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Rated: E · Essay · Psychology · #1996301
A social commentary pertaining to mental healthcare.
Regarding schizophrenia, as well as other mental “disorders,” there is an opinion prevalent in psychiatry that these are “organic brain diseases.”  In fact, modern science, and more specifically, technology, has allowed us to find biological markers of said mental illnesses.  Now, it is even known that schizophrenia has its own gene, which scientists have positively identified. 

My contention to the biomedical model of psychiatry is not a scientific one.  Rather, I argue, that schizophrenia is a societal disease because the practice of treating this and other like diseases employs the use of confinement, for which the law is a means to treatment.  Furthermore, there are more men and women receiving treatment, for mental illness, in jails than in psychiatric hospitals.  These uses of confinement are evidence of the misappropriation of resources, which we are to regard as pertinent to a “medical” practice.

Why might the debate regarding the nature of mental illness be so important?  Is it to develop a better way of treating mental disease?  No!  In fact, the reason we must carefully examine this socio political issue is because the mental health system is one of the best examples of the exploitation of the dispossessed.  Governmental policy and law regarding mental health care is used as a conduit for class warfare.

Modern psychiatry was born out of a mass confinement which took place in the seventeenth century.  At that time beggars, prostitutes, and many others could be put away in institutions whose purpose was to detain those deemed unfit for society.  Our system now, is not so removed from this first large scale attack on the less fortunate. 

Time has allowed for there to be much advancement in the treatment of mental illness.  And our psychiatric hospitals do treat their residents with some care and respect.  However, these “steps forward” are in my eyes, deceptive, and underhanded.  There is now, no real disappearance or decline of mental disorder.  Rather, psychiatry, seemingly, would rather expend its energies towards casting a larger net to entangle more and more people into the mental health system.

In mental health care, profits trump science, and the people paying the price for the proliferation of a failed medical practice are tax payers, and those deemed mentally ill.  We are all being exploited by a mega industry, which willfully disregards the law, disregards the well being of persons in need of support and care, and disregards the sanctity of freedom.

What is needed now isn’t a new pill that will rake in billions of dollars for pharmaceutical companies.  And it’s not research into the nature of mental illness. 

Mental illness is not inherently a societal problem the way it is perceived in the developed world.  Our’s is a toxic society which incites retribution from vulnerable persons.  Resolution to the mental health crisis will come as part of a larger shift, which will take power away from mega corporations, and put it in the hands of the people. 

As long as mega billion dollar corporations can manipulate government officials so that they may profit by injustice in society, there will continue to be an epidemic of mental illness.  And we will all pay for such injustice, literally and metaphorically. 
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