Mental Health Diagnoses Are Sometimes Politically-Motivated
Many psychologists and psychiatrists are good people, who are only trying to help their patients.
Soviet psychiatrists famously aided Stalin in applying fake insanity diagnoses to political dissenters. The official explanation was that no sane person would declaim the Soviet government and Communism.
American psychologists created the American program of torture which was specially-crafted to produce false confessions to justify U.S. military policy. And see this.
And authoritarian American psychologists are eager to label anyone u201Ctaking a cynical stance toward politics, mistrusting authority, endorsing democratic practices, … and displaying an inquisitive, imaginative outlooku201D as worthy of a trip to the insane asylum. (Those traits may also get one labeled as a potential terrorist.)
As prominent forensic psychiatrist James Knoll — psychiatry professor at SUNY-Syracuse and director of a forensic fellowship program — writes in the Psychiatric Times:
When psychiatric science becomes co-opted by a political agenda, an unhealthy alliance may be created. It is science that will always be the host organism, to be taken over by political viruses…. [P]sychiatry may come to resemble a new organism entirely — one that serves the ends of the criminal justice system.
Even psychologists with good intentions can erroneously label people delusional simply because they themselves make bad assumptions.
There is even a label for this — the u201CMartha Mitchell Effectu201D — defined as:
The process by which a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health clinician mistakes the patient's perception of real events as delusional and misdiagnoses accordingly.
The authors of a paper on this phenomenon (Bell, V., Halligan, P.W., Ellis, H.D. (2003) Beliefs About Delusions. The Psychologist, 6 (8), 418-422) conclude:
Sometimes, improbable reports are erroneously assumed to be symptoms of mental illness [due to a] failure or inability to verify whether the events have actually taken place, no matter how improbable intuitively they might appear to the busy clinician.
In other words, psychologists who haven't taken the time to examine for themselves the claims of their patients will tend to label as delusional anything which they u201Cintuitivelyu201D feel is improbable. As such, psychologists and psychiatrists are just as prone to acting out their irrational prejudices as anyone else … unless they take the time to investigate and educate themselves.
Governments Indefinitely Detaining Citizens In Psychiatric Wards Without Due Process of Law
As such, detention in psych wards on mere “suspicion” of posing a danger — without due process of law — is troubling.
For example, former marine Brandon Raub was just carted off and locked in a psychiatric ward for his allegedly “anti-government” Facebook posts.
AP reports today:
Police — acting under a state law that allows emergency, temporary psychiatric commitments upon the recommendation of a mental health professional — took Raub to the John Randolph Medical Center in Hopewell. He was not charged with any crime.
Col. Thierry Dupuis, the county police chief, said Raub was taken into custody upon the recommendation of mental health crisis intervention workers. He said the action was taken under the state’s emergency custody statute, which allows a magistrate to order the civil detention and psychiatric evaluation of a person who is considered potentially dangerous.
New York Police officer Adrian Schoolcraft was involuntarily hospitalizated in a psychiatric ward after he recorded videotapes of his fellow police officers engaging in corruption.
Claire Swinney of New Zealand was also held in a psychiatric ward and called u201Cdelusionalu201D for criticizing the government. Susan Lindauer was held under the Patriot Act for a year at Carswell Air Force Base — where psychiatric drugs were pushed on her — after she alleged government corruption.
George Washington blogs at Washington’s Blog.