Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Article: How Teenage Rebellion Has Become a Mental Illness

Big pharma has some new customers. Not complying with authority is now, in many cases, labeled a disease.
While there are several reasons for behavioral disruptiveness and emotional difficulties, rebellion against an oppressive environment is one common reason that is routinely not even considered by many mental health professionals. Why? It is my experience that many mental health professionals are unaware of how extremely obedient they are to authorities. Acceptance into medical school and graduate school and achieving a Ph.D. or M.D. means jumping through many meaningless hoops, all of which require much behavioral, attentional and emotional compliance to authorities -- even disrespected ones. When compliant M.D.s and Ph.D.s begin seeing noncompliant patients, many of these doctors become anxious, sometimes even ashamed of their own excessive compliance, and this anxiety and shame can be fuel for diseasing normal human reactions.

Two ways of subduing defiance are to criminalize it and to pathologize it, and U.S. history is replete with examples of both. In the same era that John Adams' Sedition Act criminalized criticism of U.S. governmental policy, Dr. Benjamin Rush, the father of American psychiatry (his image adorns the APA seal), pathologized anti-authoritarianism. Rush diagnosed those rebelling against a centralized federal authority as having an "excess of the passion for liberty" that "constituted a form of insanity." He labeled this illness "anarchia."
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While there are several reasons for behavioral disruptiveness and emotional difficulties, rebellion against an oppressive environment is one common reason that is routinely not even considered by many mental health professionals.
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Two ways of subduing defiance are to criminalize it and to pathologize it, and U.S. history is replete with examples of both.
Read all of How Teenage Rebellion Has Become a Mental Illness
by Bruce E. Levine ~ AlterNet ~ January 28, 2008

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