branch of medicine devoted to the study, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention, of mental disorders
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Psychiatry is the medical specialty devoted to the study, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental disorders, among which are affective, behavioural, cognitive and perceptual abnormalities.
- All schizophrenia patients are mad, and none are sane. Their behaviour is incomprehensible. It tells us nothing about what they do in the rest of their lives, gives no insight into the human condition and has no lesson for sane people except how sane they are. There's nothing profound about it. Schizophrenics aren't clever or wise or witty — they may make some very odd remarks but that's because they're mad, and there's nothing to be got out of what they say. When they laugh at things the rest of us don't think are funny, like the death of a parent, they're not being penetrating, and on other occasions they're not wryly amused at the simplicity and stupidity of the psychiatrist, however well justified that might be in many cases. They're laughing because they're mad, too mad to be able to tell what's funny any more. The rewards for being sane may not be very many but knowing what's funny is one of them. And that's an end of the matter.
- Kingsley Amis, Stanley and the Women, p. 147.
- Not only psychiatry itself but also the values reflected in its statistical definition of “normalcy” serve to condition men to habitual, unthinking, conformist behavior.
- Benjamin R. Barber, “Forced to be Free: An Illiberal Defense of Liberty,” Superman and Common Men (New York: 1971), pp. 68-69
- The self must be a tense bow. It must struggle with opposites rather than harmonize them, rather than turn the tension over to the great instruments of last manhood—the skilled bow unbenders and Jesuits of our days, the psychiatrists, who, in the same spirit and as part of the same conspiracy of modernity as the peace virtuosos, reduce conflict.
- I can't stand feeble, robotic psychiatrists. They give you false drugs and turn you into a zombie.
- Ian Brady, as quoted in Evening Standard, Tue 25 June 2013, pp.1-4
- Most people with mental disorders in China never receive treatment. There is often a stigma attached to such ailments. Some think that people with psychiatric conditions are possessed by evil spirits. Many see mental disorders as a sign of weakness, and regard them as socially contagious: a relative of someone with a serious disorder may find it hard to marry. Families sometimes have their kin treated far away to hide the “shame” of their condition, or keep them hidden at home. Even many medical students worry that those working with psychiatric patients risk catching their disease, says Xu Ni of “It Gets Brighter”, a mental-health NGO in Beijing.
- You know, if you get treated like a patient, you're apt to act like one.
- Frances Farmer, This Is Your Life television program, January 29, 1958, speaking about her incarcerations in psychiatric institutions.
- Modern man no longer communicates with the madman … There is no common language: or rather, it no longer exists; the constitution of madness as mental illness, at the end of the eighteenth century, bears witness to a rupture in a dialogue, gives the separation as already enacted, and expels from the memory all those imperfect words, of no fixed syntax, spoken falteringly, in which the exchange between madness and reason was carried out. The language of psychiatry, which is a monologue by reason about madness, could only have come into existence in such a silence.
- Michel Foucault, Madness and Civilization, preface to the 1961 edition
- Many psychiatrists and psychologists refuse to entertain the idea that society as a whole may be lacking in sanity. They hold that the problem of mental health in a society is only that of the number of ‘unadjusted’ individuals, and not of a possible unadjustment of the culture itself.
- Erich Fromm, The Sane Society
- Randle McMurphy: They, uh, was givin' me 10,000 watts a day, you know, and I'm hot to trot. The next woman who takes me out is gonna light up like a pinball machine and pay off in silver dollars.
- Nurse Ratched: If Mr. McMurphy doesn't want to take his medication orally, I'm sure we can arrange that he can have it some other way.
- Chief Bromden: Mac, they said you escaped. I knew you wouldn't leave without me. I was waiting for you. Now we can make it, Mac. I feel big as a damn mountain. [sees the lobotomy scars] Oh, no. [suffocating McMurphy] I'm not goin' without you, Mac. I wouldn't leave you this way. You're coming with me. [laying him down] Let's go.
- Freud pointed out, in his Problem of Lay Analysis, that it is extremely unlikely that a young man who would throw the best years of his life into the cloistered drudgery of getting an M.D. degree, could possibly make a good psychoanalyst; so he preferred to look for young analysts among the writers, the lawyers, the mothers of families, those who had chosen human contact. But in their economic wisdom, the Psychoanalytic Institute of Vienna (and New York) overruled him.
- Paul Goodman, Growing up Absurd (1956), pp. 145-146
- Every time [psychiatry] comes across a natural act that is contrary to the prevailing conventions, it brands this act as a symptom of mental derangement or abnormality.
- René Guyon, as cited in The Manufacture of Madness: A Comparative Study of the Inquisition and the Mental Health Movement (1997), Thomas Szasz, p. 167
- Television has done much for psychiatry by spreading information about it, as well as contributing to the need for it.
- Our enemies are less than twelve men. They are members of the Bank of England and other higher financial circles. They own and control newspaper chains and they, oddly enough, run all the mental health groups in the world that had sprung up […]. Their apparent programme was to use mental health, which is to say psychiatric electric shock and pre-frontal lobotomy, to remove from their path any political dissenters […]. These fellows have gotten nearly every government in the world to owe them considerable quantities of money through various chicaneries and they control, of course, income tax, government finance — [Harold] Wilson, for instance, the current Premier of England, is totally involved with these fellows and talks about nothing else actually.
- L. Ron Hubbard Ron's Journal '67 (RJ67)
- Psychiatry and psychiatrist are easily redefined to mean 'an antisocial enemy of the people.' This takes the kill-crazy psychiatrist off the preferred list of professions. This is a good use of the technique [of redefining words] as for a century the psychiatrist has been setting an all-time record for inhumanity to Man
- L. Ron Hubbard HCOPL (5 October 71) Propaganda by Redefinition of Words.
