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Table of Contents
Taking Sides: Clashing Views in Abnormal Psychology, 8 Edition
Unit 1: Psychological Conditions and Treatments
YES: Robert Weiss, from "Sexual Addiction, Hypersexual Disorder and the DSM-5: Myth or Legitimate Diagnosis?", Counselor (2012)
NO: David J. Ley, from "Is Sex Addiction a Legitimate Disorder?", Addiction Professional (2013)
Robert Weiss asserts that since the internet has facilitated access to affordable, easy links to intensely pleasurable sexual content and anonymous sex, mental health professionals are seeing a corresponding increase in the number of people struggling with sexual and romantic addictions. Although the editors of DSM-5 decided against including hypersexual disorder in the nomenclature, Weiss views this condition as a legitimate and serious addictive behavior that leads to wide array of life problems. David Ley criticizes the notion of sexual addiction, viewing such labeling as being promoted by the “sex addiction industry” which has benefited from extremely effective and timely marketing efforts. Ley contends that for decades sex addiction proponents have been challenged in the academic press to produce scientific research to back up their theories. The research studies that they have produced, however, are criticized as subject to severe sample bias, based largely on anecdotal reports.
YES: National Institute of Mental Health, from "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)", National Institute of Mental Health (2014)
NO: Tim O'Shea, D.C., from "ADD/ADHD: The \"Designer Disease\"", thedoctorwithin.com (2014)
The National Institute of Mental Health concurs with DSM-5 in viewing ADHD as a valid disorder that warrants thoughtful diagnosis and effective intervention. Tim O’Shea, Doctor of Chiropractic, views the diagnosis of ADD/ADHD as representing an invidious assault on American children that is promoted by parents, teachers, psychiatrists, school personnel, lobbyists, and the pharmaceutical industry.
YES: Traditional Values Coalition, from "A Gender Identity Disorder Goes Mainstream: Cross-Dressers, Transvestites, and Transgenders Become Militants in the Homosexual Revolution", Traditional Values Coalition (2004/2005)
NO: Kelley Winters, from "Diagnosis vs. Treatment: The Horns of a False Dilemma and Top Ten Problems with the GID Diagnosis", GID Reform Weblog (2008)
The Traditional Values Coalition argues that gender-variant people are psychologically disturbed individuals who need professional help, and that their condition should be viewed as a mental disorder. Kelley Winters asserts that the GID diagnosis imposes the stigma of mental illness upon people who meet no scientific definition of mental disorder.
YES: Stephen Joseph, from "Has PTSD Taken Over America? What is Trauma? Therapy for Posttraumatic Growth: Car Mechanics and Gardeners. Changing How We Think About Psychological Trauma.", psychologytoday.com (2011)
NO: U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, National Center for PTSD , from "What is PTSD? (updated version)", National Center for PTSD (2007)
Dr. Stephen Joseph argues that since the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a diagnosis, the definition of trauma has been altered from its 1980 definition in DSM-III, and has been applied so loosely that everyday experiences can now be considered traumatic. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) states that PTSD can develop in any individuals who have gone through a life-threatening event that caused them to fear for their lives, see horrible things, and feel helpless. The VA urges therapists to help individuals with PTSD identify what triggers their stressful memories, find ways to cope with intense feelings about the past, become aware of their feelings and reactions in order to change their reactions, and raise their self-esteem.
YES: Stephen M. Schueller and Acacia C. Parks, from "The Science of Self-Help: Translating Positive Psychology Research into Increased Individual Happiness", Hogrefe Publishing (2014)
NO: Laurel C. Newman and Randy J. Larsen, from "How Much of Our Happiness Is Within Our Control?", Original Work (2009)
Positive psychologists Stephen M. Schueller and Acacia C. Parks present a summary of the current state of positive psychological interventions as they pertain to self-help, interventions that have been shown to lead to increases in individual happiness. Psychologists Laurel Newman and Randy Larsen challenge the external validity and sustainability of the effects of these strategies, arguing that most of what influences our long-term happiness is outside our control.
