Tag: psychiatry and language
Shouting out “I am mentally ill and I am not dangerous” creates the same incomprehension as blaming ‘mental illness’ in the first place. This would be a perfect opportunity for all those people diagnosed with ‘mental illness’ to stand up and say loud and clear: “It isn’t mental and it isn’t an illness.”
I have concerns about how Mad In America deals with diagnostic terminology. When psychiatric diagnoses are used without signaling that they are constructs and unscientific, I feel alarmed for those who will be strengthened in their mistaken beliefs about the labels.
I believe that those who understand psychiatry’s self-serving claims and want to be most effective in a campaign of re-education must never lose sight of the critical role of language in the forming of public opinion. Here I will use the example of stigma to illustrate psychiatry's “War of the Words.”
I realize many folks get irritated by the ‘moving target’ of language, but understand that this is a process of unlearning for us all. It’s not so much that the words randomly keep changing as it is that the oppression embedded in our words and ways of being runs deeper than most of us could have ever imagined. Unraveling it all is a long way off.
“If language is inherently unstable, then how can we hope to diagnose illness accurately?” asks psychiatrist Mark Salter in an article for iai news. “Naming things, abstract or concrete, is a form of categorization,” but, he adds, “it is important to remember that our categories say more about the categorizer than the categorized.”