‘Psychotic’ used to mean evil

Dear Mr Elliot,

I am writing to express my concern at the phrase: ‘For the sudden eruption of trolling, rape threats and 24-hour psychosis into my timeline has been a reminder that evil exists in the world’, in this article by Paul Mason: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/19/leave-twitter-facebook-paul-mason?CMP=twt_gu


Psychosis is a serious medical condition, which carries a heavy burden of stigma. I have repeatedly faced unwarranted exclusion and discrimination because of my own diagnosis. Equating psychosis with ‘evil’ is profoundly unhelpful.

I and others tried asking @paulmasonnews about this on Twitter, he responded with phrases such as ‘[psychosis] unleashes ppl into manic verbal attacks’ https://twitter.com/paulmasonnews/status/370195102637240320

but this is not a symptom of psychosis. In fact psychosis is more likely to occur with symptoms like formal though disorder or thought withdrawal, which tend to cause people to talk less.

I would appreciate it if you would please consider appending a note to the article correcting this misuse of a medical term, in view of the damaging effects of stigma and discrimination on people who experience psychosis.

Thank you,


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