Editor’s note: This is a discussion that came from our UnDiagnosing Emotional Distress Facebook group.
Ken Braiterman: I think psychiatrized is when mental health professionals turn normal human feelings and behaviors that they would have themselves into symptoms of a psychiatric disease. It’s their way of not dealing with WHY you’re angry or depressed, and calling the anger and depression your “sickness.” It’s thinking all your problems come from a “chemical imbalance,” and psychiatric chemicals will make you well.
JF: The use of the medical profession to deal with non-medical problems of life. Denying women’s issues and instead applying derogatory names, and stigmatization.
Psychiatrized Means 2nd-Class Citizenship, Stigma, and Labels
AC: Psychiatrized means being inducted into second-class citizenship because of psychiatry.
DB: My gut reaction was a sinking feeling of stigma and labeling which is helpful to no one:(
Corinna West: Someone who’s been taught to believe that there is a difference with folks who have labels, so suffering is inevitable.
Lael Ewy: A set of conditions that have arisen because of the power relationships we our culture reinforces and to which we key our identities. These include the hegemony of medicine and the role of the “patient” in a Hegelian master/slave relationship.
FB: Oppression, dishonesty, and deceit. Victimization in large part. A “mental hospital” is a psychiatric prison — & with such twists of the tongue, the deceptions begin. Standard practice in psychiatry treatment for what are deemed “serious disorders” is the inflicting of iatrogenic damage.
PC: I agree with all of the above. This is why discourse is so important in this issue. I believe the use of language here by psychiatry (with their “twists of the tongue” to cause deception) is an important part of deconstructing their unfortunate power.
Foucault wrote extensively about the use of language by government authorities to maintain power and control over the people. Though he wrote mostly of Communism, this remains true for psychiatry also.
Words like “mental illness” “mental hospital” come to mind. That’s what “psychiatrized” (and all the words used above) mean to me: applying power and control through language to suppress the rights of others.