Books & Articles by Thomas Szasz

Select Articles By Thomas Szasz On Psychiatry As A Human Rights Abuse The Therapeutic State ~ Psychiatry Versus Liberty Dr. Thomas Szasz writes about the…

Select Articles By Thomas Szasz

On Psychiatry As A Human Rights Abuse

The Therapeutic State ~ Psychiatry Versus Liberty

Dr. Thomas Szasz writes about the deprivation of liberty under psychiatric care and how psychiatric “slavery” has become part of medical practice and social life.

On Psychiatry as a Pseudo-Science

Against Behaviorism

Dr. Thomas Szasz debunks behaviorist B. F. Skinner, his concepts that all of man’s thoughts and feelings are merely reinforced behavior mechanisms, and how Skinner’s concepts simply degrade human beings, and their power of thought.

Medicalizing Quackery

Dr. Thomas Szasz describes how psychiatry increasingly “medicalizes” human actions and behavior and redefines them as mental disorders.

Treatments Without Diseases

Dr. Thomas Szasz discredits the theory that mental illnesses is a real disease that can be medically treated with psychiatric drugs, the same way a bacterial infection is treated with antibiotics. He addresses the controversy of psychiatric drugs, with regards to personal responsibility, forced drugging and more.

Mental Illness As Brain Disease: A Brief History Lesson

Dr. Szasz gives a brief history on how so-called mental illness came to be viewed as a “brain disease”, and exposes the lies behind this concept.

Is Mental Illness A Disease?

Dr. Thomas Szasz debunks the myth that mental disorders are diseases on par with physical illness. He points out the lack of scientific evidence to prove mental disorders are physical, as well as the difference between the mind and the brain.

The Mad-Genius Controversy

Szasz describes how psychiatry has long sought to connect the dots between genius and insanity and their futile attempts to define a connection. He further explains that psychiatrists simply redefined antiquated terminology for explaining erratic behavior, such as spirit possession, with scientific terms, like chemical imbalances—which remain meaningless.

On Child Psychiatry

Chemical Straitjackets For Children

Dr. Thomas Szasz explains what is behind the dramatic rise in the psychiatric drugging of children, particularly pre-schoolers between the ages of two and four.

On Involuntary Commitment

Psychiatric “Services”

Dr. Thomas Szasz explains some of the insidiousness of public psychiatric services, how the public is made to fear those deemed mentally disabled, so that the government will protect them. This then sets the government up to legally and administratively intervene, imprisoning in mental wards those psychiatrists deem mentally disordered.

On Free Will & Personal Responsibility

The Burden of Responsibility

Dr. Szasz discusses how psychiatry perpetuates the idea that behaviors are mental illness, in order to remove personal responsibility from the individual.

On Mental Health Parity & Insurance

Parity For Mental Illnesses, Disparity For Mental Patients

Szasz exposes how advocating “parity for mental illness” is a hoax. He says the supporters of “mental health parity” do not want parity for mental patients: They do not seek equal “legal treatment” by legislators and courts for mental patients and medical patients. What they want is parity for psychiatrists: They seek equal “monetary treatment” by health insurance companies for psychiatrists and other physicians.

On Abolishing Coercive Psychiatry

The Shame of Medicine: The Depravity of Psychiatry

Dr. Szasz lays the case for psychiatric coercion being nothing more than medicalized terrorism that has not changed for the last 300 years.


Remarks at the 35th Anniversary and Human Rights Award Dinner

Speech given by Dr. Thomas Szasz at the Citizens Commission on Human Rights International’s 35th Human Rights Awards Dinner of which he is a co-founder.

Select Books

Szasz Under Fire

The foremost opponent of psychiatric beliefs, practice, and politicized medicine, Thomas Szasz has challenged conventional thinking about freedom, responsibility, madness, medicine, and disease. In this book, Szasz takes on takes on his critics in detail, with his famous clarity, forcefulness, and wit. Topics include the idea of “mental illness”,  the insanity defense, the use and abuse of drugs, and moral and medical ethics.

