April 15, 1920|
|Died||September 8, 2012(aged 92)|
|Institutions||State University of New York Upstate Medical University|
Thomas Stephen Szasz (April 15, 1920 - September 8, 2012.) was a psychiatrist and academic. Since 1990 he had been Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at the State University of New York Health Science Center in Syracuse, New York. He was a well-known social critic of the moral and scientific foundations of psychiatry, and of the social control aims of medicine in modern society, as well as of scientism. His books The Myth of Mental Illness (1960) and The Manufacture of Madness (1970) set out some of the arguments with which he is most associated.
His views on special treatment followed from classical liberal roots which are based on the principles that each person has the right to bodily and mental self-ownership and the right to be free from violence from others, although he criticized the "Free World" as well as the communist states for their use of psychiatry and "drogophobia". He believed that suicide, the practice of medicine, use and sale of drugs and sexual relations should be private, contractual, and outside of state jurisdiction.
- 1 Life
- 2 The rise of Szasz's arguments
- 3 Szasz's main arguments
- 4 Therapeutic State
- 5 American Association for the Abolition of Involuntary Mental Hospitalization
- 6 Relationship to Citizens Commission on Human Rights
- 7 Criticism
- 8 Russell Tribunal
- 9 Awards
- 10 See also
- 11 Writings by Szasz
- 12 Secondary literature
- 13 References
- 14 External links
Szasz was born to Jewish parents Gyula and Lily Szász on April 15, 1920, in Budapest, Hungary. In 1938, Szasz moved to the United States, where he attended the University of Cincinnati for his Bachelor of Arts in medicine, and received his medical degree from the same university in 1944. Szasz completed his residency requirement at the Cincinnati General Hospital, then worked at the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis from 1951–1956, and then for the next five years was a member of its staff – taking twenty-four months out for active duty with the U.S. Navy.
In 1962 Szasz received a tenured position in medicine at the State University of New York. Szasz had first joined SUNY in 1956.
Szasz's views of psychiatry were influenced by the writings of Frigyes Karinthy.
The rise of Szasz's arguments
Szasz first presented his attack on "mental illness" as a legal term in 1958 in the Columbia Law Review. In his article he argued that mental illness was no more a fact bearing on a suspect's guilt than is possession by the devil.
In 1961 Szasz gave testimony before a United States Senate committee in which he argued that the use of mental hospitals to incarcerate people defined as insane violated the general assumptions of patient-and-doctor relationships and turned the doctor into a warden and a keeper of a prison.
Szasz's main arguments
As Szasz said, having become convinced of the metaphorical character of mental disorders, the frequent injuriousness of psychiatric treatments, the immorality of psychiatric coercions and excuses, he set himself a task to delegitimize the legitimating agencies and authorities and their vast powers, enforced by psychiatrists and other mental health professionals, mental health laws, mental health courts, and mental health sentences.Template:Rp
Szasz was a critic of the influence of modern medicine on society, which he considered to be the secularisation of religion's hold on humankind. Criticizing scientism, he targeted in particular psychiatry, underscoring its campaigns against masturbation at the end of the 19th century, its use of medical imagery and language to describe misbehavior, its reliance on involuntary mental hospitalization to protect society, or the use of lobotomy and other interventions to treat psychosis. To sum up his description of the political influence of medicine in modern societies imbued by faith in science, he declared:
Since theocracy is the rule of God or its priests, and democracy the rule of the people or of the majority, pharmacracy is therefore the rule of medicine or of doctors.
Szasz consistently paid attention to the power of language in the establishment and maintenance of the social order, both in small interpersonal as well as wider socio-political spheres:
The struggle for definition is veritably the struggle for life itself. In the typical Western two men fight desperately for the possession of a gun that has been thrown to the ground: whoever reaches the weapon first shoots and lives; his adversary is shot and dies. In ordinary life, the struggle is not for guns but for words; whoever first defines the situation is the victor; his adversary, the victim. For example, in the family, husband and wife, mother and child do not get along; who defines whom as troublesome or mentally sick?...[the one] who first seizes the word imposes reality on the other; [the one] who defines thus dominates and lives; and [the one] who is defined is subjugated and may be killed.
