Feb 24Liked by Awais Aftab

Well. As I am a lot older than you (fwiw) and grew up in the end days of the original wave of anti-psychiatry, I tend to be more generous to folks like Paul Bloom when they critique their own in a balanced way. Having said that, I agree with your views on some of his phrasing. Then again I think that the book is derived from an undergraduate lecture course and one has to be a bit controversial to get students engaged and thinking/arguing these (and those) days. I guess he’s a bit of a controversialist too, but maybe wrong in that regard.

Thanks for making me think! I’m definitely with you in your opinion on the profession and would rebut any criticism of a compassionate treatment ethic such as infuses your own writing. I’ll try and get hold of the textbook and see how the whole thing strikes me.

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Mar 20Liked by Awais Aftab

I really enjoyed reading your thought-provoking review and essay. The complexity of mental health and diversity of viewpoints have been making me feel frustrated and nearly hopelessness that policy persons ever get together and agree on much of anything. I really like your point that "what makes psychopathology more moral and political than general medical conditions [is] the tension between changing the individual vs. changing society to relieve distress or disability." This is so true.

I have found myself leaning more toward the perspective of persons who consider themselves to be neurodiverse, partly because my daughter's response to treatment has not been great and she seems to be doing okay for the most part despite living with fixed delusions. But, still, I think mental health professionals rather than politicians and judges need to lead the way in relieving distress or disability. They understand psychiatric illness and its social ramifications.

A few days ago, I received a copy of the latest NAMI Voice newsletter that began with a piece titled "NAMI's Commitment to Care Over Criminalization." I was happy to see such a focus by NAMI, which I think too often focuses on wellness and not enough on serious illness--they want to grow the mental health umbrella and NAMI membership. But I was soon disappointed to see that the articled accept the current paradigm that law officers are the proper ones to respond to mental health emergencies. It reinforced this belief by promoting support for caregivers and their family members who are already entangled in the justice system, as well as their long-standing empathy training for law officers which research shows is often ineffective on the streets when a subject is uncooperative. I'd like to see society change by sending unarmed first-responders to most mental health emergencies like it does for other medical emergencies--this is happening in a few cities, but it is the exception.

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What he says about pathologizing a narcissist who's happy and thriving in every way, as if it were psychiatrists' job to run around the community, looking for the mentally disordered, trying to "catch them all" like a game of Pokemon, reminds me of some Angry Atheist discourse. There are these memes with, for instance, one pic of a guy in a mental institution and one pic of the Pope, and then some text about how they both talk with invisible people no one else can hear but one gets put in a psych ward and the other one is on the loose HOW ARBITRARY.

As if they really think this is how psychiatrists work, and it's some kind of pro-religious prejudiced oversight that they don't lock up all the religious people.

Psychiatrists don't search for and catch non-religious people who hear voices EITHER, if those people are doing fine and don't seek out treatment. (And conversely, if you're in tremendous distress from your voices and seek treatment, it's not like they're gonna go "nah you're fine" and kick you out again if you attribute the voices to God and Jesus.)

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