The Mislabeling of Psychiatric Disease in the Novel, The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson

Psychopaths are easily blamed for all of the misfortune in the world They are the “jagged rocks thrown into the still pond” and have a natural disadvantage against everyone else (2011, Ronson, Pl 112). The Psychaputh Test, a novel written by Jon Ronson, delves into the hidden message of the ‘madness industry’s’ misleading and occasionally incorrect diagnostic labels. When a book is sent around to all of the top neurologists in the world discussing these possible mistakes, a question is raised to whether or not some mental illness sentences were false.

Mental illnesses can manifest in so many different ways, it is almost unfair to lump those with the same illness togetherr A child who had anxiety because of her worries stemming from her parents’ divorce is not nearly the same as an anxious murderer waiting for his final day on death row in prisons Using the “Hare Checklist”, formulated by psychologist Robert Hare in order to detect psychopaths, the qualified group of men debunked the myths that led to the incorrect diagnosis of mental patients and the false labels that hindered their chances of a normal life (2011, Ronson, P.

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Symptoms that result in diagnoses can surface for many different reasons and in very different ways The concept of ‘equifinality‘ explains how many different life experiences can lead to the the same psychological disorder, Scientists have discovered that there are many factors that contribute to “adaptive” or “maladaptive” behaviors within a person and the outcomes of these behaviors can all have the same title- such as a mental illness (1993, Cicchetti, P.

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597). The idea of ‘multifinality‘ is basically the opposite of equifinality, making the same causes lead to different outcomes With these two concepts, Ronson solicits the help of his scientologist counterparts to piece together this most recent setback in his field of study, Ronson is introduced to a psychiatric patient named Tony, who explains that he faked his mental illness in order to dodge a prison sentence.

The test he was given to prove his insanity, “The Hare Checklist”, was easily manipulated due to the fact that he lied throughout the entire thing (2011, Ronson, P. 62). The idea behind the scientist’s motives was to prove that the label of a mental illness doesn’t validate muchi People are ‘mentally ill’ to all different degrees all for reasons that are always changing. Though someone may have been experiencing something similar to a mental breakdown in a time of stress or weakness, doesn’t give them the right to be confined to treatment their entire life. Likewise, if someone has a constant mental debilitation and can function well enough to keep themselves and others out of trouble or harm, they should not be forced to seek treatment Like Kay Redfield Jamison in the novel.

An Unquiet Mind, Tony has the title of a ‘maniac’ for the rest of his life He may have convicted himself to this, however Jamison did not ask for her life to be increasingly challenging The way her “intoxicating” mental flares took over her body and could only be “conquered” with sedatives made her feel weak and like she wasn‘t a woman of her full potential (1995, Jamison, R 5) The way even her best friends were “deeply disappointed” in her diagnosis proves how much of a misunderstanding there is around the idea of being psychotic (1995, Jamison, P. 200). Mental disorders play obvious tolls on the simplest tasks but truly hinder a normal life. Whether the Victim of the illness believes they are still the same person or not, they will forever be seen as an outcast in the group. The connotation that comes with being mentally ill is virtually unescapable and that is the more unfair part of the process— accepting that you will never be seen as yourself. The wrong label of a psychiatric disease is so easy to give out I do believe that that the scientists in the book are correct when referring to psychology as a pseudoscience. There is such a large margin for error because of the overwhelming symptoms that are factors of more then one illness. There is no definitive way to diagnose a mental illness because we will never be fully inside a patients braini Labels can be hurtful and often times blind us of the patient they‘re referring 10.

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The Mislabeling of Psychiatric Disease in the Novel, The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson. (2022, Jul 13). Retrieved from

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