His main arguments can be summarised as follows:
- The myth of mental illness: "Mental illness" is an expression, a metaphor that describes an offending, disturbing, shocking, or vexing conduct, action, or pattern of behavior, such as schizophrenia, as an "illness" or "disease". Szasz wrote: "If you talk to God, you are praying; If God talks to you, you have schizophrenia. If the dead talk to you, you are a spiritualist; If you talk to the dead, you are a schizophrenic." While people behave and think in ways that are very disturbing, and that may resemble a disease process (pain, deterioration, response to various interventions), this does not mean they actually have a disease. To Szasz, disease can only mean something people "have," while behavior is what people "do". Diseases are "malfunctions of the human body, of the heart, the liver, the kidney, the brain" while "no behavior or misbehavior is a disease or can be a disease. That's not what diseases are" Szasz cited drapetomania as an example behavior which many in society did not approve of, being labeled and widely cited as a 'disease' and likewise with women who did not bow to men's will as having "hysteria" Psychiatry actively obscures the difference between (mis)behavior and disease, in its quest to help or harm parties to conflicts. By calling certain people "diseased", psychiatry attempts to deny them responsibility as moral agents, in order to better control them.
People who are said (by themselves or others) to "have" a mental illness can only have, at best, a "fake disease." Diagnoses of "mental illness" or "mental disorder" (the latter expression called by Szasz a "weasel term" for mental illness) are passed off as "scientific categories" but they remain merely judgments (judgments of disdain) to support certain uses of power by psychiatric authorities. In that line of thinking, schizophrenia is not the name of a disease entity but a judgment of extreme psychiatric and social reprobation. Szasz calls schizophrenia "the sacred symbol of psychiatry" because those so labeled have long provided and continue to provide justification for psychiatric theories, treatments, abuses, and reforms. The figure of the psychotic or schizophrenic person to psychiatric experts and authorities, according to Szasz, is analogous with the figure of the heretic or blasphemer to theological experts and authorities. According to Szasz, to understand the metaphorical nature of the term "disease" in psychiatry, one must first understand its literal meaning in the rest of medicine. To be a true disease, the entity must first, somehow be capable of being approached, measured, or tested in scientific fashion. Second, to be confirmed as a disease, a condition must demonstrate pathology at the cellular or molecular level.
A genuine disease must also be found on the autopsy table (not merely in the living person) and meet pathological definition instead of being voted into existence by members of the American Psychiatric Association. "Mental illnesses" are really problems in living. They are often "like a" disease, argued Szasz, which makes the medical metaphor understandable, but in no way validates it as an accurate description or explanation. Psychiatry is a pseudo-science that parodies medicine by using medical sounding words invented especially over the last 100 years. To be clear, heart break and heart attack, or spring fever and typhoid fever belong to two completely different logical categories, and treating one as the other constitutes a category error, that is, a myth. Psychiatrists are the successors of "soul doctors", priests who dealt and deal with the spiritual conundrums, dilemmas, and vexations – the "problems in living" – that have troubled people forever.
Psychiatry's main methods are those of conversation or rhetoric, repression, and religion. To the extent that psychiatry presents these problems as "medical diseases," its methods as "medical treatments," and its clients – especially involuntary – as medically ill patients, it embodies a lie and therefore constitutes a fundamental threat to freedom and dignity. Psychiatry, supported by the State through various Mental Health Acts, has become a modern secular state religion according to Szasz. It is a vastly elaborate social control system, using both brute force and subtle indoctrination, which disguises itself under the claims of scientificity. The notion that biological psychiatry is a real science or a genuine branch of medicine has been challenged by other critics as well, such as Michel Foucault in Madness and Civilization (1961), and Erving Goffman in Asylums (1961).
- Separation of psychiatry and the state: State government by enforcing the use of shock therapy has abused Psychiatry with impunity. If we accept that "mental illness" is a euphemism for behaviors that are disapproved of, then the state has no right to force psychiatric "treatment" on these individuals. Similarly, the state should not be able to interfere in mental health practices between consenting adults (for example, by legally controlling the supply of psychotropic drugs or psychiatric medication). The medicalization of government produces a "therapeutic state," designating someone as "insane" or as a "drug addict".
