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SOC479H1 Lecture Notes - American Psychiatric Association, Canadian Mental Health Association, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Course Code

of 8
Health and Medicine
-symbolic interactionism does not define deviances in an objective but also in a subjective way
-the medicalization of deviance:
-the deviant behaviour is increasingly becoming medicalized and becoming more present in our society
- over time, medical definitions of behaviour are becoming more prevalent in our society
Medical labelling and time:
Medicine, power and culture:
-there’s a tendency for medical definitions for deviance to become more prevalent over time
-in an earlier era, much of deviant behaviour was labelled evil
-therefore, it was punished and chastised by the law, clergy, family and community
-today, they are treated in a detox center
-if you’re an alcoholic, you go into a detox centre that requires you to withdraw from alcohol use, you get
rid of the toxicity in your system
-someone who is prone to violent rages is medicated with drugs
-someone who overeats today gets therapy and sometimes surgery (people can have surgery to staple the
stomach decreases the size of the stomach so they can’t eat as much)
-this person would be called a glutton in the past the person would be blamed for the condition
-today, heroin addicts are put on methadone
-a substitute for heroin used to treat heroin addicts
-in the past, they were blamed for the condition
-today when people do deviant acts, they are described as unable to help themselves
-in the past people were responsible for their deviance
-today, they are not responsible (involuntary deviance)
-thus what used to be bad is now labelled as sick
-when medicalizing deviance, they say that the person is the innocent victim of social forces
-deviant behaviour is increasingly controlled under medicine and psychiatry
- How did this all happen? How did psychiatry and medicine get control of deviance?
(A) Mental Illness: Labelling and Delabelling:
-psychiatry has been doing this since the beginning of the 20th century
-vast changes in definitions have taken place over the last century
-only a very thin line separates science from politics when it comes to mental illness the line has become blurred
-under some circumstances, politics today defines what is a mental illness and what is not
-interest groups: a group of people that try to influence the way medicine, the government, etc. goes about their
work and handles their business
-interest groups have been able to influence the way in which psychiatry has labelled and delabelled
mental illness
- Ex. Homosexuality
-before 1974, it was considered to be a psychiatric disorder
-this was not based on any medical evidence
-it written up as a disorder on the DSMdiagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders
-they then suddenly removed homosexuality as a psychiatric disorder
-probably the reason they had it in the first place was because of discrimination and prejudice
-why did they delabel it?
-the condition did not disappear
-in 1974, the condition was more widespread and public than even before
-therefore, when the condition became more visible, psychiatry stopped labelling it as a mental disorder
-gay and lesbian activists began to lobby the DSM, telling them that there was no justification for labelling
this as a mental disorder
-they were able to exert pressure on the psychiatric community
-these groups sought to destigmatize (remove the negative label), and they successfully lobbied the
psychiatric community to remove it from the DSM
-evidence was political not scientific
-in 1978, a DSM task force decided to eliminate neurosis as a mental disorder
- this caused an outrage in psychoanalysts
-psychoanalysts come from Freud, and neurosis is a big part of their idea of a mental disorder
-said that if the DSM task force eliminates it from the DSM, they’re going to sue you and block publication
of the DSM
-1979, the American psychiatric association (APA) backed down
-therefore, it retained neurosis as a mental disorder
-this has nothing to do with science
-a lot of mental disorders that are defined by psychiatry are made up
Part 2:
- most of the current labeling that has happened has happened in the absence of scientific evidence
Post traumatic stress disorder:
-a new mental disorder of recent vintage
-cultural context:
-public and private organization find it profitable to come up with new mental disorders
-pharmaceutical companies can come up with drugs to treat these disorders
-Vietnam war vets started returning home in 1971 and had problems adjusting
-the war was very unpopular in America
-men, and some women, came from home from the war
-they weren’t treated as heroes
-recession hit at so no jobs for them
-by 1974 many had a lot of stress and problems; they believed that their problems were because of
- they lobbied the APA to create this into a full-blown disorder
-they launched a national campaign and directed it at the APA
-asked them to make it a mental disorder and eventually the APA caved in and made PTSD a mental
- PTSD was created because of strong political pressure
-there is some scattered evidence that it was a disorder but it only became a disorder because of the
political pressure
-if you are injured while serving for your country, you get compensated by the government
-the Vietnam vets saw that they too could be eligible for compensation from the government
-so the APA made it a disorder and they got compensated
-example of a mental disorder being delabelled:
-self-defeating personality disorder”I am my own worst enemy”
-feminists argued to delabel it they said that it blames the victim as opposed to the real criminal (the
DSM said that it is twice as common among women compared to men)
-they argued before the APA that this amounted to blaming the victimwomen should not be blamed or
saddled with this label because the real culprit is partriarchy which makes women feel inferior
-the 1994 edition of the diagnostic and statistical manual dropped self-defeating personality disorder
-thus see how politics played a key role
-leads us to the conclusion that culture (sociological concept) plays a big role in determining whether or not you
are healthy or not healthy
-mental disorders are shaped by thing other than scientific evidence
-social values, political forces, professional interests, corporations and their interests
-psychiatric labelling
- when you have prostate or cervical cancer, there are specific tests that determine if you have the cancer; there’s
no such tests for mental illnesses
-there’s no clear dividing line between mentally health and unhealthy individuals, culture plays a big part
-there’s a sort of continuum
-we don’t have the tools to measure it
-there are a lot of social pressures that get in the mix and influence what is and isn’t a disorder
-culture looms as critical in this process
Political sociology of mental illness:
-beginning of 20th century, there is one mental disorder recognized by feds and courts
-can be used in the courts as a mitigating factor don’t bear the full responsibility of your crime
-and so the sentence is reduced accordingly
-first happened in 1860s in common law
-man murdered someone, the defence claimed he was innocent due to a mental disorder
-courts went along with it
- the number of mental disorders in the DSM has been increasing
-the more mental disorders we have, the more the people that are affected by it
-the most common mental disorder is depression 1in 4 Canadian women and 1in 10 Canadian men suffer from
-if you do vigorous cardio this stimulates the production of endorphins
-they produce a feeling of well-being
-being depressed is part of life and if depression affects you, you should exercise
-the Canadian mental health association estimates that 1 in 5 Canadians will be affected by a mental disorder
sometime in their life
-definitions are extended and expanded to include ailments with no detectable biological basis like minor
depression and borderline schizophrenia
-the list keeps getting longer
-psychiatrists are currently working on the new DSM (2012)
-they’re considering whether to include post traumatic embittermnent disorder
-if husband, wife, boyfriend, etc. leaves you and you are bitter/resentful for too long then you’re
suffering from this disorder
-internet addiction disorder
-apathy disorder
-compulsive buying disorder
-compulsive pathological overeating disorder
-hoarding disorder people don’t throw things out, they keep accumulating things (even when they’re
worthless/garbage things)
Christopher Lane: book called shyness: how normal behaviour becomes a sickness
- it’s in the interest of organizations (specifically pharmaceutical companies) to increase labelling
What’s responsible for the increase in labelling?
-corporate interests
-it’s in the economic interests of specific corporate groups like pharmaceutical companies
-they create new drugs for medical purposes
-thus, they have an interest in expanding the list of mental disorders
-ex. Prozac the world most widely prescribed anti-depressant
-when the patent on Prozac expired, it was repackaged as serafem and marketed to women
suffering from a newly discovered condition called premenstrual disphoric disorder (PDD)
- Why?