YES: Steven Moffic, from "Why We Still Need Psychiatrists!", Mad in America (2012)
NO: Steven Balt, from "Yes, We Still Need Psychiatrists, but For What? ", The Carlat Psychiatry Blog (2012)
Psychiatrist Steven Moffic states that psychiatrists play critically important roles in the field of mental health care because they are extensively trained and well-versed in understanding the functioning of the human body and the treatment of mental disorders. He urges psychiatrists to accept constructive criticism and to take steps to move forward in developing innovative intervention models such as collaborating on-site with primary care physicians in offering integrated care. Psychiatrist Steven Balt believes that psychiatrists have overstepped the boundaries of their position, and doing so has often led to mislabeling and mistreating countless people. He contends that much of what psychiatrists do is pseudoscience, but that most people nevertheless buy into the psychiatric model. He argues that psychiatrists, with their years of scientific education, can use their influence to change the current state of affairs in the field of mental health.
Unit 2: The Trend Toward Biological Interventions
YES: Barbara J. Sahakian and Sharon Morein-Zamir, from "Neuroethical Issues in Cognitive Enhancement", Journal of Psychopharmacology (2011)
NO: Helia Garrido Hull, from "Regression by Progression: Unleveling the Classroom Playing Field Through Cosmetic Neurology", University of Hawaii Law Review (2010)
Professor Barbara J. Sahakian and Dr. Sharon Morein-Zamir note that cognitive enhancing medications provide considerable benefits to individuals with cognitive disabilities, and can also serve as “smart drugs” for healthy individuals for the purpose of cognitive enhancement. While more research is needed into the long-term effects of these drugs on healthy individuals, responsible use of these drugs is recommended in order to gain maximum benefits with minimal harm to the individual and to society as a whole. Attorney and Professor Helia Garrido Hull explains that the use of cognitive enhancing drugs by healthy individuals can have a negative impact on individuals with disabilities. The use of such drugs in competitive environments such as classrooms creates an imbalance between students without cognitive disabilities and those with disabilities for whom the drugs were originally intended. She asserts that the government has a responsibility to enforce the law in order to maintain the integrity of decades of legal precedent intended to protect individuals with disabilities from becoming disadvantaged again. Although many of these drugs are listed as controlled substances, their use without a prescription has become widespread and viewed as morally acceptable.
YES: Elise Donovan, from "Propranolol Use in the Prevention and Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Military Veterans: Forgetting Therapy Revisited", Perspectives in Biology and Medicine (2010)
NO: President's Council on Bioethics, from "Beyond Therapy: Biotechnology and the Pursuit of Happiness ", President's Council on Bioethics (2003)
Research scientist Elise Donovan states that an alarming and rising number of soldiers are returning from combat suffering from PTSD, and that medications such as the beta-blocker propranolol can alleviate their symptoms. Propranolol, she argues, will help soldiers with PTSD who have essentially lost “their sense of self” reintegrate into society. Because the drug causes memory dampening, rather than memory loss, it will create an opportunity for veterans to better cope with everyday life upon returning from combat. She believes that symptoms and consequential behaviors associated with PTSD (i.e., suicide, domestic abuse, alcohol or drug abuse) will be greatly reduced in PTSD patients who take propranolol. Dr. Donovan also states that use of propranolol will foster an experience of posttraumatic growth. The President’s Council on Bioethics, chaired by Dr. Leon Kass, criticizes the use of memory-dampening drugs to treat the symptoms of trauma by asking, “What kind of society are we likely to have when the powers to control memory, mood, and mental life through drugs reach their full maturity?” The Council asserts that identities are formed by what people do and what they undergo or suffer. Escaping painful memories would necessarily result in a change in the identity of who the person is, as well as the person’s perception and understanding of significant life events.
YES: National Institute on Drug Abuse, from "Drugs, Brain, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction", The Science of Addiction (2007)
NO: Steven Slate, from "Addiction is Not a Brain Disease, It's a Choice", Steven Slate/The Clean Slate (2014)
In the NIDA publication, the argument is made that addiction is indeed a disease, and that scientific information is available about the nature, prevention, and treatment of this disease. On his website, The Clean Slate Addiction Site, Steven Slate argues that addiction to drugs and alcohol is not a disease, and to call it such we must either overlook the major gaps in the disease argument, or we must completely redefine the term “disease”. He states, “In a true disease, some part of the body is in a state of abnormal physiological functioning, and this causes the undesirable symptoms. . . In addiction, there is no such physiological malfunction.”
