Jerome C. Wakefield

Words: 684
Pages: 3

The word disorder is a constantly debated term in the mental health field. Numerous mental health researchers and professionals have devised varying definitions to properly classify a person as having a disorder. Some classify the term disorder based on scientific approaches such as a person’s inability to reproduce while others classify a disorder based upon a person’s deviation from the social norm. In Jerome C. Wakefield’s article “The Concept of Mental Disorder: On the Boundary Between Biological Facts and Social Values,” Wakefield argues that a disorder is a harmful dysfunction and disproves six commonly attributed approaches to mental disorder. Disorder is a term which still lacks one concise definition. Wakefield states that his idea of a disorder is a harmful dysfunction. He breaks up the definition explaining his use of “harmful” as a social term and “dysfunction” as the inability to complete a natural function. Like Wakefield, many other researchers and mental health professionals have devised definitions of the term disorder, many definitions in …show more content…
One main argument skeptics of metal disorders make is that professionals cannot determine if someone has a mental disorder or just varies from norm. By telling a patient they have a disorder, professionals “…justify their medical power…” (374). Szasz, one of the skeptics, mentions his belief “… that a disorder consists of a physical lesion, with a lesion referring to a recognizable deviation in anatomical structure” (375). Wakefield points out two major flaws in Szasz reasoning. First, Wakefield states that whether one has a disorder or not, it is not uncommon for anatomical structures to vary from one person to another. Second, Wakefield addresses that one does not require a lesion in order to have a disorder. Disorders such as “…trigeminal neuralgia and senile pruritis…” lack anatomical deviation and are classified as a disorder