The problems to which I address myself in this book are easy to state but, because of the powerful cultural and economic pressures that define the “correct” answers to them, are difficult to clarify. They have to do with such questions as: What is disease? What are the ostensible and actual tasks of the physician? What is mental illness? Who defines what constitutes illness, diagnosis, treatment? Who controls the vocabulary of medicine and psychiatry, and the powers of the physician-psychiatrist and citizen-patient? Has a person the right to call himself sick? Has a physician the right to call a person mentally sick? What is the difference between a person complaining of pain and calling himself sick? Or between a physician complaining of a person’s misbehavior and calling him a mentally sick patient?

Download The Myth of Mental Illness-Thomas Szasz-1974