Psychiatry

  • by Thomas Szasz
  • Narrated by Tom Weiner
  • 4 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

For more than half a century, Thomas Szasz has devoted much of his career to a radical critique of psychiatry. His latest work, Psychiatry: The Science of Lies, is a culmination of his life's work: to portray the integral role of deception in the history and practice of psychiatry.
Szasz argues that the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness stands in the same relationship to the diagnosis and treatment of bodily illness that the forgery of a painting does to the original masterpiece. Art historians and the legal system seek to distinguish forgeries from originals. Those concerned with medicine, on the other hand - physicians, patients, politicians, health-insurance providers, and legal professionals - take the opposite stance when faced with the challenge of distinguishing everyday problems in living from bodily diseases, systematically authenticating non-diseases as diseases. The boundary between disease and non-disease - genuine and imitation, truth and falsehood - thus becomes arbitrary and uncertain.
There is neither glory nor profit in correctly demarcating what counts as medical illness and medical healing from what does not. Individuals and families wishing to protect themselves from medically and politically authenticated charlatanry are left to their own intellectual and moral resources to make critical decisions about human dilemmas miscategorized as "mental diseases" and about medicalized responses misidentified as "psychiatric treatments."
Delivering his sophisticated analysis in lucid prose and with a sharp wit, Szasz continues to engage and challenge readers of all backgrounds.
Thomas Szasz is professor emeritus of psychiatry at the State University of New York's Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York.

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What the Critics Say

"[Thomas Szasz] is the preeminent critic of psychiatry in the world." (Richard Vatz, Ph.D., Professor of Rhetoric and Communication, Towson University)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A good summary of Szasz's criticism of psychiatry

In "Psychiatry: The Science of Lies", Thomas Szasz argues that psychiatry is not about mental illness: it is about lies. Mental illnesses are in general not specified in terms of structural or chemical changes in the human body. Rather they are specified in terms of behaviour. So there are no objective tests for mental illness before or after a person dies. They are literally just labels for behaviour that people dislike. The point of such a label is to deny the moral agency of the person diagnosed with that label. Sometimes a mental patient seeks out this status to get drugs they want or to avoid prison after committing a crime. Sometimes somebody else seeks to impose the label on the mental patient because the mental patient's behaviour is deemed inconvenient. So psychiatry is about people lying to one another, and to themselves. The book is well written and is narrated well by Tom Weiner.

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- Alan Michael Forrester

Book Details

  • Release Date: 20-09-2010
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.