In Ceremonial Chemistry (1973), he argued that the same persecution which has targeted witches, Jews, Gypsies or homosexuals now targets "drug addicts" and "insane" people. Szasz argued that all these categories of people were taken as scapegoats of the community in ritual ceremonies. To underscore this continuation of religion through medicine, he even takes as example obesity: instead of concentrating on junk food (ill-nutrition), physicians denounced hypernutrition. According to Szasz, despite their scientific appearance, the diets imposed were a moral substitute to the former fasts, and the social injunction not to be overweight is to be considered as a moral order, not as a scientific advice as it claims to be. As with those thought bad (insane people), those who took the wrong drugs (drug-addicts), medicine created a category for those who had the wrong weight (obeses).
Szasz argued that psychiatrics were created in the 17th century to study and control those who erred from the medical norms of social behavior; a new specialization, drogophobia, was created in the 20th century to study and control those who erred from the medical norms of drug consumption; and then, in the 1960s, another specialization, bariatrics, was created to deal with those who erred from the medical norms concerning the weight which the body should have. Thus, he underscores that in 1970, the American Society of Bariatic Physicians (from the Greek baros, weight) had 30 members, and already 450 two years later.
- Presumption of competence: Just as legal systems work on the presumption that a person is innocent until proven guilty, individuals accused of crimes should not be presumed incompetent simply because a doctor or psychiatrist labels them as such. Mental incompetence should be assessed like any other form of incompetence, i.e., by purely legal and judicial means with the right of representation and appeal by the accused.
- Death control: In an analogy to birth control, Szasz argued that individuals should be able to choose when to die without interference from medicine or the state, just as they are able to choose when to conceive without outside interference. He considered suicide to be among the most fundamental rights, but he opposed state-sanctioned euthanasia. In his 2006 book about Virginia Woolf he stated that she put an end to her life by a conscious and deliberate act, her suicide being an expression of her freedom of choice.
- Abolition of the insanity defense: Szasz believed that testimony about the mental competence of a defendant should not be admissible in trials. Psychiatrists testifying about the mental state of an accused person's mind have about as much business as a priest testifying about the religious state of a person's soul in our courts. Insanity was a legal tactic invented to circumvent the punishments of the Church, which, at the time included confiscation of the property of those who committed suicide, which often left widows and orphans destitute. Only an insane person would do such a thing to his widow and children, it was successfully argued. Legal mercy masquerading as medicine, said Szasz.
- Abolition of involuntary hospitalization: No one should be deprived of liberty unless he is found guilty of a criminal offense. Depriving a person of liberty for what is said to be his own good is immoral. Just as a person suffering from terminal cancer may refuse treatment, so should a person be able to refuse psychiatric treatment.
- Our right to drugs: Drug addiction is not a "disease" to be cured through legal drugs (Methadone instead of heroin; which forgets that heroin was created in the first place to be a substitute to morphine, which in turn was created as a substitute to opium), but a social habit. Szasz also argues in favor of a drugs free-market. He criticized the war on drugs, arguing that using drugs was in fact a victimless crime. Prohibition itself constituted the crime. He argued that the war on drugs leads states to do things that would have never been considered half a century before, such as prohibiting a person from ingesting certain substances or interfering in other countries to impede the production of certain plants (e.g. coca eradication plans, or the campaigns against opium; both are traditional plants opposed by the Western world). Although Szasz was skeptical about the merits of psychotropic medications, he favored the repeal of drug prohibition.Template:Citation needed
"Because we have a free market in food, we can buy all the bacon, eggs, and ice cream we want and can afford. If we had a free market in drugs, we could similarly buy all the barbiturates, chloral hydrate, and morphine we want and could afford." Szasz argued that the prohibition and other legal restrictions on drugs are enforced not because of their lethality, but in a ritualistic aim (he quotes Mary Douglas's studies of rituals). He also recalls that pharmakos, the Greek root of pharmacology, originally meant "scapegoat". Szasz dubbed pharmacology "pharmacomythology" because of its inclusion of social practices in its studies, in particular through the inclusion of the category of "addictiveness" in its programs. "Addictiveness" is a social category, argued Szasz, and the use of drugs should be apprehended as a social ritual rather than exclusively as the act of ingesting a chemical substance. There are many ways of ingesting a chemical substance, or drug (which comes from pharmakos), just as there are many different cultural ways of eating or drinking. Thus, some cultures prohibit certain types of substances, which they call "taboo", while they make use of others in various types of ceremonies.
