In his book, The Protest Psychosis, psychiatrist Jonathan Metzl examines the incidence and diagnosis of schizophrenia in the United States.
Up until the 1950s most patients diagnosed with schizophrenia were women who were unwilling, or unable, to look after homes and families or were seen as an embarrassment to their husbands.
However, since the 1950s, schizophrenia is disproportionately diagnosed in young, African-American men.
Or as Metzl says, it has changed from being, …a disease of white docility to one of “Negro” hostility…(1)
Metzl makes a case for a link between clinical changes in the understanding of schizophrenia during the 1960s and 70s and the rising civil rights movement in America.
During this time, schizophrenia changed from being, …a disease that was nurtured to one that was feared. (2) One where, …in its worst moments, (the medical establishment) treated aspirations for liberation and civil rights as symptoms of mental illness. (3)
The lenses we use to view the world can profoundly influence our understanding of even material facts.
We see what we believe.
We see things as we are – not as they are. (Thanks to Spirit Lights the Way for that one)
- Black Books That Scholars Are Reading (theroot.com)
- Diagnosing in the Dark: The continuing relevance of Thomas Szasz’s assault on psychiatric… (gunnyg.wordpress.com)