Psychiatry's 'Defect Model of Mental Illness:' a Path for Those it Has Failed

Levine, Bruce E.
http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/02/15/psychiatrys-defect-model-of-mental-illness-a-path-for-those-it-has-failed/

Publisher:  CounterPunch
Date Written:  15/02/2016
Year Published:  2016  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX18779

For some depressed, anxious, and substance-abusing people, it feels better to believe that they are essentially defective, as it provides them with a defense of sorts against insulting accusations that they are malingering. But the defect model of mental illness doesn't work for everyone.

Abstract: 
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Excerpt:

Depressed, anxious, and substance-abusing people can beat themselves up for being defective. And psychiatrists and psychologists routinely validate and intensify their sense of defectiveness by telling them that they have, for example, a chemical-imbalance defect, a genetic defect, or a cognitive-behavioral defect.

In plain words, many depressed, anxious, and substance-abusing persons think: “I feel fucked up because I am essentially fucked up,” and mental health professionals routinely confirms this.

For some depressed, anxious, and substance-abusing people, it feels better to believe that they are essentially defective, as it provides them with a defense of sorts against insulting accusations that they are malingering.

But the defect model of mental illness doesn’t work for everyone. Many depressed, anxious, and substance-abusing people think: “The idea that I am fucked up because I am essentially fucked up just fucks me up more.” There is another model that works much better for them—more later on that model.

Those people who embrace their defectiveness can get angry with me when I write about the scientific bankruptcy of a given defect theory of mental illness—for example, the pseudoscience behind the chemical imbalance defect

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The "defect model of mental illness" is more commonly referred to as the "medical model of mental illness." In the medical model, the doctor is essentially a technician charged with fixing a defect. This medical model makes sense for suturing a laceration, removing a bullet, or restoring the body from other identifiable physiological insults.