The West Australian, Tue 18 Jan 2000
FOR those understandably upset about the mental illness stigma that is felt by people who have undergone psychiatric treatment, I offer you this information from the research done by the Citizens Commission on Human Rights over the past three decades.
The whole stigma associated with mental illness has as its root cause the psychiatric profession itself, which labels people in the first place with certain conditions. These "disorders" are voted on with a show of hands at annual psychiatric conventions to determine which ones make it into the bible of psychiatric disorders. Some that are too much trouble can even be voted out. For example, in 1973 psychiatrists voted out calling homosexuality a mental illness because gays picketed their conferences.
These so-called mental conditions have no scientific basis and merely justify the rampant use of very profitable psychiatric drugs, many different types of which are then supposedly needed to treat all these conditions.
Consider the following diagnoses from the Diagnostic and Statistical manual for Mental Disorders: speech articulation disorder; written expression disorder; mathematics disorder; nicotine use or withdrawal; caffeine intoxication or withdrawal; sibling rivalry disorder; spelling disorder. Do you realise that if you suffer from any of these, the psychiatric profession considers you to be mentally ill?
There is much that could be said about governments that fund all of this nonsense to the tune of billions of taxpayers' dollars.
Tracy Uren (Letters, 14/1) says that we do not call a cancer-afflicted person "cancerous". Only the psychiatric profession seems obsessed with name-calling, and this from the profession with the following statistics: 25 per cent of psychiatrists per study have psychiatric problems; a drug addiction rate significantly higher than in the general population or other stressful medical professions (Sydney Walker III, MD, A Dose Of Sanity 1996); they commit suicide at twice the rate of physicians (Robert Epstein, Ph.D, Why Shrinks Have So Many Problems, Psychology Today, July/Aug 1997); the highest divorce rate among physicians (Psychiatrists most divorce-prone MDs, The Arizona Republic, March, 1997).
Honestly, people who live in glass houses really shouldn't throw stones.
CARMEN SFERCO, Nollamara.