Szasz also drawn analogies between the persecution of the drug using minority and the persecution of Jewish and homosexual minorities.
The Nazis spoke of having a "Jewish problem." We now speak of having a drug-abuse problem. Actually, “Jewish problem” was the name the Germans gave to their persecution of the Jews; “drug-abuse problem” is the name we give to the persecution of people who use certain drugs.
Szasz cites Rep. James M. Hanley referring to drug users as "vermin," using "the same metaphor for condemning persons who use or sell illegal drugs that the Nazis used to justify murdering Jews by poison gas--namely, that the persecuted persons are not human beings, but 'vermin.'"
Szasz was wrongly associated with the anti-psychiatry movement of the 1960s and 1970s. He was not opposed to the practice of psychiatry if it is non-coercive. He maintains that psychiatry should be a contractual service between consenting adults with no state involvement. In a 2006 documentary film called Psychiatry: An Industry of Death released on DVD Szasz stated that involuntary mental hospitalization is a crime against humanity. Szasz also believes that, if unopposed, involuntary hospitalization will expand into "pharmacratic" dictatorship.
The "Therapeutic State" is a phrase coined by Szasz in 1963. The collaboration between psychiatry and government leads to what Szasz calls the “therapeutic state”, a system in which disapproved actions, thoughts, and emotions are repressed ("cured") through pseudomedical interventions.Template:Rp Thus suicide, unconventional religious beliefs, racial bigotry, unhappiness, anxiety, shyness, sexual promiscuity, shoplifting, gambling, overeating, smoking, and illegal drug use are all considered symptoms or illnesses that need to be cured.Template:Rp When faced with demands for measures to curtail smoking in public, binge-drinking, gambling or obesity, ministers say that “we must guard against charges of nanny statism.” The “nanny state” has turned into the “therapeutic state” where nanny has given way to counselor. Nanny just told people what to do; counselors also tell them what to think and what to feel. The “nanny state” was punitive, austere, and authoritarian, the therapeutic state is touchy-feely, supportive – and even more authoritarian. According to Szasz, “the therapeutic state swallows up everything human on the seemingly rational ground that nothing falls outside the province of health and medicine, just as the theological state had swallowed up everything human on the perfectly rational ground that nothing falls outside the province of God and religion.”Template:Rp Faced with the problem of “madness,” Western individualism proved to be ill prepared to defend the rights of the individual: modern man has no more right to be a madman than medieval man had a right to be a heretic because if once people agree that they have identified the one true God, or Good, it brings about that they have to guard members and nonmembers of the group from the temptation to worship false gods or goods.Template:Rp A secularization of God and the medicalization of good resulted in the post-Enlightenment version of this view: once people agree that they have identified the one true reason, it brings about that they have to guard against the temptation to worship unreason – that is, madness.Template:Rp
Civil libertarians warn that the marriage of the State with psychiatry could have catastrophic consequences for civilization. In the same vein as the separation of church and state, Szasz believes that a solid wall must exist between psychiatry and the State.
American Association for the Abolition of Involuntary Mental Hospitalization
Believing that psychiatric hospitals are like prisons not hospitals and that psychiatrists who subject others to coercion function as judges and jailers not physicians, Szasz has made efforts to abolish involuntary psychiatric hospitalization for over two decades, and in 1970 took a part in founding the American Association for the Abolition of Involuntary Mental Hospitalization (AAAIMH). Its founding was announced by Szasz in 1971 on the American Journal of Psychiatry and American Journal of Public Health. The association provided legal help to psychiatric patients and published a journal, The Abolitionist.
