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NEW PSYCH 515 Week 1 DQ 4 .pdf

Original filename: NEW PSYCH 515 Week 1 DQ 4.pdf
Title: PSYCH 515 Week 1 DQ 4
Author: Dheerender

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NEW PSYCH 515 Week 1 DQ 4
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Alternative Perspective on Mental Illness
Theoretical perspectives can influence the labels that are
used to describe the individuals that clinicians treat. Many
psychologists prefer to call the people they treat clients
instead of patients because the term patient has a sick
connotation. Likewise, some clinicians prefer to treat
problems in living rather than mental illnesses or mental
disorders. While these terms might seem like mere
semantic distinctions, they have political and sociocultural
implications. One label that is often used in the treatment
of severe mental disorders is that of disease. I find it
important to remember that the disease perspective is but
one perspective among other competing models. Some
theorists and clinicians would argue against this
perspective, or at least delimit some disorders to the
realm of disease (e.g., dementia) and others to realm of
behavioral disorders (e.g., ADHD). Once upon a time, many
years ago, my psychopharmacology professor (an MD
psychiatrist) made the comment that, many clinicians
treat anxiety as if it was a Valium deficiency. Fast
forwarding to the current day, perhaps we can say that
depression is frequently treated as if it was a Prozac (or
Pristiq) deficiency. My point is this: When medical

treatments are used to treat mental disorders, these
disorders are easily classified as medical diseases. This
reminds me of a saying: If the only tool you have is a
hammer, you go about treating all problems as if they
were nails. For a very provocative 'classic' anti-medical
establishment perspective on mental illness, you might
want to consider reading the book The Myth of Mental
Illness by Thomas Szasz, MD. My intention in sharing this
perspective is not to promote it, but rather to expand your
perception about how labels are a natural extension of a
particular theoretical orientation, which has major
implications for how we view and treat people with
abnormal behavior. Here is a brief video excerpt of Dr.
Szasz presenting his ideas. On a personal note, I had the
honor of accompanying Dr. Szasz from the Philadelphia
airport to my undergraduate college, where he gave a talk.
On September 8, 2012, he died at the age of 92.

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