Mental Illness or Social Sickness?

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Mental illness coverMental Illness or Social Sickness?

In the normal course of its functioning, capitalism deprives, injures, sickens and kills millions of people. What prevents the oppressed from revolting against this social arrangement?

The ruling class developed modern medicine to diagnose and treat individuals, not their social conditions.

Medical ideology assumes that individuals malfunction for reasons that have nothing to do with the social world. The physician treats the injured worker, not the unsafe workplace that injured her.

Mental illness presents a special problem for capitalism. The fact that oppressive social conditions generate mental distress is so obvious that a psychiatric industry is required to convince us otherwise.

Psychiatry presents itself as a branch of medicine that diagnoses and treats mental illness in the same way that other branches of medicine diagnose and treat physical illness. This claim does not hold up under scrutiny.  Psychiatry developed to meet capitalism’s need for social control and psychiatrists’ need for paying customers.

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