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This article is, essentially, an examination of what the medical profession and society generally mean by the term 'mad', and what relevance 'madness' has to modern psychiatry. It suggests that 'madness' differs from 'mental illness' and that psychiatry only deals with the latter. It concludes that for any rigorous, rational approach to psychiatry to be attempted an accepted framework of what constitutes mental illness must be used. This is the important role of ICD 10 and DSM IV which help to ensure that psychiatrists do not act as 'moral gaolers of the state'.

Original publication




Journal article


Med Sci Law

Publication Date





32 - 34


Humans, Mental Disorders, Psychiatric Status Rating Scales, Psychiatry, Terminology as Topic