Angry Doctor

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Quote of the Week 4

"... we are concerned about the public perception of persons with mental illness (PMIs) that may be generated from this report, or other similar reports.

We would like to add that anti-social personality disorder is not a mental illness, but a problem with personality traits that result in persistent anti-social acts (they are also sometimes called sociopaths or psychopaths)."

- Ms Rajeswari K., Executive Director of Singapore Association for Mental Health, on why it is okay to stigmatise people with anti-social personality disorder.

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5 Comments:

  • I'm not sure about this. So only DSM-IV Axis I disorders are considered mental illnesses?

    By Blogger Lim Leng Hiong, At August 18, 2009 11:58 pm  

  • The SAMH site does not specify which conditions are considered mental illnesses.

    By Blogger angry doc, At August 19, 2009 8:48 am  

  • I totally agree with the letter. Antisocial personality disorder is NOT a true mental illness.

    In layman's terms, it is an attitude problem.

    For Lim- yes, only Axis 1 disorders are considered true mental illnesses.
    Axis 2 = personality disorders

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At September 12, 2009 3:38 am  

  • How convenient.

    I would like to see what SAMH says the next time a schizophrenic patient kills someone.

    By Blogger angry doc, At September 12, 2009 11:15 pm  

  • Let me elaborate on my last comment.

    Any classification only has meaning if we understand the reason behind the way it classifies things.

    Why are some mental disorders on Axis I and some on Axis II?

    Does it mean that those on Axis I aren't accountable for their actions, and those on Axis II are?

    Are those on Axis I not violent, and those on Axis II violent?

    If neither is true, then what bearing does Axis I or Axis II have on the discussion?

    The fact is Ms Rajeswari chose to dissociate SAMH from someone with a mental disorder who was violent, thinking it was in defence of PMI.

    So what happens when someone with a "true" mental illness kills someone? Shouldn't it, by the same token, mean that all PMIs with "true" mental illness are equally dangerous?

    I brought notice to this letter because it reminded me of a similar ones I blogged about a while back:

    http://angrydr.blogspot.com/2006/06/fear-as-tool.html

    http://angrydr.blogspot.com/2007/08/its-not-disease.html

    It bothers me that people who champion the cause of those who are disadvantaged seem to take any comment on those they champion as 'stigmatisation', to the point that they will say a disease is not a disease, or that a mental disorder is not a mental illness.

    Stigmas exist because people can see how diseases and disabilities affect people who have them. They will only disappear when we are able to cure these conditions or improve the lives of these patients to the point that they do not suffer from significant disabilities, not when we bludgeoned people into not mentioning them.

    By Blogger angry doc, At September 12, 2009 11:31 pm  

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