It is well known that today jails and prisons house many seriously mentally ill citizens who in prior decades have been treated in mental hospitals and community mental health programs. This paper begins with a brief review of the history of support for mental health programs at the federal level and then, using the State of Oregon as an example, describes the new state era of mental health services which is characterized by the increasing use of the criminal justice (...) system as a cornerstone of the treatment of many seriously and chronically mentally ill individuals. Are there any solutions to our current dilemma? The paper ends with this question, and the reader must determine if any of the suggestions posed in this discussion are realistic and/or feasible given the current fiscal and political climate. (shrink)
The concept of citizenship is becoming more and more prominent in specific fields, such as psychiatry/mental health, where it is constituted as a solution to the issues of exclusion, discrimination, and poverty often endured by the mentally ill. We argue that such discourse of citizenship represents a break in the history of psychiatry and constitutes a powerful strategy to counter the effects of equally powerful psychiatric labelling. However, we call into question the emancipatory promise of a citizenship agenda. Foucault's (...) concept of governmentality is helpful in understanding the production of the citizen subject, its location within the 'art of government', as well as the ethical and political implications of citizenship in the context of mental health. (shrink)
abstract Ryan Tonkens proposes that my Kantian approach to suicide intervention with respect to the mentally ill (2002) wrongly assumes that the suicidally mentally ill are rational and are therefore rational agents to whom Kantian moral constraints ought to apply. Here I indicate how the empirical evidence concerning the suicidally mentally ill does not support Tonkens' criticism that the suicidally mentally ill are irrational. In particular, that evidence does not support the conclusion that such individuals are (...) systemically practically irrational so as to undermine the attribution of at least minimal rational autonomy to them. A Kantian moral framework, albeit one developed in a non-ideal direction, remains applicable to such individuals. (shrink)
Competency to be executed evaluations are conducted with a clear understanding that no physician-patient relationship exists. Treatment however, is not so neatly re-categorized in large measure because it involves the physician's active provision of the healing arts. A natural tension exists between what practices may be legally permissible and what are ethically acceptable. We present an overview of the existing positions on this matter in the process of framing our argument.
The Tidal Model represents a significant alternative to mainstream mental health theories, emphasizing how those suffering from mental health problems can benefit from taking a more active role in their own treatment. Based on extensive research, The Tidal Model charts the development of this approach, outlining the theoretical basis of the model to illustrate the benefits of a holistic model of care which promotes self-management and recovery. Clinical examples are also employed to show how, by exploring rather than ignoring a (...) client's narrative, practitioners can encourage the individual's greater involvement in the decisions affecting their assessment and treatment. The Tidal Model 's comprehensive coverage of the theory and practice of this model will be of great use to a range of mental health professionals and those in training in the fields of mental health nursing, social work, psychotherapy, clinical psychology and occupational therapy. (shrink)
Linda Morrison brings the voices and issues of a little-known, complex social movement to the attention of sociologists, mental health professionals, and the general public. The members of this social movement work to gain voice for their own experience, to raise consciousness of injustice and inequality, to expose the darker side of psychiatry, and to promote alternatives for people in emotional distress. Talking Back to Psychiatry explores the movement's history, its complex membership, its strategies and goals, and the varied response (...) it has received from psychiatry, policy makers, and the public at large. (shrink)
It is far too early to say what global impact the neurocognitive and neuropsychiatric sciences will have on our intuitions about moral responsibility. And it is far too early to say whether the notion of moral responsibility will survive this impact (and if so, in what form). But it is certainly worth starting to think about the local impact that these sciences can or should have on some of our distinctions and criteria. It might be possible to use some of (...) the tools offered by these sciences in order to refine or revise some of the categories currently used, without – for the time being at least – worrying too much about the fate of the notion of moral responsibility. This is an area where a piecemeal approach might be more productive: only after an evaluation of many distinct cases and situations it will be possible to say something general about the current notion of moral responsibility. In this article, we will focus on a single clinical case: a young man who has been convicted for assault on a neighbour and whose sentence was affected by a pre-existing diagnosis of mental illness. We will use this case, and an analysis of the similarities and differences between this case and other possible cases, in order to raise some (local but important) issues about the implications that discoveries in neuropsychology and neuropsychiatry can have for the way moral responsibility is attributed to agents and, more specifically, to agents with diagnoses of mental illnesses. (shrink)
Introduction : the existence of mental illness -- The likeness argument -- The categorical argument -- Metaphor -- Two metaphors from physical medicine -- The metaphor of mental illness -- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, social construction, and metaphor -- Metaphors and models.
