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The Stigma Against Mental Health

Anti-stigma arguments usually begin with a hat’s off to the biological medical model of psychiatry. This is to say, you’ve got people rationalizing that we’ve got all these ‘chronic cases’ here, and as full recovery is out of the question, we should treat people ‘branded’ with these disorders a little better. Hopelessness aside, we will offer them a little smile, and the false hopes of illusory accomplishments, and a few bandaged meager achievements. A good sort of thing for someone in your condition, a condition that suggests this person can’t be expected to perform at an optimal level.

The first question to be asked involves who is the primary beneficiary of this argument. Easy one, the drug companies are the people who are profiting most from the ‘non-recovery’ of ‘functionality’ that this approach entails. “Medication management” as it is called, or the ‘managing of symptoms” through psychiatric drug abuse, often has a lot to do with why people don’t lose those ‘serious mental illness’ labels it is said they have developed.

The biological medical model of psychiatry in fact plays a very large part in any drug company’s pitch these days. When the ‘mental illness’ is a permanent condition, the only workable solution is to drug the symptoms of that condition into somnolence. If the ‘mental illness’ rate rises, you’ve got more people, permanently disabled, who can only control those symptoms through a periodic chemical fix.

What these pitches don’t explain so much is that the chemical fix itself can be physically, and to a certain extent, mentally disabling. The ‘disease’ is to blame, the ‘disease’ is the problem, and the drug is the ‘solution’. Heaven forbid the panacea of psychiatry being construed as that part of the problem that it actually is. You are not ‘enabling’ ‘disabled’ people by further ‘disabling’ them.

You don’t get people with permanent psychiatric conditions that haven’t first learned that they have permanent psychiatric conditions. This kind of compulsory mis-education requires some sort of re-education before people make any kind of improvement whatsoever, and this is not the kind of thing you are going to get by reinforcing the mental illness excuse with the stigma illusion. The stigma argument indeed must embody
an entire chapter at least in the textbook on having a permanent psychiatric condition.

Let’s see some textbooks that don’t involve fatalistically abandoning one’s ‘functionality’ to the scrap heap of history. The “I think I can’t” mentality of the clinical psychiatric environment has a way of proliferating itself, and maybe if there were other theories afloat, you’d have a few more positive outcomes in a few more places. I would like to see textbooks that teach people that they don’t have a permanent psychiatric condition. I think some of the people who had digested these textbooks might be able to make something of their lives. I think maybe a few of these people might be able to accomplish things that would have people talking for years to come.