Tag: critical psychiatry
The writings of Pies and his colleagues, I believe, provide a compelling case study of cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance arises when people are presented with information that creates conflicted psychological states, challenging some belief they hold dear, and people typically resolve dissonant states by sifting through information in ways that protect their self-esteem and their financial interests. It is easy to see that process operating here.
On Wednesday, May 11, there will be an inquiry by a work group in the U.K.’s Parliament into whether increases in the prescribing of antidepressants are fueling a marked increase in disability due to anxiety and depression in the U.K. I wrote about a similar rise in disability in the United States in Anatomy of an Epidemic, and the All Party Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence, which is the Parliamentary group that organized the debate, asked me to present the case against antidepressants.
Dr. Jim van Os presents something unlike any other psychiatrist I have come across: a clear vision, and a pathway, for dismantling the existing mental health system and replacing it with something new that actually works. And he is doing it with all the status and prestige not only of a psychiatry insider, but as one of the world's leading scientists. Along with changes in the definitions of health and psychosis, van Os describes pilot programs now underway in The Netherlands to establish small, human-scale services — inspired by Open Dialogue — that engage the social network of people in distress. And, inspired by the best of the US "peer" movement, by involving people who have themselves recovered from madness in a treatment role.
For the Critical Psychiatry blog, Duncan Double writes that psychological formulation and psychosocial assessment may provide a way forward to a “new psychiatry” that moves on from modern concepts of mental illness as chemical imbalance or some other abnormality of the brain.
Hugh Middleton, MD, Associate Professor at the School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Nottingham, and NHS Consultant Psychiatrist, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust has written an interesting and worthwhile book, “Psychiatry Reconsidered, From Medical Treatment to Supportive Understanding.” Dr. Middleton is co-founder of the Critical Psychiatry Network and this book could serve as the foundational textbook for our field. As his academic appointment would suggest, he has a decidedly social perspective on the kinds of problems that bring many people to a psychiatrist’s attention, but in this book he offers eloquent discussions of many perspectives that inform our field. It is remarkable that in this 200 page text, he is able to cover so many topics – diagnosis, pharmacotherapy, schools of psychotherapy - with such clarity.
Critical psychiatry researcher, anthropologist and NYU professor Helena Hansen writes: “Opioid maintenance acts as a kind of pharmaceutical prosthesis which promises to return white ‘addicts’ to regaining their status as full human persons and middle-class consumers. Meanwhile, black and brown users are not deemed as persons to be rescued, but rather dangerous subjects to be pharmaceutically contained within the public discipline of the state.”
Writing on his critical psychiatry blog, Duncan Double critiques Joe Herbert’s piece on “Why can't we treat mental illness by fixing the brain?” in Aeon. While Herbert admits that there is a "mysterious and seemingly unfathomable gap" between psychology and neuroscience, which "bedevils not only psychiatry, but all attempts to understand the meaning of humanity,” he goes on to speculate that someday psychiatrists will be able to relate symptoms to brain activity.
To coincide with World Mental Health Day on October 10th, 2015, Verso Books, the largest independent and radical publishing house released a series of blogs on mental health and critical and antipsychiatry. The posts include pieces on R.D. Laing, colonialism, women’s oppression, delusions and art, “The Happiness Industry,” and social and institutional oppression.
The Critical Psychiatry Network is concerned with the way the controversy over the publication of DSM-5 is being portrayed in the media and by some academic psychiatrists. The issues raised by the DSM are complex and require careful and studied consideration. There are two aspects in particular that concern us. These relate to the portrayal of the controversy as a guild dispute, and the polarisation of the debate as one of nurture versus nature.
The decision by the National Institute of Mental Health to part company with the APA’s forthcoming DSM-5 should not be taken as evidence that biological psychiatry is entering a terminal decline. Far from it, as the Director of NIMH Thomas Insel’s blog of 29th April 2013 makes clear, the reason NIMH has opted for its own Research Diagnostic Criteria (RDoC) is because they believe psychiatric patients deserve something better.
The DSM claims to be a scientific system of classification. The validity of any system of scientific classification is the extent to which it can be shown to reflect the real world. Fifty years of study and investigation, and huge sums of money spent across the Western world on neuroscientific research institutes, on careers and equipment, has failed to establish the validity of a single psychiatric diagnosis.
Over the last twenty years there has emerged a body of work that questions the assumptions that lie beneath psychiatric knowledge and practice. This work, appearing as academic papers, magazine articles, books, and chapters in books, hasn’t been written by academics, sociologists or cultural theorists. It has emerged from the pens and practice of a group of British psychiatrists.
This shorter-than-usual contribution signifies a departure from my earlier blogs. It is the first in an occasional series that uses semi-fictional clinical narratives to examine some of the difficulties that face people who use psychiatric services in England, and the psychiatrists and other mental health professionals who work in them.
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