Who determines who is sane or insane? This question has plagued psychiatrists, psychologists, doctors, attorneys, and others forever.
This is the story of eight "very sane" psychiatry students and a doctor who submitted themselves to an examination using the exact same criteria and all of them were committed to various mental institutions where they had to prove their sanity to be released. These pseudopatients upset the apple cart because it showed the full extent of the difficulty in proving mental illness. Like Nellie Bly before them, these courageous test subjects had to endure poor quality care, indifference and over medication. No surprise that the medical community tried to discredit Dr. Rosenhan and his study and he never ended up publishing his book. Susannah Cahalan having been misdiagnosed and institutionalized, understands firsthand how difficult it is to make a clear diagnosis and the need for greater understanding. She provides a fascinating look at how barbaric the treatments were, how far we have come and how much better we need to be.
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