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December 2019                                                    Viewpointe, Page 7

      Book Review

       Can The Mind Be Fixed?                            the trauma of treatment for breast                                  argued for the connection between
                                                         cancer and accompanying pain                                        the normal to the abnormal behavior
       Anne Harrington. Mind Fixers: Psychiatry’s Troubled Search   from surgery and prescriptions for                       separated by razor edge distinction,
       for the Biology of Mental Illness. New York: W.W. Norton,   opioids which overcame her.                               and the Oedipus complex which
       2019.                                                Professor  Anne  Harrington,                                     explained the role of family in
       “Throw physick to the dogs!”                      drawing upon her Harvard lectures,                                  forming character and inducing
       “Canst thou minister to a mind diseased?”         offers an account of the evolution                                  neurosis and psychosis.
       “Though it be madness, yet there is method in’t”.   of mind fixing until our time. The                                  In 1909, Sigmund Freud, along
       Shakespeare                                       medieval bias that mental illness                                   with Carl Jung, was invited to present
                                                         was influenced by possession of                                     his ideas at Clark University, his sole
       By Dr. Ronald J. Meyers                           dark forces; religious exorcism was                                 visit to our country. His approach
                                                         employed and violence inflicted                                     was embraced in America, and the
          I doubt that there are                         upon  the  sufferer  to  make  the                                  Psychoanalytical Association took
       few among us who are not                          possessing spirit as uncomfortable                                  off here as it would in Europe.
       familiar  with  the sting  of                     as possible, and to be expelled                                     Writers in particular embraced the
       mental illness, seemingly                         from the container of the body. Up                                  new psychology, Henry James, D.H
       endemic in our society. In                        until the middle of the nineteenth                                  Lawrence, Eugene O’Neill, James
       my own instance, my father                        century,  such  individuals  were                                   Joyce, Virginia Woolf  brought
       and brother were both                             confined to lunatic asylums, not                                    Freudianism into literature.
       diagnosed  with  degrees                          much different from prisons, to live                                  I became familiar with Freudian
       of Manic Depression, and                          with like kind.                                                     approach as a Graduate Student of
       both underwent shock                                 Toward the end of the nineteenth                                 Literature in the Reading Room of
       treatments, ECT, according to the conventional approach   century, Professor Harrington shows, attitudes changed.   the New York Public Library where the texts of Freud
       of the time. After her bout with cancer, my late wife   The impetus to better understand mental illness occurred   were popular and very well thumbed. My study of
       was also diagnosed and treated for mental illness, with   within the context of progress in social welfare, from the   Shakespeare reinforced my respect for Freud’s analysis,
       all the conventional remedies from Freudian analysis   Union movement to protect workers, to Prohibition to   with its rendering of the Unconscious, so notable in the
       to acupuncture but principally opioids and other drugs.   protect society from the scourge of alcoholism, the fight   soliloquies, the id and the ego as forces of unrestricted
       I would have to say that the treatments all varied from   for the vote for women, and social welfare identified in   desire and suppression, the role of the sexual impulse in
       ineffective to very harmful. One died in suicide and the   the laws undertaken during the presidency of FDR.  our behavior, and finally the role of the family in fostering
       other to a most undesirable end-of-life. I was supposed      Was a bacterial infection, or a virus, a source of the   healthy and unhealthy responses.
       to be comforted with the rationalization that one could   scourge? The study of those who died from syphilis      Throughout this time, the efforts of the Pharmaceutical
       not decisively argue that any of them would have been   did show deterioration of the brain. In one of Sigmund   companies (Big Pharma) offered an alternative science
       better off without the conventional medical treatment of   Freud’s first papers, he sought to distinguish the peculiar   to ease the pain and suffering of the mentally distressed.
       the time.                                         behaviors of individuals who had suffered from stroke or   Starting with the discovery of tranquilizing drugs,
          I myself have been spared  e.g. loving marital   accident to those who were suffering from neurasthenia,   like Chlorpromazine, to mitigate violent tendencies,
       support, moderate- work related stress, education and   bad nerves. Freud was influenced by the work of the   which allowed the freeing the sufferers from prisons of
       religious faith. It was clear to me that, for my father   French physician Charcot and others who had suggested   incarceration. The biological track which hoped to find
       and brother, their condition was brought about by the   that trauma could be related to emotional upset. At first,   a cure for mental illness the way that a cure had been
       environmental circumstances deriving from deep stress   Freud utilized hypnosis to communicate with his patients;   found for tuberculosis or polio, deriving from research
       in family relationships, as well as the harsh friction in   but then discovered a method of free association to allow
       the workplace. My wife’s condition developed from   his patients to reveal their deviant symptoms. He also   Book Review on page 8

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