Psychiatry is dismissed as a medical specialty by some physicians because many of the disorders in its domain have yet to be consistently associated with organ pathology. Critics with a sociologic bent add that psychiatrists misuse medical authority to apply the label “sick” to deviant behaviour which is offensive to community standards. By labelling deviance as a medical disorder, they argue, patients are stripped of the dignity of personal responsibility for their actions and, authorities justify police action by the state to restrict their liberties. Both groups of critics take psychiatric disorders to be less “real” than medical or surgical ones because structural or biochemical defects underlying the pathological behaviour have not yet been demonstrated. The inference is that, were there to be such evidence, the attribution of illness would take on a qualitatively different character.
KeywordsPlacebo Fatigue Dust Depression Influenza
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Ackerknecht, E. H. (1947). The role of medical history in medical education. Bulletin of History and Medicine, 21, 135–145.Google Scholar
- Brown, G. W., Monck, E. M., Carstairs, G. M., and Wing, J. K. (1962). Influence of family life on the course of schizophrenic illness. British Journal of Preventive and Social Medicine, 16, 55–68.Google Scholar
- Center for Disease Control. (1979). Tuberculosis in the United States, 1977. Atlanta: Center for Disease Control (DHEW Publication No. (CDC) 79-8322).Google Scholar
- Editorial. (1979). Psychiatric illness among medical patients. Lancet, i, 478–479.Google Scholar
- Gage, S. H. (1935). Theobald Smith 1859-1934, Cornell Veterinarian, 25, 207–228.Google Scholar
- Gottesman, I. I., &Shields, J. (1982). Schizophrenia: The Epigenetic Puzzle. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
- Gur, R. E., Skolnick, B. E., Gur, R. C., et al. (1983). Brain function in psychiatric disorders, I: Regional cerebral mood flow in medicated schizophrenics, Psychiatry, 40, 1250–1254.Google Scholar
- McKeown, T. M. (1976). The role of medicine: Dream, mirage or nemesis? London: Nuffield Provincial Hospitals Trust.Google Scholar
- Wood, C. S. (1979). Human sickness and health: A biocultural view. Mayfield, Palo Alto.Google Scholar
- World Health Organization. (1979). Schizophrenia: An international follow up study. New York: John Wiley and Sons.Google Scholar