YES: Ron Marczyk, from "Worth Repeating: Marijuana Treats Anxiety and Depression", Original Work (2013)
NO: Robert Berezin, from "c", Psychology Today (2014)
Registered Nurse Ron Marczyk asserts that the “cannabinoid homeostatis healing perspective” has quietly been gathering evidence over the last 10 years, which overwhelmingly supports the need for human trials to test the use of medical marijuana as a psychiatric treatment. Medical evidence points strongly to a new treatment paradigm in which medical cannabinoids heal the brain in ways that shut down anxiety and depression while resetting the system. Psychiatrist Robert Berezin contends that the alleged beneficial properties of cannabis are fundamentally phony and have been put out there by the marijuana lobby in the service of promoting legalization. He views marijuana as causing a “destructive alteration of consciousness, which makes users passive, removed, intellectualized, falsely special, and not equipped to take on the challenges of life.”
Unit 3: Social, Ethical, and Legal Issues
YES: Leland Y. Yee and Steven F. Gruel, from "Brief of Amicus Curiae in Case of Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association", United States Supreme Court (2010)
NO: Patricia A. Millett, from "Brief of Amici Curiae in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association", United States Supreme Court (2010)
California State Senator Leland Yee and Attorney Steven F. Gruel (Counsel of Record for the professional associations in pediatrics and psychology) contend that substantial research shows that violent video games can cause psychological or neurological harm to minors. Studies have shown that, in addition to fostering aggressive thought and behavior, ultra-violent video games can lead to reduced activity in the frontal lobes of the brain as well as behavioral problems such as antisocial behavior and poor school performance. Senator Yee and Attorney Gruel believe that the government has a duty to protect children, and that the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, with regard to free speech, should not be used to place at risk immature children who cannot discern the difference between fantasy and reality. Attorney Patricia A. Millett (Counsel of Record for the amicus curiae submitted on behalf of the Entertainment Merchants Association) argues that there is insufficient evidence to show that violent video games can cause psychological or neurological harm to minors. Attorney Millett claims that the various studies cited in the opposing amicus curiae are either fl awed or have been discredited. She also asserts that studies have shown no compelling causal connections between playing violent video games and aggressive or antisocial behavior in youths.
YES: American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, and National Alliance on Mental Illness, from "Brief for Amici Curiae American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, and National Alliance on Mental Illness in Support of Petitioner", American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, and National Alliance on Mental Illness (2007)
NO: Greg Abbott et al., from "On Writ of Certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit: Brief for the Respondent", United States Supreme Court (2007)
The American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness collaborated in the preparation of an amici curiae brief pertaining to the case of Scott Panetti, who was sentenced to death for murder. In this brief, The argument is made that mentally ill convicts should not be executed if their disability significantly impairs their capacity to understand the nature and purpose of their punishment or to appreciate why the punishment is being imposed on them. In his position as Attorney General of Texas, Greg Abbott argued the case of Scott Louis Panetti, Petitioner v. Nathaniel Quarterman, Director, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Correctional Institutions Division, Respondent. Attorney General Abbott asserts that punishment for murder does not depend on the rational understanding of the convicted individual, but rather on the convict’s moral culpability at the time the crime was committed.
YES: APA Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion, from "Mental Health and Abortion", Report of the APA Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion (2009)
NO: Priscilla K. Coleman, from "Critique of the APA Task Force on Abortion and Mental Health", AAPLOG (2008)
The APA Task Force (TFMHA) reviewed the empirical literature and concluded that for women who have an unplanned pregnancy, the risk of mental health problems is no greater than the risk for women who deliver an unplanned pregnancy. Professor Priscilla K. Coleman contends that the TFMHA analysis of the evidence refl ects politically motivated bias in the selection of studies, analysis of the literature, and the conclusions derived.
