Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Todd Bodner

Subjects

Neurobehavioral disorders, Brain -- Variation -- SOcial aspects, Discrimination against the mentally ill, Schizophrenia -- Social aspects

DOI

10.15760/honors.411

Abstract

I examine stigma associated with schizophrenia and how psychiatric diagnosis, mental health professionals, the criminal justice system, and society ostracize and contribute to the suffering of approximately three million Americans. I doubt schizophrenia’s conceptualization as a progressively deteriorating biological disease and present the social conditions that accumulate stress for the individual and lead to psychotic episodes. I argue that schizophrenia cannot be understood as a “thing,” but as a complex system of numerous variables contributing to a system of disorder resulting from prejudiced attitudes, discriminatory social-structural conditions, and unjust treatment of human beings needing extra resources to thrive. Ultimately, I present discrimination of people with psychological disorder as a human rights issue, parallel to the neurodiversity movement to normalize autism as existing in the greater variation of human neurodevelopment. People with psychotic symptoms do not need to be “cured;” they do need acceptance, assistance, and resources to thrive alongside their family, friends, and the greater society. I infer necessary radical structural change to diagnostics, treatment, and the criminal justice system to unravel structural discrimination. I hypothesize reducing stigma by an intermediate practical suggestion of eradicating the label “schizophrenia” from our language as stigmatizing. I draw upon 15 years of promising evidence of moderate reduction in social attitudes following Japan’s renaming of schizophrenia (“mind-split disease”) to “integration disorder.”

Comments

An undergraduate honors thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Science in University Honors and Psychology

Persistent Identifier

http://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/20405

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