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...