services against their will. Although those found guilty of criminal acts are deprived of liberty, denied certain legal rights, and subjected to government coercion, these hapless individuals are not criminals. In most instances, these individuals have neither performed criminal acts, posed as threats to anyone or anything, nor been accused of any wrongdoing per se. The only accusation made against these individuals is that they are ¿insane;¿ furthermore, coercing these individuals to adhere to government regulation is justifiable in a court of law. American society and economy has a deleterious system of subjecting insane, or ¿mentally ill,¿ individuals to psychiatric control. This theme pervades Thomas Szasz¿s book, Cruel Compassion: Psychiatric Control of America¿s Unwanted. According to Szasz, there exists an age-old process of storing and coercing society¿s unwanted individuals (viz., indigents, debtors, epileptics, children, homeless individuals, and the mentally ill). The beginning of this process can be traced back to the early 17th century English Poor Laws, which were enacted to punish economically unproductive indigents. Since then, debtors, or insolvents, were contractually bound to serve time in debtor¿s prisons; epileptics were medicated (i.e., given neuroleptic, or antipsychotic, drugs), sterilized, and stored in colonies; troublesome children were given arbitrary psychiatric diagnoses and sentenced to psychiatric hospitals, or ¿madhouses;¿ and homeless individuals were housed in economically lucrative, government-provided domiciles. As for the mentally ill, they were originally placed in asylums and madhouses (i.e., were institutionalized) under the coercion of a psychiatrist, and as a result of an anti-psychiatric movement and Szasz himself, they are currently coerced into deinstitutionalization and ingestion of psychiatric mediation. While many of these acts may appear to be compassionate and altruistic methods performed by self-righteous mental health professionals in order to help or correct the ¿less fortunate,¿ Szasz asserts that this facade is far from the truth. These motives underlying these acts are often economic (e.g., The Supplemental Security Income program made being a hospitalized mental patient a profitable occupation.). Another popular motive for psychiatric institutionalization derived from the phenomenon of caregivers no longer wanting to care for their mentally ill family members. These caregivers basically used the system to pawn off unwanted, embarrassing, and/or interfering friends and relatives to well-paid, government-employed psychiatrists. Psychiatric institutionalization was masked as a system using medicine to treat ¿real¿ illness. Psychiatry attempted to mirror and mimic medicine by making absurd claims about the success and recovery rate of their often iatrogenic procedures. Some of these procedures include the infamous lobotomy, electric shock, the dissemination of neuroleptic drugs (historically for epileptics and often inducing tardive dyskinesia), and insulin shock and coma. Additionally, psychiatric patients were belittled, deprived of dignity through their role in the therapist-patient relationship, and institutionalized, becoming dependent on the institution for survival. Following the institutionalization era, patients were then deinstitutionalized (i.e., funneled out of the hospitals into nursing homes, halfw