The “Institutional Corruption” of Psychiatry: A Conversation With Authors of “Psychiatry Under the Influence”


Robert Whitaker and Lisa Cosgrove discuss their new book  Psychiatry Under the Influence in an interview with psychologist and social critic Bruce Levine for Truthout. In the book, Whitaker and Cosgrove apply the institutional corruption framework, developed by Larry Lessig, to psychiatry and determine that “just as elected officials develop dependency on special interests and become beholden to these funders instead of the citizenry,” psychiatry has “had its social mission subverted by drug companies as well as by the psychiatry guild’s self-preservation and expansionism needs.”

The solution, Whitaker proposes, “must come from an informed public that will see the need to strip psychiatry of its authority over this domain of our lives and instead demand that the authority be vested in a multidisciplinary group of professionals, philosophers and ‘users’ of psychiatric care.”

Cosgrove calls for a paradigm shift away from “a society that thinks there is a pill for every ill and a system that incentivizes the prescribing of pills” and towards “an appreciation of the socio-political grounding of emotional distress.”

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  1. I’ve always been skeptical towards all “mental health professionals” but after a personal experience I’ve become anti-psychiatry. Maybe we should be done with the idea that psychiatry is supposed to help people with mental illness – it’s all about power, social control and solidifying an abusive system.

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