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Editorial: political abuse of psychiatry in authoritarian systems

  • J. P. Tobin (a1)
Abstract

We are painfully aware: Psychiatry in some states of the international community is often used to subvert the political and legal guarantees of the freedom of the individual and to violate seriously his human and legal rights (Daes,1986).

Objective

It can be politically convenient to incarcerate political opponents in a psychiatric hospital. It saves any potential political embarrassment that a judicial trial may present. It also undermines the credibility of opponents by labelling them with the stigma of being mentally insane. For this to occur, there has to be the acquiescence of mental health professionals and a subservient legal system.

Method

This article examines the abuse of psychiatry in two authoritarian systems, Russia and China.

Result

New diagnostic categories such as sluggish schizophrenia were created to facilitate the silencing of dissenters and were a source of self-deception for psychiatrist to placate their consciences as they operated as a tool of oppression on behalf of a political system.

Conclusion

If we do not know the past, we will be condemned to repeat it.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
*Address for correspondence: J. P. Tobin, BSc, MB, LLM, MRCPsch, FRCPC, Consultant Psychiatrist, Bloomfield Health Services, Stocking Lane, Rathfarnham, Dublin 16, Ireland. (Email tobinjp3@gmail.com)
References
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Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine
  • ISSN: 0790-9667
  • EISSN: 2051-6967
  • URL: /core/journals/irish-journal-of-psychological-medicine
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