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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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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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