Relationship to Citizens Commission on Human Rights
In 1969, Szasz and the Church of Scientology co-founded the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) with the aim of helping to "clean up"Template:Citation needed the field of human rights abuses. Szasz served on CCHR's Board of Advisors as Founding Commissioner, and continues to provide content for the CCHR. In the keynote address at the 25th anniversary of CCHR, Szasz stated: "We should all honor CCHR because it is really the organization that for the first time in human history has organized a politically, socially, internationally significant voice to combat psychiatry. This has never been done in human history before." Szasz, himself, does not have any membership or involvement in Scientology. In 2003, the following statement, authorized by Szasz, was posted to the official Szasz web site by its owner, Jeffrey Schaler, explaining Szasz's relation to CCHR:
Dr. Szasz co-founded CCHR in the same spirit as he had co-founded – with sociologist Erving Goffman and law professor George Alexander – The American Association for the Abolition of Involuntary Mental Hospitalization...
Scientologists have joined Szasz's battle against institutional psychiatry. Dr. Szasz welcomes the support of Jews, Christians, Muslims, and any other religious or atheist group committed to the struggle against the Therapeutic State. Sharing this battle does not mean that Dr. Szasz supports the unrelated principles and causes of any religious or non-religious organization. This is explicit and implicit in Dr. Szasz's work. Everyone and anyone is welcome to join in the struggle for individual liberty and personal responsibility – especially as these values are threatened by psychiatric ideas and interventions.
Szasz's critics maintain that, contrary to his views, such illnesses are now regularly "approached, measured, or tested in scientific fashion." The list of groups that reject his opinion that mental illness is a myth include the American Medical Association (AMA), American Psychiatric Association (APA) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).
According to American psychiatrist Allen Frances, Szasz “goes too far and draws bright lines where there are shades of gray”. In particular, Szasz was right that schizophrenia is no “disease”, but that doesn’t mean schizophrenia is a “myth.” Szasz was also right that psychiatric diagnosis can be misunderstood and misused, but that doesn’t mean it can be dispensed with. Frances adds that Szasz was correct in defining many problems related to psychiatric diagnosis, but he doesn’t offer alternative solutions.
The effectiveness of medication has been used as an argument against Szasz’s idea that depression is a myth. In a debate with Szasz, Donald F. Klein, M.D explained:
It is that elementary fact, that the antidepressants do little to normals, and are tremendously effective in the clinically depressed person, that shows us that this is an illness.
But as the New England Journal of Medicine reported on January 17, 2008, in published trials, about 60 percent of people taking the drugs report significant relief from depression, compared with roughly 40 percent of those on placebo pills. But when the less positive, unpublished trials are included, the advantage shrinks: the drugs outperform placebos, but perhaps only by a modest margin and for a brief period.
In the same debate Frederick K. Goodwin, M.D, asserts:
The concept of disease in medicine really means a cluster of symptoms that people can agree about, and in the case of depression we agree 80% of the time. It is a cluster of symptoms that predicts something.
Szasz argued that only mental illnesses are defined based on consensus and symptom clusters. It has been argued this is not the case. Critics claim physical illnesses such as Kawasaki syndrome (a disorder of the heart and blood vessels) and Ménière's disease (a disorder of the inner ear) are similarly defined.
There is also the criticism that many physical diseases were identified and even treated with at least some success decades, centuries, or millennia before their etiology was accurately identified. Diabetes is one notable example. In the eyes of Szasz's critics, such historical facts tend to undermine his contention that mental illnesses must be "fake diseases" because their etiology in the brain is not well understood.
In the summer of 2001, Szasz took a part in a Russell Tribunal on Human rights in Psychiatry held in Berlin between 30 June and 2 July 2001. The tribunal brought in the two following verdicts: the majority verdict claimed that there was “serious abuse of human rights in psychiatry” and that psychiatry was “guilty of the combination of force and unaccountability”; the minority verdict, signed by the Israeli Law Professor Alon Harel and Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho, called for “public critical examination of the role of psychiatry.”
Szasz was honored with over fifty prestigious awards including:
- the Martin Buber Award (1974);
- the Humanist Laureate Award (1995);
- the Great Lake Association of Clinical Medicine Patients’ Rights Advocate Award (1995);
- the American Psychological Association Rollo May Award (1998).
Writings by Szasz
Bibliography of Szasz's writings.
- The Second Sin. Doubleday. 1974. ISBN 0-7100-7757-2. http://books.google.com/books?id=1us9AAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover.
- The Age of Madness: A History of Involuntary Mental Hospitalization Presented in Selected Texts. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd. 1975 (1973). ISBN 0-7100-7993-1. http://books.google.com/books?id=Pt49AAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover.