The word stigma comes from ancient Greece, and was initially used in reference to signs or symbols physically cut into or burned onto the bodies of those deemed to be of an inferior status. It was a marking of one's tarnished and flawed character. Today, stigma is more often attached to one's social standing, personality traits, or psychological makeup. "People are no longer physically branded; instead they are societally labeled—as poor, as criminal, homosexual, mentally ill, and so on. These (...) labels influence public perceptions and behavior and lead to devaluation and denigration of those who are so labeled" (Wahl 1999, 11–12).The modern usage of the term stigma and contemporary focus on the concept as a topic of .. (shrink)
Radical psychiatrists and others assert that mental illness is a myth. The opening and closing portions of the paper deal with the impact such argument has had in law and psychiatry. The body of the paper discusses the five versions of the myth argument prevalent in radical psychiatry: (A) that there is no such thing as mental illness; (B) that those called ?mentally ill? are really as rational as everyone else, only with different aims; that the only reasons anyone (...) ever thought differently was (C) because of unsophisticated category mistakes or (D) because of an adherence to the epistemology of a sick society; and (E) that the phrase ?mental illness? is used to mask value judgments about others? behavior in pseudo?scientific respectability. Reasons are given for rejecting each of these versions of the argument that mental illness is a myth. (shrink)
This book is psychiatry's reply to the diverse group of antipsychiatrists, including Laing, Foucault, Goffman, Szasz and Bassaglia, that has made fashionable the view that mental illness is merely socially deviant behaviour and that psychiatrists are agents of the capitalist society seeking to repress such behaviour. It establishes, by the use of evidence from historical and transcultural studies, that mental illness has been recognised in all cultures since the beginning of history and goes on to explore the philosophical and medical (...) basis for psychiatry's diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. Finally, it tackles two issues where psychiatry has recently been seen as at odds with the values prevailing in society: involuntary hospitalization and the insanity defence. The Reality of Mental Illness does not pretend to offer simple answers to the complex problems it discusses, but will leave the reader with a much greater understanding of psychiatry's aims, practices and problems. (shrink)
WHO suggests mental ill health in terms of depression to be the highest ranking disease problem in the developed world in 2020–2030 and claims a public health approach to be the most appropriate response. But some argue that the alarming reports on mental ill health have their ground in the methods of inquiry themselves and refer to medicalization as an important issue. The aim of this article is to explore and illuminate the issue of what is meant by mental health (...) and mental ill health and what it means that mental ill health is a major public health problem. Basically, two understandings and aspects of public health exist: a ‘reductionist’ and a ‘holistic’ with connections to different theories of health. These diverging understandings may lead to quite different public health responses, and they may have different consequences with regard to medicalization. It is concluded that we need more clearly elaborated ways to think about public health so that the increased attention to mental ill health as a public health problem does not in itself lead to medicalization in terms of just medical treatment. Otherwise, we risk losing the importance of public health as an overarching social and political instrument. (shrink)
I shall begin with the "anti-psychiatry" view that the lack of a physical basis excludes many familiar mental disorders from the category of "illness". My response to this argument will be that anti-psychiatrists are probably right to hold that most mental disorders do not involve any physical disorder, but that they are wrong to conclude from this that these mental disorders are not illnesses.
