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Psychiatry is the medical specialty devoted to the study, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental disorders, among which are affective, behavioural, cognitive and perceptual abnormalities.
- Quotes are arranged alphabetically by author
A - F
- Not only psychiatry itself but also the values reflected in its statistical definition of “normalcy” serve to condition men to habitual, unthinking, conformist behavior.
- Benjamin R. Barber, “Forced to be Free: An Illiberal Defense of Liberty,” Superman and Common Men (New York: 1971), pp. 68-69
- The self must be a tense bow. It must struggle with opposites rather than harmonize them, rather than turn the tension over to the great instruments of last manhood—the skilled bow unbenders and Jesuits of our days, the psychiatrists, who, in the same spirit and as part of the same conspiracy of modernity as the peace virtuosos, reduce conflict.
- “Drapetomania”—that is the name of the mental disorder that was contrived by Samuel Cartwright, who said that Blacks had a mental disorder if they had a desire to run away from slavery.
- Lisa Cain, as interviewed in Psychiatry: Industry of Death (2006)
- After all, Jews invented psychiatry to help other Jews become Gentiles.
- Morton Feldman, in Give my regards to Eighth Street : Collected Writings of Morton Feldman (2000), p. xvi
- You know, if you get treated like a patient, you're apt to act like one.
- Frances Farmer, This Is Your Life television program, January 29, 1958, speaking about her incarcerations in psychiatric institutions.
- Modern man no longer communicates with the madman … There is no common language: or rather, it no longer exists; the constitution of madness as mental illness, at the end of the eighteenth century, bears witness to a rupture in a dialogue, gives the separation as already enacted, and expels from the memory all those imperfect words, of no fixed syntax, spoken falteringly, in which the exchange between madness and reason was carried out. The language of psychiatry, which is a monologue by reason about madness, could only have come into existence in such a silence.
- Michel Foucault, Madness and Civilization, preface to the 1961 edition
- Many psychiatrists and psychologists refuse to entertain the idea that society as a whole may be lacking in sanity. They hold that the problem of mental health in a society is only that of the number of ‘unadjusted’ individuals, and not of a possible unadjustment of the culture itself.
- Erich Fromm, The Sane Society
G - L
- Randle McMurphy: They, uh, was givin' me 10,000 watts a day, you know, and I'm hot to trot. The next woman who takes me out is gonna light up like a pinball machine and pay off in silver dollars.
- Nurse Ratched: If Mr. McMurphy doesn't want to take his medication orally, I'm sure we can arrange that he can have it some other way.
- Chief Bromden: Mac, they said you escaped. I knew you wouldn't leave without me. I was waiting for you. Now we can make it, Mac. I feel big as a damn mountain. [sees the lobotomy scars] Oh, no. [suffocating McMurphy] I'm not goin' without you, Mac. I wouldn't leave you this way. You're coming with me. [laying him down] Let's go.
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (film) written by Bo Goldman and Lawrence Hauben, adapted from the novel by Ken Kesey.
- Every time [psychiatry] comes across a natural act that is contrary to the prevailing conventions, it brands this act as a symptom of mental derangement or abnormality.
- René Guyon, as cited in The Manufacture of Madness: A Comparative Study of the Inquisition and the Mental Health Movement (1997), Thomas Szasz, p. 167
- Television has done much for psychiatry by spreading information about it, as well as contributing to the need for it.
- The psychiatrist unfailingly recognizes the madman by his excited behavior on being incarcerated.
- Nowadays lunatic doctors and other laymen talk a steady stream of nonsense about homosexuality. In the course of these events it has become customary to divide homosexuals into two classes—those who cannot be anything but homosexuals, and those who can. Having made this distinction, those who can’t be anything at all—that is, our guardians of law and morality— then distribute compassion and contempt among them. In due time — anywhere from 129 to 175 years from now — mankind with probably rise to the dizzying heights of declaring that “congenital” homosexuals are sick, and will insist on forgiving them; and that “acquired” homosexuals are sinful, and will continue to persecute them with the coercions of criminal law, the contempt of society, and the curse of blackmail. Of course, I leave the methods for making this distinction to the psychiatric executioners.
