Beware those who claim to be masters of the mind. From Doug Casey at internationalman.com:
International Man: The Soviet Union used the diagnosis of mental illness as a tool to silence political dissenters. It was a practice known as “psychiatric repression.”
Dissidents who spoke out against the government were often declared insane and forcibly institutionalized in psychiatric hospitals, where the government subjected them to inhumane treatment and abuses.
The diagnoses were often based on political rather than medical criteria and were used as a means of punishment and control.
What is your take on this practice?
Doug Casey: Well, before we get into what happened in the Soviet Union, and what seems to now be happening in the US, we really have to address the validity of psychiatry as a science to start with, and mental illness as being a real illness.
Dr. Thomas Szasz, who died some years ago, made the case that mental illness is not a medical concept and does not have a biological basis. He believed that what people commonly refer to as “mental illness” is actually a label used to describe deviant behavior, emotions, and thoughts that do not conform to social norms. He argued that mental illnesses are not diseases in the traditional sense, as they cannot be objectively measured or diagnosed like physical conditions such as cancer or arteriosclerosis. He wrote numerous books debunking psychiatry; I highly recommend them.
My own view is that people have always had psychological problems, worries, and aberrations. These things were once dealt with by talking to friends, counselors, or religious figures. Since the time of Sigmund Freud, however, “treating” mental conditions has been turned into the business of psychiatry.