Friday, December 12, 2008

The Truthers and the Mentally Ill

The subject of this interesting article on ABC News.

MacDonald cautioned that not everyone who believes in a conspiracy plot is mentally ill. They just may be suggestible or just suspicious of authority.


Whether or not conspiracy theories harm people who are susceptible to mental illness is a matter of debate among psychiatrists.

We should probably ask Sean Fitzgerald's family. His conspiracy theories almost killed him and while we can't say if they killed his dad, we know that he would not have been in a position to kill his father without them.

"Most people with major mental illness don't believe in conspiracy theories," said Dr. Ken Duckworth, medical director of the National Alliance of Mental Illness.

Duckworth likes to imagine a Venn diagram with one circle representing people with paranoid psychosis and another circle representing people who believe conspiracy theories.

"They do overlap, but I can't tell you how big the overlap is," he said. "And, lizard people? Many people who are hearing voices would think that's crazy."