- The Myth of Mental Illness: Foundations of a Theory of Personal Conduct. Harper & Row. 1974 (1961, 1967, 1977). ISBN 0-06-014196-4. http://books.google.com/books?id=x__aAAAAMAAJ&q=ISBN.
- Heresies. Doubleday Anchor. 1976. ISBN [[Special:BookSources/0-305-11162-2Template:Please check ISBN|0-305-11162-2Template:Please check ISBN]]. http://books.google.com/books?id=fI0WAAAAMAAJ&q=ISBN.
- The Therapeutic State: Psychiatry in the Mirror of Current Events. Buffalo NY: Prometheus Books. 1975 (1984). http://books.google.com/books?ei=9hv0TJyaKc6hOre5wLkK&ct=result&id=oyQeAQAAIAAJ.
- Ceremonial Chemistry: The Ritual Persecution of Drugs, Addicts, and Pushers. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press. 2003 (1974). ISBN 0-8156-0768-7. http://books.google.com/books?id=C9KRwndkEEkC&printsec=frontcover.
- Law, Liberty, and Psychiatry: An Inquiry into the Social Uses of Mental Health Practices. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press. 1989 (1963, 1965, 1968, 1972). ISBN 0-8156-0242-1. http://books.google.com/books?id=OZT1y5WFr-0C&printsec=frontcover.
- Psychiatric Justice. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press. 1988 (1965, 1971). ISBN 0-8156-0231-6. http://books.google.com/books?id=dvK7f_aNcAAC&printsec=frontcover.
- The Ethics of Psychoanalysis: The Theory and Method of Autonomous Psychotherapy. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press. 1988 (1965, 1974). ISBN 0-8156-0229-4. http://books.google.com/books?id=X2sqVmqNLWUC&printsec=frontcover.
- Pain and Pleasure: A Study of Bodily Feelings. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press. 1988 (1957, 1975). ISBN 0-8156-0230-8. http://books.google.com/books?id=dX0yYM_RqLgC&printsec=frontcover.
- Schizophrenia: The Sacred Symbol of Psychiatry. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press. 1988 (1976). ISBN 0-8156-0224-3. http://books.google.com/books?id=d840e94r4y0C&printsec=frontcover.
- The Theology of Medicine: The Political-Philosophical Foundations of Medical Ethics. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press. 1988 (1977). ISBN 0-8156-0225-1. http://books.google.com/books?id=ybCoL-fQR4IC&printsec=frontcover.
- The Myth of Psychotherapy: Mental Healing as Religion, Rhetoric, and Repression. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press. 1988 (1978). ISBN 0-8156-0223-5. http://books.google.com/books?id=aIgZAZHbkN4C&printsec=frontcover.
- Sex by Prescription: The Startling Truth about Today’s Sex Therapy. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press. 1990 (1980). ISBN 0-8156-0250-2. http://books.google.com/books?id=5uV6BAKHl6cC&printsec=frontcover.
- The Untamed Tongue: A Dissenting Dictionary. Lasalle IL: Open Court. 1990. http://books.google.com/books?id=jZcbAQAAIAAJ.
- Anti-Freud: Karl Kraus and His Criticism of Psychoanalysis and Psychiatry. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press. 1990 (1976). ISBN 0-8156-0247-2. http://books.google.com/books?id=qXApVDVKWZUC&printsec=frontcover. (First published in 1976 under the name: Karl Kraus and the Soul-Doctors: A Pioneer Critic and His Criticism of Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis. – Louisiana State University Press, 1976.)
- Ideology and Insanity: Essays on the Psychiatric Dehumanization of Man. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press. 1991 (1970). ISBN 0-8156-0256-1. http://books.google.com/books?id=ZUU3f8pwxg0C&printsec=frontcover.
- A Lexicon of Lunacy: Metaphoric Malady, Moral Responsibility, and Psychiatry. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers. 2003 (1993). ISBN 1-56000-065-1. http://books.google.com/books?id=pPDm0yCo5dkC&printsec=frontcover.
- Our Right to Drugs: The Case for a Free Market. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press. 1996 (1992). ISBN 0-8156-0333-9. http://books.google.com/books?id=2gEPHslMsKgC&printsec=frontcover.
