Monday, August 22, 2005

Is Your Boss a Psychopath? Part III

Ok, given this more thought. See my previous post below to see what I'm talking about.

Here is where I agree with Szasz:
  1. All drugs are bad and possess the potential to change body chemistry and therefore function, permanently. They should only be taken in specific and rare cases and with consent.
  2. Psychiatry has the potential to be enslaving and labels behavior "abnormal" because the behavior makes people uncomfortable, "embaressment and disagreement" Szasz calls it but could have rational explanations. (Flapping or any self-stimulation by autistic children comes to mind. He uses the example of the lazy teen who watches TV and is living off of you and is coerced to take a med to help his behavior.) The corrollary to this is: all people have a reason for doing what they do--their reason--maybe just not ours and maybe one we don't agree with.
  3. Psychiatry removes people from responsibility for action. It has changed language to the point of absurdity.
I don't agree with Szasz here:
  1. People without a moral foundation or teaching do not naturally choose a loving way. It starts as toddlers bop their friend on the head for a toy they want. He or she must be taught a "civilized" way to get what he or she wants. He can call that coercian and enslavement if he wants but it is necessary. Examples abound of people (the Menendez brothers come to mind) who have not received this training and their first consequences are in the hands of law enforcement officials. This is not an ideal way for society to develop.
  2. Moral foundations don't fall from the sky. They come from somewhere. My friend who espouses libertarian views disagreed with me about this as would Szasz. I asked him why he didn't kill his neighbor who bugged him (assuming there is no law to stop this). He said "I'm a nice guy." Yeah, but what if you decide not to be a nice guy? Who makes the rule and defines killing as bad? It isn't in the animal kingdom. Animals are not confined by "morality" per se but by natural law and survival. Our morality is informed by our Judeo-Christian background plain and simple. Otherwise why would murder be bad? There must be agreement about socially acceptable behavior. Are we to assume that without this moral law, given by God in my opinion, humans would come to this agreement by consensus?No, in the absence of belief people create their own. Liberia comes to mind as to what happens without adherence to a moral law. Superstition and ignorance abound--there is no teaching to counteract the "natural" impulses. C.S. Lewis has lots to say on this idea. Now, I do agree with him.
Basically, society has changed. With the advent of psychiatry, determining "bad" behavior has been removed from the religious and moral miliu and into the "mental illness" arena. The notion that behavior is a result of free will as opposed to funky biochemistry will get you tarred and feathered in certain places.

Look at how language has changed to make us feel better:

gluttony=eating disorder
vanity=tanning bed syndrome (I kid you not, it's in the DSM)
faithlessness=obsessive-compulsive disorder
murderous rage=insanity
talking to yourself=hallucinations
double minded=multiple personality disorder or manic-depressive disorder
prideful=narcissist personality disorder
shy=social anxiety disorder

I have clients who talk about "my depression" with the same pride they describe their BMW. They proudly show their meds to me as if to say, "See? My pain is REAL!" Something is wrong here.

We have become slaves to diagnosis which are just words that remove responsibility for states we can change (in Christianity the word repent simply means change).
More blogs about the woodlands rita.