Conceiving mental disorder -- Disorder of mental disorder -- On being skeptical about mental disorder -- Seeking norms for mental disorder -- An original position -- Addiction and responsibility for self -- Reality lost and found -- Minding the missing me.
The status quo: dogmatism, the biopsychosocial model, and alternatives -- What there is: of mind and brain -- How we know: understanding the mind -- What is scientific method? -- Reading Karl Jaspers's General Psychopathology -- What is scientific method in psychiatry? -- Darwin's dangerous method: the essentialist fallacy -- What we value: the ethics of psychiatry -- Desire and self: Hellenistic and Islamic approaches -- On the nature of mental illness: disease or myth? -- Order out of chaos: from (...) insanity to DSM-III to a pluralistic nosology -- A theory of DSM-IV: ideal types -- Dimensions versus categories -- The perils of belief: psychosis -- The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune: depression -- Life's rollercoaster: mania -- Being self-aware: insight -- Calvinism or hedonism? -- Truth and statistics: problems of empirical psychiatry -- A climate of opinion: what remains of psychoanalysis -- Being there: existential psychotherapy -- Beyond eclecticism: teaching psychotherapy in the twenty-first century -- Bridging the biology/psychology dichotomy: the hopes of integrationism -- Why it is hard to be pluralist. (shrink)
Psychiatry is becoming a cognitive neuroscience. This new paradigm not only aims to give new ways for explaining mental diseases by naturalizing them, but also to have an influence on different levels of psychiatric norms. We tried here to verify whether a biological paradigm is able to fulfill this normative goal. We analyzed three main normative assumptions that is to say the will of giving psychiatry a valid nosology, a rigorous definition of what is a mental disease, and new tools (...) for destigmatizing mentally ill patients. Although these different kinds of normativity are very heterogeneous, we must conclude that, in all these cases, biological psychiatry is a failure, in part because of a lack of epistemological conceptualization. (shrink)
Until recently there has been little contact between the mind-brain debate in philosophy and the debate in psychiatry about the nature of mental illness. In this paper some of the analogies and disanalogies between the two debates are explored. It is noted in particular that the emphasis in modern philosophy of mind on the importance of the concept of action has been matched by a recent shift in the debate about mental illness from analyses of disease in terms of failure (...) of functioning to analyses of illness in terms of failure of action. The concept of action thus provides a natural conduit for two-way exchanges of ideas between philosophy and psychiatry. The potential fruitfulness of such exchanges is illustrated with an outline of the mutual heuristic significance of psychiatric work on delusions and philosophical accounts of Intentionality. (shrink)
In a series of recent works, Ian Hacking has produced a model of social causation in mental illness and begun to sketch in outline how this might be integrated with the medical model of psychiatry. This article elaborates and revises Hacking's model of social forces, criticizes him for attempting a merely semantic resolution of the tension between the social and the biological, and sketches an alternative approach that builds upon his substantial insights.
In this surprising book, Allan V. Horwitz argues that our current conceptions of mental illness as a disease fit only a small number of serious psychological conditions and that most conditions currently regarded as mental illness are cultural constructions, normal reactions to stressful social circumstances, or simply forms of deviant behavior.