- Cruel Compassion: Psychiatric Control of Society’s Unwanted. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press. 1998 (1994). ISBN 0-8156-0510-2. http://books.google.com/books?id=2pduB22E43oC&printsec=frontcover.
- The Meaning of Mind: Language, Morality, and Neuroscience. Westport CT: Praeger Publishers. 1996. ISBN 0-275-95603-2. http://books.google.com/books?id=r5ip0cer2VMC&printsec=frontcover.
- Insanity: The Idea and Its Consequences. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press. 1997 (1987). ISBN 0-8156-0460-2. http://books.google.com/books?id=LE5WUcD-aJUC&printsec=frontcover.
- Psychiatric Slavery. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press. 1977. ISBN 0-8156-0511-0. http://books.google.com/books?id=3OeefBqX7ggC&printsec=frontcover.
- The Manufacture of Madness: A Comparative Study of the Inquisition and the Mental Health Movement. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press. 1997 (1970). ISBN 0-8156-0461-0. http://books.google.com/books?id=hpOcRRum3XEC&printsec=frontcover.
- Fatal Freedom: The Ethics and Politics of Suicide. Westport CT: Praeger Publishers. 1999. ISBN 0-275-96646-1. http://books.google.com/books?id=5AqzlMdurkcC&printsec=frontcover.
- Pharmacracy: Medicine and Politics in America. Westport CT: Praeger Publishers. 2001. ISBN 0-275-97196-1. http://books.google.com/books?id=29HP1q6JrgYC&printsec=frontcover.
- Liberation by Oppression: A Comparative Study of Slavery and Psychiatry. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers. 2002. ISBN 0-7658-0145-0.
- Words to the Wise: A Medical-Philosophical Dictionary. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers. 2004. ISBN 0-7658-0217-1. http://books.google.com/books?id=ROlclp2hxxsC&printsec=frontcover.
- Faith in Freedom: Libertarian Principles and Psychiatric Practices. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers. 2004. ISBN 0-7658-0244-9. http://books.google.com/books?id=BXiORLCPQMMC&printsec=frontcover.
- My Madness Saved Me: The Madness and Marriage of Virginia Woolf. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers. 2006. ISBN 0-7658-0321-6. http://books.google.com/books?id=w5JeUnEE94MC&printsec=frontcover.
- The Medicalization of Everyday Life: Selected Essays. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press. 2007. ISBN 978-0-8156-0867-7. http://books.google.com/books?id=u9qWtgitwcIC&printsec=frontcover.
- Coercion as Cure: A Critical History of Psychiatry. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers. 2007. ISBN 978-0-7658-0379-5. http://books.google.com/books?id=hYdLS6qyTwUC&printsec=frontcover.
- Psychiatry: The Science of Lies. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press. 2008. ISBN 978-0-8156-0910-0. http://books.google.com/books?id=W3FALCgiwqgC&printsec=frontcover.
- Antipsychiatry: Quackery Squared. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press. 2009. ISBN 978-0-8156-0943-8. http://www.syracuseuniversitypress.syr.edu/fall-2009/antipsychiatry.html.
- Frank, Leonard Roy, ed. (2011). The Szasz Quotationary: The Wit and Wisdom of Thomas Szasz. Kindle Edition.
- Suicide Prohibition: The Shame of Medicine. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press. 2011. ISBN 0-8156-0990-6. http://www.amazon.com/Suicide-Prohibition-Medicine-Thomas-Szasz//dp/0815609906.
- Vatz, Richard (Fall 2006). "Rhetoric and psychiatry: A Szaszian perspective on a political case study". Current Psychology 25 (1): 173–181. Template:Citation error. http://www.springerlink.com/content/j138027473330740/. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
- Schaler, Jeffrey, ed. (2004). Szasz Under Fire: A Psychiatric Abolitionist Faces His Critics. Open Court Publishing Company. ISBN 0-8126-9568-2. http://books.google.com/books?id=Ts6cxoiO-o4C&printsec=frontcover.
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- Audio / video
- Audio / video
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- The Thomas S. Szasz Cybercenter for Liberty and Responsibility
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