We were looking at the bogus top ten myths of “mental illness” arrived at through a survey of quack (crack is too sharp a word to use in this instance) mental health experts conducted by the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD).
In my last post, we looked at the first myth regarding the label of “mental illness”, and that is the view that it is a medical condition. If it isn’t a medical condition, all sorts of explanations for such life crises the medical model would reject and dismiss again become plausible.
Myth #3: Mental illness is the result of bad parenting.
Fact: Most experts agree that a genetic susceptibility, combined with other risk factors, leads to a psychiatric disorder. In other words, mental illnesses have a physical cause.
This “genetic susceptibility” argument and research tends to fall apart upon closer examination and scrutiny. The search for the mad gene has not produced any particularly reliable data. When its “susceptibility” depends a great deal on a slew of other factors, such as bad parenting for instance, a cloud of doubt is cast over the entire “susceptibility” angle. Also, if you don’t have “susceptibility” suspect genes in 100% of the cases, the “genetic susceptibility” argument can’t be applied to those cases in which the genes are absent.
Although it would be permissible to say that so called “mental illness” is not necessarily the result of bad parenting, it would be impermissible to say that what is often referred to as “mental illness” is never the result of bad parenting.
There is a peculiarly pernicious contemporary form a child abuse that involves taking a toddler to a psychiatrist, and having that psychiatrist give the child a psychiatric label, together with a prescription for powerful psychiatric drugs, that I will be returning to in later posts. Childhood mental disturbance is an invention of rather recent date, and it is a fabrication that has wreaked havock on the overall health of a percentage of our nation’s children. Doing so, when the kid is likely to grow into a chronic psychiatric disability case, and a lifelong burden to the taxpayer, is not good parenting.
It was a running joke from my days in secondary school that we kids had driven one of our school teachers crazy. She had, as I was told, been sent to the psycho ward on account of our mischievous, disobedient, and unruly behavior. Okay, if it was possible for school students to drive their teacher crazy, it is certainly possible that parents have driven their kids mad.
The gavel comes down with a boom. “Case closed.”