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The Myth of Mental Illness

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The Myth of Mental Illness: Foundations of a Theory of Personal Conduct is a controversial book by Thomas Szasz. It is highly influential in the anti-psychiatry movement. In it, Szasz argues that mental illness is a social construct created by doctors, and the term can only be used as a metaphor given that an illness must be an objectively demonstrable biological pathology, whereas psychiatric disorders meet none of these criteria. What psychiatrists label mental illness is in fact a deviation from the consensus reality or common morality, Szasz says.

The book extends the arguments of Szasz's paper The Myth of Mental Illness, first published in 1960. In it, Szasz argues that beliefs cannot be caused by brain disease, although such artifacts as visual (or hearing) defects can.

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