…”Political abuse of psychiatry refers to the misuse of psychiatric diagnosis, treatment and detention for the purposes of obstructing the fundamental human rights of certain individuals and groups in a given society. The practice is common to but not exclusive to countries governed by totalitarian regimes. In these regimes abuses of the human rights of those politically opposed to the state are often hidden under the guise of psychiatric treatment. In democratic societies “whistle blowers” on covertly illegal practices by major corporations have been subjected to the political misuse of psychiatry. Admittedly, those involved in the struggle against political abuse of psychiatry never reached full consensus on what the exact boundaries were between political abuse of psychiatry and more general misuse of psychiatric practice. Over the years, many individual cases were discussed extensively, determining whether it should be considered as one of political abuse of psychiatry or not. The issue continues to be discussed, in particular because recent cases are often more complex and involve less overt government involvement.
The fact that the use of psychiatry for political purposes is reported from so many diverse countries reveals an on-going tension between politics and psychiatry, and also that using psychiatry to stifle opponents or solve conflicts appeals not only to dictatorial regimes but to well-established democratic societies. Psychiatry is a branch of the medical profession that very much functions on basis of attempts to understand the functioning of the human psyche rather than on full scientific evidence. Diagnoses are internationally agreed upon in order to allow mental health professionals to structure their understanding and have a common language, yet at the same time the psychiatric profession is trying to deal with still limited scientific proof that their understanding is fully correct.* Nevertheless, it is clear that the political use of psychiatry has been a favourite of collectivist (socialist or communist) regimes. An explanation might be that ideologies that envision ideal societies where all are equal and all will be happy often conclude that those who oppose this must be of an unsound mind.”…
* Currently two major international classifications exist: ICD-10, developed and disseminated by the World Health Organization, and DSM, developed by the American Psychiatric Association. Both classifications have proponents and opponents. In addition, there is a strong debate with regard to classifications of mental disorders, and much of the debate focuses on the allegation that some illnesses are constructed in order to give the pharmaceutical industry the chance to market new drugs. Most recently, the soon to be introduced classification DSM-V is under fierce attack, and in May 2013 the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in the United States decided not to use this classification.”
Robert VAN BOREN*. Psychiatry as a tool for coercion in post-Soviet countries. Policy Department DG External Policies. Editorial closing date: 16 July 2013. © European Union, 2013 Printed in Belgium ISBN: 978-92-823-4595-5 Doi: 10.2861/28281. URL: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/etudes/join/2013/433723/EXPO-DROI_ET(2013)433723_EN.pdf
* Chief Executive of the Federation Global Initiative on Psychiatry (FGIP) and Professor of Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies at Ilia State University in Tbilisi (Georgia) and at the Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas (Lithuania).
“Reproduction and translation, except for commercial purposes, are authorised, provided the source is acknowledged and provided the publisher is given prior notice and supplied with a copy of the publication.”
…”In democratic societies “whistle blowers” on covertly illegal practices by major corporations have been subjected to the political misuse of psychiatry.”…