Pharmacracy: Medicine and Politics in America

Dr. Thomas Szasz examines the medicalization of politics and the politics of medicine in contemporary America. At the base of what he calls our modern “pharmacracy” a state where “all sorts of human problems are transformed into diseases and the rule of law extends into the rule of medicine” stands a virulent misunderstanding of disease, in the “literal” or scientific sense.

The Myth of Mental Illness

Thomas Szasz’s classic book revolutionized thinking about the nature of the psychiatric profession and the moral implications of its practices. By diagnosing unwanted behavior as mental illness, psychiatrists, Szasz argues, absolve individuals of responsibility for their actions and instead blame their alleged illness. He also critiques Freudian psychology as a pseudoscience and warns against the dangerous overreach of psychiatry into all aspects of modern life.

The Manufacture of Madness

Dr. Szasz examines the similarities between the Inquisition and institutional psychiatry. His purpose is to show “that the belief in mental illness and the social actions to which it leads have the same moral implications and political consequences as had the belief in witchcraft and the social actions to which it led.”

Psychiatry: The Science of Lies

For more than half a century Thomas Szasz has devoted much of his career to a radical critique of psychiatry. One of his latest works, Psychiatry: The Science of Lies, is a culmination of his life’s work: to portray the integral role of deception in the history and practice of psychiatry.

The Medicalization of Everyday Life: Selected Essays

This collection of impassioned essays, published between 1973 and 2006, chronicles the author’s long campaign against the beliefs of psychiatry. From “Medicine to Magic” to “Medicine as Social Control,” the book delves into the fascinating history of medicalization, including “The Discovery of Drug Addiction,” “Persecutions for Witchcraft and Drugcraft,” and “Food Abuse and Foodaholism.”

Antipsychiatry: Quackery Squared

In the 1960s, the launching of the so-called antipsychiatry, led by the Scottish psychiatrist R. D. Laing, used this term to attract attention to themselves and deflect attention from what they did, which included coercions and excuses based on psychiatric principles and power. For this reason, Szasz rejected, and continues to reject, psychiatry and antipsychiatry with equal vigor. Placing his work under the category of antipsychiatry betrays and negates it just as much as putting it under the category of psychiatry. Szasz powerfully argues that his writings belong to neither psychiatry nor antipsychiatry, but stem from conceptual analysis, social-political criticism, and common sense.

The Untamed Tongue: A Dissenting Dictionary

Thomas Szasz criticizes the sacred cows of contemporary American society. He rails against the hypocrisy and fraudulence of the futile and murderous war against drugs, the sordid and often self-seeking practices of psychotherapy and the atrocities of psychiatry.

The Myth of Psychotherapy: Mental Healing As Religion, Rhetoric, and Repression

The world is plagued by rapists, drug users, murderers, thieves, child abusers. All are now referred to as having one form or another of “addiction” and are thus either “sick” or suffering from “mental illness.” Szasz explains how moral relativism, bolstered by psychotherapy, has prevailed over the traditional ideas of self-control, individual responsibility, and moral culpability.

Cruel Compassion: Psychiatric Control of Society’s Unwanted

Dr. Szasz examines the growing practice of coercing individuals allegedly in their own best interest. He demonstrates how moral man has been replaced by mental patient in modern society, how sin has been converted to mental illness as a way of controlling undesirables. How psychiatry disposes of those persons unwanted by society, and presents a compelling argument for limiting coercive powers of psychiatry to take away people’s personal freedom and relieve them of their personal responsibility.

Liberation by Oppression: A Comparative Study of Slavery and Psychiatry

Psychotherapy had become officially defined as a type of medical treatment, but actually was a secular-medical version of the cure of souls. Relationships between therapist and patient, Thomas Szasz argues, were based on cooperation and contract, as is relationships between employer and employee, or, between clergyman and parishioner. Through most of the twentieth century, psychiatry was a house divided – half-slave, and half-free. During the past few decades, psychiatry became united again: all relations between psychiatrists and patients, regardless of the nature of the interaction between them, are now based on actual or potential coercion. Persons designated as mental patients may be exempted from responsibility for the harmful consequences of their own behavior, if it is attributed to mental illness.

Misc. Materials

Court decisions regarding mental health law citing the views of Thomas Szasz:

Back to Main: CCHR Co-founder Dr. Thomas Szasz Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus