Monday, February 14, 2011

On being sane in insane places


Recently i read a quite famous experiment from Rosenhan considering the validity of psychiatric diagnosis and the results got me astounded and thinking…about sanity and INSANITY..

They were published in the Science Journal under the topic…On Being sane in Insane Places.


Rosenhan's study was done in two parts. The first part involved the use of healthy associates or "pseudopatients" who briefly simulated auditory hallucinations in an attempt to gain admission to 12 different psychiatric hospitals in five different states in various locations in the United States. All were admitted and diagnosed with psychiatric disorders. After admission, the pseudopatients acted normally and told staff that they felt fine and had not experienced any more hallucinations. Hospital staff failed to detect a single pseudopatient, and instead believed that all of the pseudopatients exhibited symptoms of ongoing mental illness. Several were confined for months. All were forced to admit to having a mental illness and agree to take antipsychotic drugs as a condition of their release.

The second part involved asking staff at a psychiatric hospital to detect non-existent "fake" patients. No fake patients were sent, yet the staff falsely identified large numbers of ordinary patients as impostors.

The study concluded, "It is clear that we cannot distinguish the sane from the insane in psychiatric hospitals" and also illustrated the dangers of dehumanization and labeling in psychiatric institutions. It suggested that the use of community mental health facilities which concentrated on specific problems and behaviors rather than psychiatric labels might be a solution and recommended education to make psychiatric workers more aware of the social psychology of their facilities.

The study clearly displayed that mental institutions could not identify between normal sane and insane people….and in a way its quite difficult to judge a person’s psyche…

Most of these pseudo patients were diagnosed with schizophrenia..and were kept in the asylum.Though the psychiatrists and staff could not identify them as sane…the other normal mentally ill patients could…and some even believed that they were journalists coming down here to check the asylum.

The pseudopatients along with Roenhan could only get out when they had to accept that they were mentally ill and had to take anti-psychotic drugs…….which they flushed down the toilet.

they point here is that its is a wee bit difficult to differentiate between sanity and insanity..cause those who are insane are sane in their own way…

But one thing was noticeable here….though normal sane psychiatrists and staff could not distinguish sane from insane…. the insane could!!

may be i feel and always felt that a specific type of insanity in   people categorizes them in a different kind of species or groups…having a similar psyche..and so they could distinguish if the sane were similar to them or not and thus correctly identify them.

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