YES: Laurie Ahern and Eric Rosenthal, from "Torture Not Treatment: Electric Shock and Long-Term Restraint in the Unites Sates on Children and Adults with Disabilities at the Judge Rotenberg Center", Mental Disability Rights International (2010)
NO: Matthew L. Israel, from "Aversives at JRC: A Better Alternative to the Use of Drugs, Restraint, Isolation, Warehousing, or Expulsion in the Treatment of Severe Behavior Disorders", Judge Rotenberg Center (2010)
Laurie Ahern and Eric Rosenthal, writing on behalf of Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI), characterize the intentional infliction of pain at JRC as human rights abuses. Psychologist Matthew Israel, director of the Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC), responds to the MDRI with insistence that JRC is using behavioral methods to save individuals from their treatment-resistant, life-threatening disorders.
YES: Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), from "'Cures' for An Illness That Does Not Exist", Pan American Health Organization (2012)
NO: International Federation for Therapeutic Choice, from "What the Research Does and Does Not Say: Is Therapeutic Support for Unwanted Same-Sex Attractions Harmful? ", Core Issues (2014)
PAHO asserts that there is no scientific evidence for the effectiveness of sexual reorientation efforts, and that efforts aimed at changing non-heterosexual orientations lack medical justification. The PAHO statement views 'conversion therapies' as threats to personal autonomy and to personal integrity. In an article approved by the International Federation for Therapeutic Choice, Philip M. Sutton contends that it is a violation of some clients’ right to “self-determination” and a potential for harm, not to offer—let alone forbid—professional care for unwanted same-sex attraction via sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE).
YES: Samuel J. Brakel and John M. Davis, from "Overriding Mental Health Treatment Refusals: How Much Process Is \"Due\"?", Saint Louis University Law Journal (2007)
NO: James B. Gottstein, from "How the Legal System Can Help Create a Recovery Culture in Mental Health Systems", Alternative 2005: Leading the Transformation to Recovery (2005)
Attorney Samuel J. Brakel and psychiatrist John M. Davis assert that society has a responsibility to take care of seriously mentally ill individuals who are incapable of making an informed decision about their need for care and treatment. Attorney James B. Gottstein contends that forced treatment of mentally ill citizens represents a curtailment of liberty which leads many people down a road of permanent disability and poverty.
YES: Barack Obama and Joe Biden, from "Gun Control", Speech or Remarks (2013)
NO: Jeffrey Goldberg, from "The Case for More Guns (and More Gun Control)", The Atlantic (2012)
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, speaking in the wake of the Newtown shooting, discuss why America needs to take a more proactive stance in limiting control to guns to prevent further mass shootings. Columnist Jeffrey Goldberg presents an argument that Americans own plenty of guns to protect themselves but will only be able to prevent mass shootings if they are more readily able to carry them at all times.
YES: Bryan Stevenson, from "Drug Policy, Criminal Justice, and Mass Imprisonment", Drug Policy, Criminal Justice and Mass Imprisonment (2011)
NO: Charles D. Stimson, from "Legalizing Marijuana: Why Citizens Should Just Say No", Legal Memorandum (2010)
Law professor Bryan Stevenson focuses on how the criminalization of drugs has led to mass imprisonment with negative consequences for law enforcement. Charles D. Stimson, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, explains that marijuana is not safe and makes more sense than the prohibition of alcohol did in the early 1900s. Further, he demonstrates that the economic benefits would not outweigh the societal costs.
YES: Pamela Paul, from "The Cost of Growing Up on Porn", The Washington Post (2010)
NO: Megan Andelloux, from "Porn: Ensuring Domestic Tranquility of the American People", Original Work (2011)
Pamela Paul, author of Pornified: How Pornography is Transforming our Lives, Our Relationships, and Our Families, argues that studies declaring the harmlessness of pornography on men are faulty, and that consequences of porn consumption can be seen in the relationships men have with women and sex. Megan Andelloux, sexuality educator and founder of the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health, argues that the benefits of porn on American society outweigh the questionable consequences. Andelloux outlines several arguments for how porn may be beneficial.
YES: Don Troop, from "Four Loko Does Its Job with Efficiency and Economy, Students Say", The Chronicle of Higher Education (2010)
NO: Jacob Sullum, from "Loco Over Four Loko", Reason Magazine (2011)
The Chronicle of Higher Education journalist Don Troop argues that the combination of caffeine and alcohol is extremely dangerous and should not be sold or marketed to college students and young people. Journal and editor of Reason Magazine Jacob Sullum disagrees and claims that alcoholic energy drinks should not have been targeted and banned since many other products are far more dangerous.