Anti-psychiatry Movement


What is Anti-psychiatry Anyhow?


The underlying issue for the anti-psychiatry movement is that the entire psychiatric paradigm is fundamentally flawed. Adherents believe that the very constructs upon which the psychiatric profession is based are without basis and are, indeed, fictional. Their claim is that we, who share the label of being mentally ill, are really only [LINK] (to people who website) "people who" are a bit different, but not ill. We are people who hear voices, people who experience delusions, people who experience mood swings, in short, we have a different, but not necessarily wrong view of the world. Peopled with prestigious names like Thomas Szaz, R.D. Laing and Peter Breggin, three psychiatrists who object to the psychiatric paradigm as it currently exists, the movement is strong and has many vociferous supporters. So what do these anti-psychiatric sorts believe in anyhow? Here's a short course on the basic beliefs as I understand them. I do NOT subscribe to all of what the anti-psychiatry movement espouses. The following information is included in the interest of fairness and completeness. I urge you to use discrimination and critical thought to evaluate any claims found on the various sites you'll find listed in the compendium of resources on the following page. With that caveat, let's look at the various planks of the movement's position.


  • Current psychiatric practitioners are heir to the "medical model" which "pathologizes" the human experience.
  • The DSM IV (and the ICD 10) is a bible of made-up illnesses that have no real basis or scientific evidence.
  • Forced treatment is never justified.
  • Electroconvulsive shock treatment without consent is a violation of a person's human rights.
  • Restraints should never be used when other options exist.
  • Treatment should always be a mutual patient/psychiatrist enterprise.
  • Community options in terms of a variety of services (but not [LINK] CTO's) should be first choice with institutionalisation the last.
  • Full informed consent must be a prerequisite to ANY treatment.

These are the main planks for the movement. I suppose the first and foremost thing to remember is that many of us consider infringements that fall in this category to be a violation of our basic human rights. Read what the World Health Organization considers to be basic human mental health rights for all peoples. 



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