Why anti-authoritarians are diagnosed as being mentally ill in America today

From Bruce Levine, Mad in America:


“In my career as a psychologist, I have talked with hundreds of people previously diagnosed by other professionals with oppositional defiant disorder, attention deficit hyperactive disorder, anxiety disorder and other psychiatric illnesses, and I am struck by (1) how many of those diagnosed are essentially anti-authoritarians, and (2) how those professionals who have diagnosed them are not.

Anti-authoritarians question whether an authority is a legitimate one before taking that authority seriously. Evaluating the legitimacy of authorities includes assessing whether or not authorities actually know what they are talking about, are honest, and care about those people who are respecting their authority. And when anti-authoritarians assess an authority to be illegitimate, they challenge and resist that authority—sometimes aggressively and sometimes passive-aggressively, sometimes wisely and sometimes not.

Some activists lament how few anti-authoritarians there appear to be in the United States. One reason could be that many natural anti-authoritarians are now psychopathologized and medicated before they achieve political consciousness of society’s most oppressive authorities….”

Read it all on Mad in America.



Filed under News

5 responses to “Why anti-authoritarians are diagnosed as being mentally ill in America today

  1. nedlud

    This article has been widely circulated and has appeared on many of the websites I frequent. I posted it on my main ‘talking’ site (where I comment the most), Op-Ed News.

    I had this figured out 40 years ago or more. Where the hell were the rest of you?

    There should be farmers all over the map. The loss (the amazing statistical decline) of FAMILY farmers represents the loss of property and connection (individualism and inter-personal relating/the stuff of life) and the actual loss of life and liberty (DEATH and INCARCERATION) by the MACHINE that is the bureaucracy today

  2. thebovine

    You’re ahead of the curve, Ned!

    • nedlud

      Yeah, having lasted through ‘the curve’, I’m in the straightaway stretch now, and I can see what’s coming as a result of all this totalitarianism.

      More totalitarianism.

      And the pile-up at the ‘finish line’ is what is really gruesome.

  3. thebovine

    Increased use of Anti-Psychotic meds for children:

    “The Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of antipsychotic medications in some children and adolescents with severe emotional and behavioral disorders. However, recent national data show a dramatic rise in off-label and Food and Drug Administration–approved uses of these medications. Of particular note is a twofold to fivefold increase in the use of antipsychotic medications in preschool children, despite little information on their long-term effects. This article describes the trend in pediatric antipsychotic medication use, possible explanations for the increase, implications for children’s health, and recommendations for pediatric providers who work with parents of children and adolescents who seek or receive antipsychotic medication treatments.”


  4. tal

    From a 1949 letter from A. Huxley to G. Orwell:

    “Within the next generation I believe that the world’s rulers will discover that infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more efficient, as instruments of government, than clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging and kicking them into obedience. In other words, I feel that the nightmare of Nineteen Eighty-Four is destined to modulate into the nightmare of a world having more resemblance to that which I imagined in Brave New World. The change will be brought about as a result of a felt need for increased efficiency. “


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