Sheldon Richman on the Long, Shameful History of Using Science to Stigmatize Dissent


The current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders lists Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) under "disorders usually first diagnosed infancy, childhood, or adolescence." According to the manual, "The essential feature of Oppositional Defiant Disorder is a recurrent pattern of negativistic, defiant, disobedient, and hostile behavior toward authority figures that persist for at least six months."

While ODD is discussed with reference to children, writes Sheldon Richman, one suspects it wouldn't take much to extend it to adults who "have trouble with authority." Surely one is not cured merely with the passing of adolescence. Adults are increasingly subject to oppressive government decision-making almost as much as children. Soviet psychiatry readily found this disorder in dissidents. Let's not forget that the alliance of psychiatry and state permits people innocent of any crime to be confined and/or drugged against their will.