Mental Illness Thomas Szasz Summary

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Mental Illness as seen by Thomas Szasz
Thomas Szasz was a highly regarded psychiatrist, academic, and psychoanalyst in the late 20th century. His book, “The Myth 0f Mental Illness,” was a huge hit and became widely known and accepted. This book prosed the argument that mental illness is not an illness at all, but “the expressions of man’s struggle with the problem of how he should live.”(Szasz 117). At the time his ideas on mental illness were acclaimed, but 56 years later that argument does not receive the same praise. Some of the ideas as expressed in his book are valid today, but others are outdated and unappreciated.
Szasz was a Hungarian psychiatrist born in 1920. Most of his professional career was spent at the State University of New York as a professor of psychiatry. Szasz had very strong opinions on mental illness or lack of mental illness. In “The Myth of Mental Illness,” Szasz established his view that people use mental illness to justify their actions and release responsibility for those actions. He also says that if mental illness were a real illness, “one could catch or get it, one might transmit it to others, and finally one might get rid of it.” (Szasz 116). His arguments are strong in his reasoning and without prior knowledge one might wholeheartedly believe his views, but today we hold
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They are seen as treatable diseases that are diagnosed just as any other illness would be. Mental illnesses are described as, “behaviors, thoughts, or feelings… viewed as pathological or abnormal…” (Hoeksema 5). The question of what normal is was raised in “The Myth of Mental Illness,” as well as most academic readings regarding psychiatry. It is stated in Szasz’s book that, “a norm that must be stated in terms of psychosocial, ethical, and legal concepts.” (114). This concept is not what we use today, but makes a great deal of sense as explained by

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