This chapter offers a novel defence of Szasz’s claim that mental illness is a myth by bringing to bear a standard type of thought experiment used in philosophical discussions of the meaning of natural kind concepts. This makes it possible to accept Szasz’s conclusion that mental illness involves problems of living, some of which may be moral in nature, while bypassing the debate about the meaning of the concept of illness. The chapter then considers the nature of schizophrenia and the (...) personality disorders (PDs) within this framework. It argues that neither is likely to constitute a scientifically valid category, but that nonetheless their symptoms can be scientifically explained. It concludes with a discussion of the way in which Cluster B or ‘bad’ PDs involve failures of virtue or character, and argues that this does not preclude them from being appropriately treated within contemporary, multidisciplinary, mental health services. (shrink)
In ?Some Myths about ?Mental Illness'? (Inquiry, Vol. 18 , No. 3), Michael Moore attempts to clarify and refute what he takes to be the radical (existential) position concerning the nature and diagnosis of mental illness. Moore's dissatisfaction with certain formulations and conceptualizations of the radical position is endorsed; as also the need to introduce greater rigor and precision into the discussion of mental illness. But Moore's clarifications are really misunderstandings and, in consequence, his refutations do not succeed. Moore's five?fold (...) interpretative classification of the radical thesis is retained. (shrink)
Many of the world’s mental health acts, including all Australian legislation, allow for the coercive detention and treatment of people with mental illnesses if they are deemed likely to harm themselves or others. Numerous authors have argued that legislated powers to impose coercive treatment in psychiatric illness should pivot on the presence or absence of capacity not likely harm, but no Australian act uses this criterion. In this paper, I add a novel element to these arguments by comparing the use (...) of the harm to others justification for coercive treatment in mental illness with its use in illness due to infectious disease, and suggest a double standard applies. People with mental illness are subjected to coercive treatments at levels of risk to others far, far lower than would precipitate coercive treatment in people with influenza. In effect, this element of mental health legislation represents an example of sanism—state-sanctioned discrimination against people with mental illnesses. (shrink)
At this point in time, it is hard to say which consequences for the concept of mental illness result from modern genetics. Current research projects are trying to find significant statistical correlations between the diagnosis of a disease and a gene locus or an endophenotype. Up until now, there has not been any identification of alleles or mutations causing mental illness. In the meantime, the relations between the genetic basis and the disease are given the term genetic vulnerability as a (...) placeholder; this concept simplifies the complex relations between the DNA and even the simplest cell functions observed in modern genetics. According to complex gene models like the systemic theory of DNA, it will not be possible to identify the genetic factors without a precise knowledge of the factors which modulate the gene expression. The significance of genetics as part of the concept of mental illness will not be able to be defined without further progress in developmental biology and psychology. Currently, psychological theory fails to acknowledge the complexity of the relationship between the DNA and the environment. Some starting points from which to develop such an understanding can be received from developmental studies and studies of the psychophylogenesis . An interdisciplinary concept of the biological basis of the psyche is needed. (shrink)
In considering the argument that Thomas Szasz advances on behalf of his claim that there is no mental illness, it becomes evident that despite his stated assumptions, moral valuations are necessarily tied up with assessment of disease. By following his remarks about differential diagnosis, it becomes evident that behavior is the occasion for differential diagnosis, that behavior determines which anatomical deviations are counted as diseases, and that Szasz's insistence on autonomy introduces his own moral assumptions into the concept of disease. (...) Consequently, although none of these considerations disproves Szasz's conclusions about the existence of mental illness, neither can his argument support the weight of that conclusion. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Over the past 60 years Thomas Szasz (1960, 1961, 2008) has forcefully argued that mental illnesses are mythical since all medical diseases are located in the body and, thus, have somatic causes. This has been accompanied by a scathing and coruscating critique of the whole mental health profession?particularly, those psychologists, psychiatrists and psychotherapists who collude in and exploit the alleged mythology of counterfeit mental disorders and often (unwittingly or deliberately) justify coercion, oppression and pharmacological manipulation of so-called ?mental patients? in (...) the name of ?treatments?. Since mindfulness practitioners?perhaps especially teachers of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction and related programmes?may, by association, be partially implicated in Szasz's allegations, this article seeks to explore and examine the implications for theory and practice in the field. It will be suggested that the strong foundational, theoretical, research and teaching bases of mindfulness-based interventions offer practitioners a solid defence against the general critique offered by Szasz, and more specific challenges advanced by critics such as Boysen (2007) and Whitaker (2010). However, there may still be potential pitfalls for those mindfulness-based interventions which are too closely allied to the psychiatric/pscychotheraputic establishment, and some suggestions for avoiding such obstacles will be offered through recommendations for maintaining connections between mindfulness and its Buddhist origins. (shrink)
