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Title: The meteoric rise of mental illness in America and implications for other countries
Authors: Stolzer, Jeanne M.
Issue Date: 18-Aug-2016
Publisher: PsychOpen
Abstract: Over the last 20-30 years, proponents of the medical model have hypothesized that mental illness is the result of a “chemical imbalance” in the brain (i.e., neurological atrophy, Breggin, 2011). In spite of the fact that no scientific evidence exists to support this hypothesis, the medical model’s claim that mental illness is the result of neurological malfunctioning has been widely disseminated by the pharmaceutical industry and by the medical community, in general, across the western world (Breggin, 2006; Healy, 2015). As a direct result of the widespread acceptance of the chemical imbalance hypothesis, millions of men, women, and children are prescribed daily doses of dangerous and addictive psychiatric drugs for a plethora of mental illnesses that, just a generation ago, were unheard of (Baughman & Hovey, 2006). This paper will challenge the current medical model’s definition of mental illness, will offer a theoretically sound alternative to psychiatric drug treatment, and will explore in depth the cultural, economic, historical, ideological, and social correlates that can be intrinsically linked to the meteoric rise in psychiatric illness across much of the western world.
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