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The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease is 2010 book written by psychiatrist Jonathan Metzl (who also has a Ph.D. in American studies), and published by Beacon Press, covering the history of the 1960s Ionia State Hospital—located in Ionia, Michigan and now converted to a prison. The facility is claimed to have been one of America's largest and most notorious state psychiatric hospitals in the era before deinstitutionalization. The book focuses on exposing the trend of this hospital to diagnose African Americans with schizophrenia because of their civil rights ideas. The book suggests that in part the sudden influx of such diagnoses could be traced to a change in wording in the DSM-II, which compared to the previous edition added "hostility" and "aggression" as signs of the disorder. Metzl writes that this change resulted in structural racism.
The book was well reviewed in JAMA, where it was described as "a fascinating, penetrating book by one of medicine's most exceptional young scholars." The book was also reviewed in the American Journal of Psychiatry, and in the journals Social History of Medicine and Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine.
- Book page on the publisher's web site
- The Protest Psychosis video recording of talk by Metzl aired on January 13, 2010 by CSPAN-2's Book TV (90 minutes)
- Interview with Metzl about the book by Christopher J. Lane on Psychology Today
- Interview with Metzl on WNYC radio, February 12, 2010
- How the Black man became schizophrenic blog post on the book by Karen Franklin on Psychology Today
- Schizophrenia as Political Weapon. The disease turned from a benign illness to a violent disease in the 1960s, just as black men joined protests against racism. article and interview with Metzl in The Root by Felicia Pride
- The protest psychosis – Essay by Metzl from June 9, 2010 in Michigan Today, summarizing the book's ideas.
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