Background Non-therapeutic trials in which terminally ill cancer patients are asked to undergo procedures such as biopsies or venipunctures for research purposes, have become increasingly important to learn more about how cancer cells work and to realize the full potential of clinical research. Considering that implementing non-therapeutic studies is not likely to result in direct benefits for the patient, some authors are concerned that involving patients in such research may be exploitive of vulnerable patients and should not occur at all, (...) or should be greatly restricted, while some proponents doubt whether such restrictions are appropriate. Our objective was to explore clinician-researcher attitudes and concerns when recruiting patients who are in advanced stages of cancer into non-therapeutic research. Methods We conducted a qualitative exploratory study by carrying out open-ended interviews with health professionals, including physicians, research nurses, and study coordinators. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed. Analysis was carried out using grounded theory. Results The analysis of the interviews unveiled three prominent themes: 1) ethical considerations; 2) patient-centered issues; 3) health professional issues. Respondents identified ethical issues surrounding autonomy, respect for persons, beneficence, non-maleficence, discrimination, and confidentiality; bringing to light that patients contribute to science because of a sense of altruism and that they want reassurance before consenting. Several patient-centered and health professional issues are having an impact on the recruitment of patients for non-therapeutic research. Facilitators were most commonly associated with patient-centered issues enhancing communication, whereas barriers in non-therapeutic research were most often professionally based, including the doctor-patient relationship, time constraints, and a lack of education and training in research. Conclusions This paper aims to contribute to debates on the overall challenges of recruiting patients to non-therapeutic research. This exploratory study identified general awareness of key ethical issues, as well as key facilitators and barriers to the recruitment of patients to non-therapeutic studies. Due to the important role played by clinicians and clinician-researchers in the recruitment of patients, it is essential to facilitate a greater understanding of the challenges faced; to promote effective communication; and to encourage educational research training programs. (shrink)
With the case of Belgium as a negative example, this paper will evaluate the legitimacy of using mentally incompetents as organ sources. The first section examines the underlying moral dilemma that results from the necessity of balancing the principle of respect for persons with the obligation to help people in desperate need. We argue for the rejection of a radical utilitarian approach but also question the appropriateness of a categorical prohibition. Section two aims to strike a fair balance between (...) the competing interests at stake and to define the conditions under which organ harvest from mentally incompetents might be morally acceptable. To this end, we morally assess the main requirements that have been put forward to allow organ removal from incompetent donors. We conclude that the current Belgian legislation is far too permissive and that national regulations that do not permit the harvest of non-regenerable organs from mentally incompetents in exceptional circumstances are too restrictive. On the basis of this discussion, we propose a number of guiding principles for decision-making in this area. (shrink)
This dissertation examines psychiatry from a philosophy of science perspective, focusing on issues of realism and classification. Questions addressed in the dissertation include: What evidence is there for the reality of mental disorders? Are any mental disorders natural kinds? When are disease explanations of abnormality warranted? How should mental disorders be classified? -/- In addressing issues concerning the reality of mental disorders, I draw on the accounts of realism defended by Ian Hacking and William Wimsatt, arguing that biological research on (...) mental disorders supports the inference that some mental disorders (e.g., schizophrenia, mood disorders, and anxiety disorders) are real theoretical entities, and that the evidence supporting this inference is causal and abductive. In explicating the nature of such entities, I argue that real mental disorders are natural kinds insofar as they are natural classes of abnormal behavior whose members share the same causal structure. I present this position in terms of Richard Boyd’s homeostatic cluster property theory of natural kinds, and argue that this perspective reveals limitations of Hacking’s account on the looping effects of human kinds, which suggests that the objects classified by psychiatrists are unstable entities. I subsequently argue that a subset of mental disorders (e.g., schizophrenia and Down syndrome) are mental illnesses insofar as they are disorders caused by a dysfunctional biological process that leads to harmful consequences for individuals. I present this analysis against Thomas Szasz’s argument that mental illness is a myth. -/- In addressing issues of psychiatric classification, my analysis focuses on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which has been published regularly by the American Psychiatric Association since 1952, and is currently in its fourth edition. After examining the history of DSM in the twentieth century, and in particular, DSM’s shift to an atheoretical and purely descriptive system in the 1980s, I consider the relative merits of descriptive versus causal systems of classification. Drawing on Carl Hempel’s analysis of taxonomic systems in psychiatry, I argue that a causal classification system would provide a superior approach to psychiatric classification than the descriptive system currently favored by DSM. (shrink)
