Essay Dr. Thomas Szasz 's Theory Of Mental Illness

863 Words Dec 13th, 2016 4 Pages
Dr. Thomas Szasz (1920-2012) was a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and author who was well known for his criticisms of the field of psychiatry and the concept of mental illness. He moved to the United States from Hungary when he was a teenager and pursued a degree in physics followed by a medical degree in 1944. In 1958, Szasz began discussing his theories on the history of mental illness and the moral and scientific foundations of psychiatry. He also explained modern day views on mental illness and psychiatry, explaining that the rights of individuals are sacrificed and psychiatrists are allowed excessive and unreasonable power, which is supported and perpetuated by various social, political, and economic factors (Roth, 1976).
Thomas Szasz discussed that mental illness is not real and is not the same as physical diseases. He explained that disease occurs as a result of the human body failing in its functions, but mental illness is characterized by behaviors and behaviors are not considered a disease based on the medical definition of a disease (Szasz, 1976). He believed that mental illness is a result of individuals’ problems with living their lives (Roth, 1976). He claimed that certain illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s disease, are exceptions to this theory. Szasz explained that mental illnesses cannot be determined using biological or chemical tests or any objective measures to confirm the presence or absence of a disorder from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental…

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