M - R
- The popular medical formulation of morality that goes back to Ariston of Chios, "virtue is the health of the soul," would have to be changed to become useful, at least to read: "your virtue is the health of your soul." For there is no health as such, and all attempts to define a thing that way have been wretched failures. Even the determination of what is healthy for your body depends on your goal, your horizon, your energies, your impulses, your errors, and above all on the ideals and phantasms of your soul. Thus there are innumerable healths of the body; and the more we allow the unique and incomparable to raise its head again, and the more we abjure the dogma of the "equality of men," the more must the concept of a normal health, along with a normal diet and the normal course of an illness, be abandoned by medical men. Only then would the time have come to reflect on the health and illness of the soul, and to find the peculiar virtue of each man in the health of his soul.
- Nietzsche, The Gay Science, § 120 “Health of the Soul”
- Finally, the great question would still remain whether we can really dispense with illness—even for the sake of our virtue—and whether our thirst for knowledge and self-knowledge in particular does not require the sick soul as much as the healthy, and whether, in brief, the will to health alone, is not a prejudice, cowardice, and perhaps a bit of very subtle barbarism and backwardness.
- Nietzsche, The Gay Science, § 120 “Health of the Soul”
- I owe my complete restoration to a discovery I made while being treated at that particular very expensive sanatorium. I discovered there was an endless source of robust enjoyment in trifling with psychiatrists: cunningly leading them on;...
- Kathryn Raily: What we say is the truth is what everybody accepts. ... I mean, psychiatry: it's the latest religion. We decide what's right and wrong. We decide who's crazy or not. I'm in trouble here. I'm losing my faith.
- 12 Monkeys screenplay by David Peoples and Janet Peoples
S - Z
- Dr. Morris Lancaster: If anything, his behavior has deteriorated. We may have to keep him here longer than we thought.
- Sharona: Well, how much longer?
- Dr. Morris Lancaster: That's hard to say. It could be a month.
- Sharona: A month? [They examine Monk, standing out in the garden]
- Dr. Morris Lancaster: It could be as long as a year. Adrian is bipolar. He's delusional and he's paranoid. He sees murder mysteries everywhere he turns. In fact, he's befriended another patient, and the two of them are trying to prove that Santa Claus really does exist.
- Sharona: Santa Claus?
- Dr. Morris Lancaster: Mm-hmm. They went out on the roof collecting evidence. It would be funny if it wasn't so... dysfunctional. [Dr. Lancaster and Sharona meet Monk] Adrian, look who's here.
- Sharona: Hey, boss. How you feelin'?
- Monk: Ah, I feel good. I can't-I can't wait to go home.
- Sharona: Well, we were just talking about that.
- Dr. Morris Lancaster: Adrian, would you mind if I showed your friend some of the artwork that you made yesterday? [He shows some artwork] Oh, here it is. Wait a minute. [shows them a disturbed image of Trudy's grave]
- Monk: Did I draw that?
- Dr. Morris Lancaster: You don't remember? Isn't that Trudy's grave?
- Sharona: Um, Dr. Lancaster said that you saw Santa Claus.
- Monk: [scoffs] No, we didn't actually see him. Manny took a picture, but he lost the camera. But we found a piece of a red suit.
- Dr. Morris Lancaster: We'd love to see it, Adrian. [Monk looks through his pockets for the piece of Santa fabric that he found, but he can't find it]
- Monk: It was here. It was in here. A little piece of fabric, you know, of Santa's-Santa's, you know, suit. Okay, no, no. It was a piece of... fabric, and...
- Sharona: Doctor? Can I talk to you privately?
- Monk: Like... Santa's tuis.