The effects of mental disorder are apparent and pervasive, in suffering, loss of freedom and life opportunities, negative impacts on education, work satisfaction and productivity, complications in law, institutions of healthcare, and more. With a new edition of the 'bible' of psychiatric diagnosis - the DSM - under developmental, it is timely to take a step back and re-evalutate exactly how we diagnose and define mental disorder. This new book by Derek Bolton tackles the problems involved in the definition and (...) boundaries of mental disorder. It addresses two main questions regarding mental illness. Firstly, what is the basis of the standards or norms by which we judge that a person has a mental disorder - that the person's mind is not working as it should, that their mental functioning is abnormal? Controversies about these questions have been dominated by the contrast between norms that are medical, scientific or natural, on the one hand, and social norms on the other. The norms that define mental disorder seem to belong to psychiatry, to be medical and scientific, but are they really social norms, hijacked and disguised by the medical profession? Secondly, what is the validity of the distinction between mental disorder and order, between abnormal and normal mental functioning? To what extent, notwithstanding appearances, does mental disorder involve meaningful reactions and problem-solving? These responses may be to normal problems of living, or to not so normal problems - to severe psycho-social challenges. Is there after all order in mental disorder? With the closing of asylums and the appearance of care in the community, mental disorder is now in our midst. While attempts have been made to define clearly a concept of mental disorder that is truly medical as opposed to social, there is increasing evidence that such a distinction is unviable - there is no clear line between what is normal in the population and what is abnormal. 'What is Mental Disorder?' reviews these various crucial developments and their profound impact for the concept and its boundaries in a provocative and timely book. (shrink)
In this article some of the presuppositions that underly the current ideas about decision making capacity, autonomy and independence are critically examined. The focus is on chronic disorders, especially on chronic physical disorders. First, it is argued that the concepts of decision making competence and autonomy, as they are usually applied to the problem of legal (in)competence in the mentally ill, need to be modified and adapted to the situation of the chronically (physically) ill. Second, it is argued that (...) autonomy and dependence must not be considered as two mutually exclusive categories. It is suggested that decision making may take on the form of a more or less conscious decision not to be involved in making all kinds of explicit and deliberate decisions. Elaborating on Agich's distinction between ideal and actual autonomy, the concept of Socratic autonomy is introduced. (shrink)
Since psychiatry remains a descriptive discipline, it is essential for its practitioners to understand how the language of psychiatry came to be formed. This important book, written by a psychiatrist-historian, traces the genesis of the descriptive categories of psychopathology and examines their interaction with the psychological and philosophical context within which they arose. The author explores particularly the language and ideas that have characterised descriptive psychopathology from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day. He presents a masterful survey of the (...) history of the main psychiatric symptoms, from the metaphysics of classical antiquity to the operational criteria of today. Tracing the evolution of concepts such as memory, consciousness, will and personality, and of symptoms ranging from catalepsy and aboulia to anxiety and self-harm, this book provides fascinating insights into the subjective nature of mental illness, and into the ideas of British, Continental and American authorities who sought to clarify and define it. (shrink)
Divided Staffs, Divided Selves offers a case-centered approach to the teaching of health care ethics to a wide range of students and clinicians. The book provides both clinical case material and a method for engaging in a dialogue regarding difficult decisions in the mental health care field that have potentially tragic choices. The essays that introduce the volume place the ethical problems of treating mentally ill people in the context of the health care ethics movement and traditions of ethical (...) decision making. The individual cases are real, derived from actual clinical and consultative experiences. (shrink)
We argue that cognitive empathy and other instances of mental state attribution are a byproduct of self-awareness. Evidence is brought to bear on this proposition from comparative psychology, early child development, neuropsychology, and abnormal behavior.
