Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ronson Chapter 10 Summary and Book Response

In chapter ten of the Psychopath Test, titled "The Unavoidable Death of Rebecca Riley", Ronson discusses the potential consequences that arise when we begin to classify what is not normal in society and put a label on it. He attends a Scientology banquet where they make fun of the diagnoses the DSM makes but some of the ones they are quoting are legitimate disorders. He examines the fine line between what we consider to be normal and what is a mental disorder. In doing so he tells the story of the Rosenhan experiment which diminished the respect for the American psychiatry's diagnosing of patients and led to the creation of the DSM by Robert Spitzer in order to prevent such misdiagnosis. Ronson then explores the history of the DSM and how it has lead to an increase in diagnosis in the United State's, especially in children. For examples, he showcases stories of children with bipolar disorder, including that of Rebecca Riley where her parents over medicated her on psychiatric drugs that weren't approved for use in children.

I really enjoyed reading the book and it made me think about psychiatry, psychology, and diagnosing mental disorders in a different way than I ever had before. Previously, I had just accepted that the industry was always correct but now I question the effectiveness of such diagnosis. It's interesting to see how many disorders there are and the fine line we consider to be normal and abnormal. I feel as though almost everyone has a little part of them that is crazy. Maybe some just have more dominate traits of crazy or express their craziness without a filter and that's where we begin to classify them as being abnormal from the norm. If we were all the same though life would be boring and crazy people and their stories can be pretty entertaining if you ask me! Ronson never did answer the question of whether the world and it's economies are run by psychopaths but maybe that's because there is no answer.

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