- The psychiatrist unfailingly recognizes the madman by his excited behavior on being incarcerated.
- Nowadays lunatic doctors and other laymen talk a steady stream of nonsense about homosexuality. In the course of these events it has become customary to divide homosexuals into two classes—those who cannot be anything but homosexuals, and those who can. Having made this distinction, those who can’t be anything at all—that is, our guardians of law and morality— then distribute compassion and contempt among them. In due time — anywhere from 129 to 175 years from now — mankind with probably rise to the dizzying heights of declaring that “congenital” homosexuals are sick, and will insist on forgiving them; and that “acquired” homosexuals are sinful, and will continue to persecute them with the coercions of criminal law, the contempt of society, and the curse of blackmail. Of course, I leave the methods for making this distinction to the psychiatric executioners.
- As the LSD began to take effect, I suddenly said … : ’Every Psychiatrist, every psychoanalyst should be forced to take LSD in order to know what is over here.’ What I meant was that anybody who has anything to do with the human mind and care should be trained in these spaces.
- John Lily Center of the Cyclone: Looking into Inner Space p.10
- The popular medical formulation of morality that goes back to Ariston of Chios, "virtue is the health of the soul," would have to be changed to become useful, at least to read: "your virtue is the health of your soul." For there is no health as such, and all attempts to define a thing that way have been wretched failures. Even the determination of what is healthy for your body depends on your goal, your horizon, your energies, your impulses, your errors, and above all on the ideals and phantasms of your soul. Thus there are innumerable healths of the body; and the more we allow the unique and incomparable to raise its head again, and the more we abjure the dogma of the "equality of men," the more must the concept of a normal health, along with a normal diet and the normal course of an illness, be abandoned by medical men. Only then would the time have come to reflect on the health and illness of the soul, and to find the peculiar virtue of each man in the health of his soul.
- Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, § 120 “Health of the Soul”
- Finally, the great question would still remain whether we can really dispense with illness—even for the sake of our virtue—and whether our thirst for knowledge and self-knowledge in particular does not require the sick soul as much as the healthy, and whether, in brief, the will to health alone, is not a prejudice, cowardice, and perhaps a bit of very subtle barbarism and backwardness.
- Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, § 120 “Health of the Soul”
- Kathryn Raily: What we say is the truth is what everybody accepts. ... I mean, psychiatry: it's the latest religion. We decide what's right and wrong. We decide who's crazy or not. I'm in trouble here. I'm losing my faith.
- David Peoples and Janet Peoples, 12 Monkeys, (December 29, 1995).
- So when you call up that shrink in Beverly Hills—
- Criticism should not be focused on Nazi Germany alone but extend beyond to include physicians in democratic countries, as well. Physicians outside Germany before the war, in the United States in particular were well aware of the evolving racist thrust of the health care system. They chose to remain silent.
- William E. Seidelman (1992). Quoted in, The War Against Children of Color: Psychiatry Targets Inner-City Youth (1998), Peter R. Breggin, M.D., Common Courage Press, Monroe, Maine, ISBN 1567511279 ISBN 1567511260 ( 2002 ed., ISBN 1567511260 ISBN 9781567511260 ch. 7, Condemned by Science: The Role of Psychiatry in the Holocaust, p. 124. 
- If we see [our lives] from the outside, as the influence and popular dissemination of the social sciences and psychiatry has persuaded more and more people to do, we view ourselves as instances of generalities, and in so doing become profoundly and painfully alienated from our own experience and our humanity.
- Susan Sontag, “On Style,” Against Interpretation, p. 29
- In the nineteenth century, ... official Western medicine recognized drapetomania, the tendency of slaves to run away from their owners, as a disease. ... With hindsight, drapetomania is easily dismissed as a harmful fabrication of fictitious disease, in a culture violating human rights. Less easy is it to recognize harmful fabrications of our own era for what they are.
- Are you sure that medicine and psychiatry are on the right track, morally and scientifically, in providing millions of person with drugs after having diagnosed them as depressed?
- Wim J. van der Steen, Vincent K. Y. Ho, Ferry J. Karmelk, Beyond Boundaries of Biomedicine: Pragmatic Perspectives on Health and Disease (2003), p. 29
- So long as men denounce each other as mentally sick (homosexual, addicted, insane, and so forth)—so that the madman can always be considered the Other, never the Self—mental illness will remain an easily exploitable concept, and Coercive Psychiatry a flourishing institution.
- Thomas Szasz, The Manufacture of Madness: A Comparative Study of the Inquisition and the Mental Health Movement (1997), p. 170
- There are two basic kinds of impersonations: those that are publicly supported and those that are not. Examples of the former are an actor playing a part in a play or a small boy playing fireman. Examples of the latter are a healthy housewife complaining of aches and pains or an unemployed carpenter claiming he is Jesus. When persons stubbornly cling to and aggressively proclaim publicly unsupported role definitions, they are called psychotic.
- Thomas Szasz, The Second Sin (New York: 1973), p. 52
- Since this is the age of science, not religion, psychiatrists are our rabbis, heroin is our pork, and the addict is the unclean person.
- Thomas Szasz, The Second Sin (New York: 1973), p. 64
- Psychiatrists look for twisted molecules and defective genes as the causes of schizophrenia, because schizophrenia is the name of a disease. If Christianity or Communism were called diseases, would they then look for the chemical and genetic “causes” of these “conditions”?
- Thomas Szasz, The Second Sin (New York: 1973), p. 102
- Mental illness is a myth. Psychiatrists are not concerned with mental illnesses and their treatments. In actual practice they deal with personal, social and ethical problems in living.