[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
August 9, 1985

Realities, Myths-Reply

Author Affiliations

University of Chicago

JAMA. 1985;254(6):754. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360060051014

In Reply.—  Dr Borelli has apparently misunderstood the reasons for my strong disagreement1 with his COMMENTARY.2 The assumption that I was supporting the insanity defense is unwarranted, since no such statements were included in my editorial. The opinions in Dr Borelli's COMMENTARY touched on two issues: (1) what to do about the insanity defense, and (2) the validity of psychiatric diagnosis. My main criticisms of the COMMENTARY were that it confounded these two separate issues, and that the assertion that "mental illness is a bit like the Emperor's New Clothes"2 was a disservice to psychiatry and to patients suffering from mental disorders. Nowhere in the editorial did I imply that all human suffering is caused by "medical diseases." I did state that the suffering caused by mental disorders is real, and that a growing body of scientific evidence refutes the idea that these disorders are myths. While