chapter  6
20 Pages

Ethical Contradictions in Critiques of Psychiatry

ByJohn Hopton

There are many different ways of conceptualising mental health problems but for convenience most of these competing perspectives can be placed into one of two ‘ideal’ categories. In simple terms, people who have specific beliefs about the nature and cause of mental health problems and how they could or should be managed can be divided into those who talk in terms of mental illness and those who think of mental health problems as being existential problems or problems in living. The former group believes that mental health problems are abnormalities with similar properties to physical illnesses which can be diagnosed, managed and treated in the same way as physical illnesses can. The most extreme form of this is a strictly bio-chemical model which sees the problem wholly in terms of biochemical imbalances and the solution in terms of physical treatments which manipulate bio-chemical and/or neurological processes within the human body and brain.