On Being Sane And Insane Places : Indefinite Stigmatization Essays

On Being Sane And Insane Places : Indefinite Stigmatization Essays

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On Being Sane in Insane Places: Indefinite Stigmatization

"Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, but stigma and bias shame us all" (Bill Clinton). This quote can be attributed to David Rosenhan 's controversial experiment "On Being Sane in Insane Places." The purpose of his experiment was to expose the stigmas that are frequently associated with mental illness. If people were more accepting, afflicted individuals would seek professional help without fearing stigmatization in contemporary society. As Rosenhan suggested, people respond negatively to individuals suffering from mental illness, which manifests itself into hostility and avoidance towards afflicted individuals. He later recruited eight "sane" individuals who gained entry different psychiatric hospitals. Sanity refers to a state of behavioural, social and mental cognition that does not disrupt a person 's daily functioning. Since participants had not been previously diagnosed with mental illnesses, they were referred to as "pseudopatients." These pseudopatients did not exhibit "abnormal" behaviour apart from their reports of experiencing auditory disturbances such as "empty," "hollow," and "thud."

Pseudopatients behaved as they normally would but were still regarded as "insane" by hospital staff. Insanity is a state of functioning that negatively impacts a person 's social, behavioural and mental wellbeing. Had they not been labelled, their behaviour would not have been misinterpreted. Although these pseudopatients fabricated their names and occupations to avoid special treatment, their family records were presented to hospital staff without additional revisions. Unsurprisingly, the pseudopatient 's track record was misconstrued when his diagnosis was put into c...


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...If this experiment was conducted today, it would replicate similar results. Gaining entry, however, would not be quite as simple as when the study was originally conducted. Today, patients must undergo extensive psychological assessments before gaining entry into psychiatric hospitals. As far as data replication, hospital staff members are not immune to stigmatizing patients. Again, they are reluctant to remove their initial diagnoses and unwilling to attribute it to an isolated incident. Although the emergence of medication has proved beneficial in treating mental illnesses, we can still greatly improve the diagnostic criteria fro potential patients. The DSM is frequently being revised and updated for this very reason. If people were more accepting, afflicted individuals would seek professional help without fearing potential stigmatization in contemporary society.

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