- Dr. Morris Lancaster: Sure. [He and Sharona walk away]
- Sharona: He's not himself. He needs me. Look, I could be here two, three times a week, okay? I still have my license. Maybe they can give me a job here.
- Dr. Morris Lancaster: Sharona, I know you mean well, but the less contact Adrian has with his old life, the better. You can write him a letter. You can bring him something from home. I'm sure he'd like that, but no visits. [Sharona approaches Monk, who is now looking under his bed]
- Sharona: Look, Adrian. I-listen, I-I can't take you home right now.
- Monk: Sharona, look at his shoes, just look at his shoes. They're smudged. Could be soot. Those are boat shoes. They're made for traction. And I think, he has been walking on the roof.
- Dr. Morris Lancaster: I warned you not to play detective in my hospital.
- Monk: This is Bill LaFrankie's file. There's no way this man killed himself like they said. He's in here! He suffered from belonephobia. He had a pathological fear of needles.
- Dr. Morris Lancaster: You're a smart man. Let's see what kind of witness you are with a functioning I.Q of 17. Mr. Monk came here to try to kill me.
- Monk: What? Wait.
- Dr. Morris Lancaster: I think he needs some time in the Quiet Room, Oliver.
- Monk: No. Wait!
- Dr. Morris Lancaster: It's for your own good, Adrian.
- Oliver: How much?
- Dr. Morris Lancaster: Two c.c.'s of Thorazine. Make it four.
- Oliver: Four? Are you sure? He can't weigh more than 160 pounds.
- Dr. Morris Lancaster: Did you just graduate from medical school in the last 45 minutes? No, sir. Then do what the hell you're told. Give this patient four c.c.'s of Thorazine.
- Monk (TV series) Mr. Monk Goes to the Asylum Tom Scharpling and David Breckman
- Criticism should not be focused on Nazi Germany alone but extend beyond to include physicians in democratic countries, as well. Physicians outside Germany before the war, in the United States in particular were well aware of the evolving racist thrust of the health care system. They chose to remain silent.
- William E. Seidelman (1992). Quoted in, The War Against Children of Color: Psychiatry Targets Inner-City Youth (1998), Peter R. Breggin, M.D., Common Courage Press, Monroe, Maine, ISBN 1567511279 ISBN 1567511260 ( 2002 ed., ISBN 1567511260 ISBN 9781567511260 ) ch. 7, Condemned by Science: The Role of Psychiatry in the Holocaust, p. 124. 
- If we see [our lives] from the outside, as the influence and popular dissemination of the social sciences and psychiatry has persuaded more and more people to do, we view ourselves as instances of generalities, and in so doing become profoundly and painfully alienated from our own experience and our humanity.
- Susan Sontag, “On Style,” Against Interpretation, p. 29
- So long as men denounce each other as mentally sick (homosexual, addicted, insane, and so forth)—so that the madman can always be considered the Other, never the Self—mental illness will remain an easily exploitable concept, and Coercive Psychiatry a flourishing institution.
- Thomas Szasz, The Manufacture of Madness: A Comparative Study of the Inquisition and the Mental Health Movement (1997), p. 170
- There are two basic kinds of impersonations: those that are publicly supported and those that are not. Examples of the former are an actor playing a part in a play or a small boy playing fireman. Examples of the latter are a healthy housewife complaining of aches and pains or an unemployed carpenter claiming he is Jesus. When persons stubbornly cling to and aggressively proclaim publicly unsupported role definitions, they are called psychotic.
- Thomas Szasz, The Second Sin (New York: 1973), p. 52
- Since this is the age of science, not religion, psychiatrists are our rabbis, heroin is our pork, and the addict is the unclean person.
- Thomas Szasz, The Second Sin (New York: 1973), p. 64
- Psychiatrists look for twisted molecules and defective genes as the causes of schizophrenia, because schizophrenia is the name of a disease. If Christianity or Communism were called diseases, would they then look for the chemical and genetic “causes” of these “conditions”?
- Thomas Szasz, The Second Sin (New York: 1973), p. 102