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January 1962

The Myth of Mental Illness.

Author Affiliations

By Thomas S. Szasz, M.D. Price, $7.50. Pp. 337. Harper & Brothers, 49 E. 33rd St., New York 16, 1961.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1962;6(1):103-105. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1962.01710190105015

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Sharp-witted, knowledgeable, and intellectual, Dr. Szasz launches a blistering attack upon the words and concepts that psychiatrists use. In his own words, he describes his first task as the presentation of "an essentially `destructive' analysis of the concept of mental illness and of psychiatry as a pseudomedical enterprise." His second task he describes as "to offer a `constructive' synthesis of the knowledge which I have found useful for filling the gap left by the myth of mental illness." Unfortunately, it is not quite clear to whom this book is addressed. Mental illness is not a myth to those who have experienced it. It can only be a myth for those with inadequate experienc and understanding. This then presumably is the audience for whom the volume is written.

The content is divided into five sections. The first two of these are devoted to "destructive analysis"; the last three to

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