What is a “stigma”?
- A mark or characteristic indicative of a history of a disease or abnormality. [Middle English stigme, brand, from Latin stigma, stigmat-, tattoo indicating slave or criminal status, from Greek, tattoo mark, from stizein, stig-, to prick]
Is there a stigma associated with mental distress? First of all, the psychiatric manifestation known as “mental illness” is not a disease, it’s a symptom. And let’s face it, what a psychiatrist calls “abnormal” is just a label for something they don’t like.
Thomas Szasz proposed in 1960 that we view the phenomena conventionally called “mental diseases” as simply behaviors that disturb others (or oneself.)
So how do you fix disturbing behavior? Do you suppress it with drugs, involuntary commitment, restraints, surgery, or electric shock?
Or do you actually handle it by finding and treating the root cause, whatever that may be?
The campaign to “stop the stigma” of mental illness is a pharmaceutical marketing campaign.
With its seemingly altruistic sounding agenda to eliminate “stigma” the fact is the real “stigmatization” is coming from those behind this campaign — pharma, psychiatry and pharma-funded front groups such as NAMI and CHADD. For example, take NAMI’s campaign to stop the “stigma” and “end discrimination” against the mentally ill — the “Founding Sponsors” were Abbott Labs, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, Janssen, Pfizer, Novartis, SmithKline Beecham and Wyeth-Ayerst Labs.
The real stigmatization is coming from those that benefit from labeling behaviors as diseases to be “cured” or “treated” despite the complete lack of medical/biological evidence to support them.
Psychiatric labels are the stigma.
The forthcoming 2013 revision of the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) will increase the number of people in the general population diagnosed with a mental illness — but what they need is help and understanding, not labels and medication.
Fraudulent diagnoses perpetrated by the DSM obscure the role of family, drug abuse, undiagnosed and untreated medical conditions, nutritional deficiencies, stress, illiteracy, and other factors contributing to mental distress. The result is often further stigma, discrimination and social exclusion.
What shall we do about this? How about labeling jars instead of people?
CCHR: Psychiatry Labeling Kids with
Bogus ‘Mental Disorders’