A psychologist with a client who is terminally ill and wishes to discuss end-of-life options, specifically the option of hastening death, is faced with an ethical dilemma as to how to proceed with treatment. Specifically, he or she is bound by the American Psychological Association's (2002) potentially conflicting Principles A and E, which advise a psychologist to ?do no harm? as well as ?respect ? self-determination.? In addition, Standard 4 (Privacy and Confidentiality) mandates that a client's personal information is to (...) remain private, unless that client could be in danger of harming himself or herself or others. This article discusses such a nuanced case and provides considerations as well as guidelines for psychologists to effectively navigate through this sensitive and important dilemma. (shrink)
This paper argues for psychological realism in the conception of psychiatric disorders. We review the following contemporary ways of understanding the future of psychiatry: (1) psychiatric classification cannot be successfully reduced to neurobiology, and thus psychiatric disorders should not be conceived of as biological kinds; (2) psychiatric classification can be successfully reduced to neurobiology, and thus psychiatric disorders should be conceived of as biological kinds. Position (1) can lead either to instrumentalism or to eliminativism about psychiatry, depending on whether psychiatric (...) classification is regarded as useful. Position (2), which is inspired by the growing interest in neuroscience within scientific psychiatry, leads to biological realism or essentialism. In this paper we endorse a different realist position, which we label psychological realism. Psychiatric disorders are identified and addressed on the basis of their psychological manifestations which are often described as violations of epistemic, moral or social norms. A couple of examples are proposed by reference to the pathological aspects of delusions, and the factors contributing to their formation. (shrink)
Democracy has difficulties with the rights on non-voters (children, the mentally ill, foreigners etc). Democratic leaders have sometimes acted ethically, contrary to the wishes of voters, e.g. in accepting refugees as immigrants.
In 1951, entomologist Jay Traver published in the Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington her personal experiences with a mite infestation of her scalp that resisted all treatment and was undetectable to anyone other than herself. Traver is recognized as having suffered from Delusory Parasitosis: her paper shows her to be a textbook case of the condition. The Traver paper is unique in the scientific literature in that its conclusions may be based on data that was unconsciously fabricated by (...) the author’s mind. The paper may merit retraction on the grounds of error or even scientific misconduct “by reason of insanity,” but such a retraction raises the issue of discrimination against the mentally ill. This article asks what responsibilities journals have when faced with delusions disguised as science, what right editors have to question the sanity of an author, and what should be done about the Traver paper itself. By placing higher emphasis on article content than author identity, scientific integrity is maintained and a balance is struck between avoiding discrimination against the mentally ill and not preventing patients from seeking needed treatment. (shrink)
When laws or legal principles mention mental states such as intentions to form a contract, knowledge of risk, or purposely causing a death, what parts of the brain are they speaking about? We argue here that these principles are tacitly directed at our prefrontal executive processes. Our current best theories of consciousness portray it as a workspace in which executive processes operate, but what is important to the law is what is done with the workspace content rather than the content (...) itself. This makes executive processes more important to the law than consciousness, since they are responsible for channeling conscious decision-making into intentions and actions, or inhibiting action.We provide a summary of the current state of our knowledge about executive processes, which consists primarily of information about which portions of the prefrontal lobes perform which executive processes. Then we describe several examples in which legal principles can be understood as tacitly singling out executive processes, including principles regarding defendants’ intentions or plans to commit crimes and their awareness that certain facts are the case(for instance, that a gun is loaded), as well as excusatory principles which result in lesser responsibility for those who are juveniles, mentally ill, sleepwalking, hypnotized, or who suffer from psychopathy. (shrink)
