After Her Illness Was Misdiagnosed as Madness, Susannah Cahalan Tackles Madness in Medicine

In the tip, she discovered simply two, each former psychology graduate college students at Stanford. One, Bill Underwood, now a retired software program engineer in Austin, struck Rosenhan as so balanced that he doubted he might go for a psychological affected person. (In truth, Underwood was admitted for 9 days with a prognosis of paranoid schizophrenia.)

“When you spoke to David, he had a way of giving you the impression that you were the most important person in the world at that time,” Underwood stated in an interview. Until Cahalan contacted him, he added, it had by no means occurred to him that there could be issues with the examine.

Through Underwood, Cahalan discovered her second pseudopatient, Harry Lando.

In Rosenhan’s examine, Lando was lowered to a footnote, his information “excluded” on a technicality, allegedly as a result of he’d “falsified aspects of his personal history” when he was admitted to the hospital.

In truth, Cahalan found, Lando, who would have been pseudopatient No. 9, was minimize from the examine as a result of his expertise had been optimistic.

Lando spent 19 days at an establishment in San Francisco the place sufferers handed their days as they happy, and the employees didn’t put on uniforms. He attended group remedy classes and went on a day journey to the seaside. “The hospital seemed to have a calming effect,” Lando instructed Cahalan. Rosenhan’s touch upon Lando’s notes was withering: “HE LIKES IT.”

“Maybe we could have emerged from this with an idea that there were institutions that were doing something right,” Cahalan stated.

Instead, Rosenhan’s examine gave the imprimatur of science to a rising antipsychiatry motion. Within a decade, dozens of establishments had closed and the variety of sufferers in psychological hospitals had dropped by 50 p.c. The American Psychiatric Association rewrote its diagnostic handbook from scratch, throwing out Freudian terminology and changing it with inflexible checklists meant to standardize diagnoses.

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