Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Blog7: Chapter 10 Summary

In chapter 10, Ronson discusses psychiatry and diagnosis from the DSM. He centers around the idea of psychiatry creating labels for mental disorders and how the border of mental illness and abnormality are sometimes mixed within a gray area, bearing misdiagnosis and consequences within society. Ronson portrays this through two examples. The first is an experiment done by a David Rosenhan, a psychiatrist grown tired of the "pseudoscientific world of the psychoanalyst." David co-opted with seven friends going to different mental hospitals across the U.S. Although the seven people never had any psychological problems, telling the duty psychiatrist that they were hearing voices in their head with words such as "hollow" and "thud" caused all of them to be immediately diagnosed as insane. After reporting the experiment, one mental hospital challenged Rosenhan to send more fakes to prove themselves. A month later the hospital said to have found 41 fakes only to be humiliated to find out that Rosenhan had sent no one to the hospital. This emphasizes the problem with psychiatry that Ronson discusses with misdiagnosis. The experiment with David goes to show the how there can be a problem of definiton between a disorder and mere abnormality. The second example is with Rebecca Riley. Rebecca was a four year old diagnosed with bipolar disorder. After not being able to sleep one night, her mother gave her cold medicine and her bipolar medication. She was found dead the next morning from an overdose of the antipsychotic drugs she had been prescribed with. Rebecca had scored high on the DSM checklist despite being only three at the time, and her parents had gotten into the habit of giving her the drugs when she was being annoying. This event shows how misdiagnosis of these disorders seem to sometimes be out of hand and inaccurate. These examples shows how these problems of misdiagnosis and definition can create big problems within society and mislead people into labeling their lives as something they may not even be.

Ronson has dived into the world of psychiatry and opened up many questions of morals and ethics within the practice. I believe after reading this book that psychiatry is quite difficult but also a very interesting field to understand and develop. There seems to be many gray areas within psychiatry in which sometimes there are guidelines that don't have complete definition, and sometimes it has to be based on personal opinion. Although these areas exist, I believe psychiatry is still a valid and useful study. Despite the way psychiatry was portrayed in Ronson's book, I would hope that most people don't believe every last detail of what is portrayed as the entire world of psychiatry. Yes there are crazy doctors and mindless people but this being a book about psychopaths, you wouldn't expect Ronson to portray the sane, normative, and linear aspects of the study throughout the entire book right? That would be just boring. I believe a big problem with psychiatry though is also within this gray area as well. Sometimes there may be confusion with what may be mere abnormality and a real disorder. When psychiatry intrudes too much into the normative, that is when confusion, issues, and consequences arise. However, I think Ronson still did a good job portraying aspects of psychiatry and issues within the field in a very interesting way that kept me hooked throughout all the chapters.

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