Psychiatry is plagued with philosophical questions. What is a mental illness? Is it different from brain disease? Is there any objective way of determining whether behaviors such as criminal activity are mental illnesses? Should we explain "abnormal" behavior by reference to psychological forces, learning processes, social factors, or disease processes? This book aspires to answer these and other questions. Broadly divided into two halves, the first analyzes the arguments of psychiatry's critics and covers the philosophical ideas of such thinkers as (...) Freud, Eysenck, Laing, Szasz, Sedgewick, and Foucault. The second aims to provide a resolution to the problems raised in the first half by establishing a philosophical defense of the theory and practice of psychiatry. Dr. Reznek's stimulating work is the first to provide a comprehensive philosophical account of the main issues in psychiatry, including free will and responsibility, the excusing power of mental illness, and involuntary hospitalization. (shrink)
Most recent thinking about thevulnerability of research subjects uses a``subpopulation'' focus. So conceived, theproblem is to work out special standards forprisoners, pregnant women, the mentally ill,children, and similar groups. In contrast, an``analytical'' approach would identifycharacteristics that are criteria forvulnerability. Using these criteria, one couldsupport a judgment that certain individuals arevulnerable and identify needed accommodationsif they are to serve as research subjects.Seven such characteristics can be evident inchildren: they commonly lack the capacity tomake mature decisions; they are subject to theauthority (...) of others; they (and their parents)may be deferential in ways that can maskunderlying dissent; their rights and interestsmay be socially undervalued; they may haveacute medical conditions requiring immediatedecisions not consistent with informed consent;they may have serious medical conditions thatcannot be effectively treated; and they (andtheir parents) may lack important sociallydistributed goods. Each of thesevulnerabilities can call for special care inthe design and implementation of researchprotocols. (shrink)
Sometimes the mentally ill have sufficient mental capacity to refuse treatment competently, and others have a moral duty to respect their refusal. However, those with episodic mental disorders may wish to precommit themselves to treatment, using Ulysses contracts known as “mental health advance directives.” How can health care providers justify enforcing such contracts over an agent’s current, competent refusal? I argue that providers respect an agent’s autonomy not retrospectively—by reference to his or her past wishes—and not merely synchronically—so that (...) the agent gets what he or she wants right now—but diachronically and prospectively, acting so that the agent can shape his or her circumstances as the agent wishes over time, for the agent will experience the consequences of providers’ actions over time. Mental health directives accomplish this, so they are a way of respecting the agent’s autonomy even when providers override the agent’s current competent refusal. (shrink)
Twenty years ago, the biopsychosocial model was proposed by George Engel to be the new paradigm for medicine and psychiatry. The model assumed a hierarchical structure of the biological, psychological and social system and simple interactions between the participating systems. This article holds the thesis that the original biopsychosocial model cannot depict psychiatry's reality and problems. The clinical validity of the biopsychosocial model has to be questioned. It is argued that psychiatric interventions can only stimulate but not determine their target (...) systems, because intervention and outcome are only loosely coupled. Thus, psychiatric interventions have in principle limited ranges which differ according to the type of intervention and according to the system to be stimulated. Psychosocial interventions face far more obstacles to be overcome than psychopharmacogical therapy. (shrink)
The traditional legal verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity as well as the more recent verdict of guilty but mentally ill rest on often unquestioned epistemological assumptions about human behavior and its causes, unjustified reliance on forensic psychiatrists, and questionable, if not deplorable ethical standards. This paper offers a critique of legal perspectives on insanity, historical and current, based on the altermative epistemological and ethical assumptions of Thomas S. Szasz. In addition, we examine Szasz''s unique rhetorical analysis (...) of mental illness and its implications for forensic psychiatry. (shrink)