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Rebellion has Become a Mental Illness
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For a generation now, disruptive young Americans who rebel against authority figures have been increasingly diagnosed with mental illnesses and medicated with psychiatric (psychotropic) drugs.

It's called oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), and it's officially a mental illness: "a pattern of negativistic, hostile and defiant behavior." This youngster "often actively defies or refuses to comply with adult requests or rules" and "often argues with adults."

One aspect conveniently overlooked, however, is that with adults they respect these supposedly obnoxious young people are delightful, cooperative, and interactive. Adults they don't respect receive their outspoken opposition.

Or they defy adults passively, by "going stupid." I can remember students in my class who wouldn't oppose me openly, but would play dumb and shut down. I discovered later that the teacher who had them the previous year was sarcastic and verbally abusive and the dumbing down was a self-protective response.

It took several months to re-establish trust and open, responsive classroom collaboration. They had had to survive an oppressive environment and learn to trust again.

Perhaps we adults see the open defiance of authority as so threatening, because we ourselves have learned to be obedient to authority, complying with meaningless norms and rules. In our own sense of shame and anxiety, we label these outspoken youngsters as abnormal.

After all, criminalization and pathologization of defiant behavior are two ways to control and subdue the nonconformist, the rebel.

The medications used to drug these children and young people are big cash cows for the large pharmaceutical companies. Can you perceive a partnership between the authoritarian state and the corporation?

Note: this blog entry is a precis of the linked article by Bruce E. Levine plus comments of my own.

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