Tom Cruise and Psychiatry
Though many celebrities can use their popularity for good, the reverse is also true. Recently, the actor Tom Cruise "called psychiatry 'a pseudoscience' and dismissed the effectiveness of antidepressants." It's unfortunate that such comments were made because they have the potential of adding to stigma associated with brain disorders. In addition to these comments, Cruise suggested "that attitude adjustment alone can overcome (brain disorders)."
These comments have attracted the attention of Congress and now some representatives are speaking out against what Cruise said:
Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), a psychologist and...co-chair of the caucus, took issue with Cruise’s apparent belief that attitude adjustment alone can overcome mental illness.“If this was the case, mental illnesses would have been cured during the time of the Salem witch trials,” Murphy remarked.
Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.), who has long pushed for legislation to enhance mental-health services, labeled Cruise’s comments “irresponsible and counterproductive.” Kennedy said it was wrong to denigrate effective treatments at a time when “10 kids die every day from suicide as a result of untreated mental illnesses” and “when our businesses lose $31 billion per year in productivity as a result of depression alone.”
The issue of brain disorders and the stigma associated with them is a real one. Brain disorders affect people from all walks of life, and in most cases there is little the affected person can do without treatment to control what's happening to them. It's important to note that comments such as those made by Tom Cruise may encourage suffering people to stay away from treatment. In some cases this can be fatal.
Posted by Laura at June 29, 2005 11:05 AM
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I am really tired of celebrities voicing their personal opinions because they have the media's attention! (Michael Moore etc.)It may come as a surprise to some celebs that we don't care what you think!! The recent comments of Tom Cruise showed unbelievable irresponsibility, ignorance and lack of insight into a problem that is so devastating not only for the victims of mental illness but for the devoted families trying to keep their loved one alive, fed, clothed and off of the street. These clebrities are not heroes, they only pretend to be heroic people in the movies. There is NO comparison! Unfortunatly!
Posted by: Jason's Mom at July 6, 2005 07:59 AM
What Tom Cruise needs to do is adopt a child who has a neuropsychological illness, then he will realize just how much help these kids really need just to get through a day. My biological son was born with such an illness, and has exhibited symptoms literally since the day he was born. Tell me, how does one implement an "attitude adjustment" on a newborn? Furthermore, my son, who is now 12 years old, has a wonderful personality, is thoughtful, loving, kind, friendly, happy, and says prayers for the health and happiness of others all over the world. I fail to see where he needs an "attitude adjustment." His attitude is just fine; his neurological health is not. If anything, he understands other people's pain and frustration better than a "typically brained" person. He has never used his disability as an excuse, and he has willingly participted in therpies and teaching methods that have greatly helped him. Just as a person who has a physical disability can do a lot of things independently, but may need assistance in some areas, a person with a neurological disability also has independence mixed with the dependence of needing help in some areas. Disorders of the brain are real, and any one of us can literally develop a disorder at any time in our lives. My hope is that the general public realizes and understands this, and treats disabled individuals with the respect they deserve. If it were possible to "outgrow" a disorder, "unlearn" a disorder, or "adjust one's attitude" to eliminate the disorder, the hundreds of thousands of affected individuals and their families would have already done it.
Posted by: LNL at July 12, 2005 07:22 PM
As a psychologist treating the severely mentally ill in a state mental institution, I am appauled and disappointed by Mr. Cruise's comments. The clients I see often already feel so ashamed and even guilty about their disorders. Unfortunately, dogmatic and ignorant commentary by a man of Mr. Cruise's stature merely serves to further these emotions in my clients - not to mention the confusion it breeds in the rest of the general public. I was hoping that America was finally reaching a place of acceptance toward mental illness...tragically, it only takes one like Tom to turn the tide backward. *sigh* T.K.
Posted by: T.K. at July 13, 2005 11:51 PM
Come on, you know Tom is sick and manipulated.
You should blame David miscavidge.
Posted by: Ann at January 13, 2006 06:11 PM
people like tom cruise do not realise that with fame, responsibility also comes towards society.Tom cruise should understand that half knowledge is more dangerous than no knowledge and therefore he should only comment about his acting not about such sensitive topic otherwise he will require more then "attitude chnge".
Posted by: vibhav at July 11, 2006 05:37 AM
I'm sure that Tom Cruise knows much about acting and that perhaps he is taking his roles with him into his personal life and into press interviews.His opinions are his own and he's entitled to speak them.However, last time I checked, the American Medical Association had not published any of Tom's comments for treatment recommendations.
Posted by: Holly at January 17, 2008 04:28 PM