Joanna Moncrieff on “Psychiatric Prejudice”

In this article from 2014, dr Moncrieff writes: 

Some  of the recent accusations of psychiatric prejudice were made in response to articles in the British press by Danish doctor, Peter Gøtzsche, a leading member of the highly respected organisation for analysing medical evidence, the Cochrane Collaboration (2). Gøtzsche argued that evidence for the benefits of psychiatric drugs, like antidepressants, was so weak and flawed, and adverse effects so often under-rated or ignored, that the widespread use of these drugs was likely to be doing more harm than good. Other people have made similar claims, including Peter Breggin, Irving Kirsch and Robert Whitaker, but coming from the heart of medicine itself, this attack may have been more painful than others. In a direct response to Gøtzsche’s article, five leading psychiatrists accused those who criticised psychiatric drug treatment as demonstrating ‘deep-seated stigma’ against mental health, insulting psychiatry and ‘reinforcing stigma against mental illnesses and the people who have them’ (3). In another article in the Times, psychiatrist Simon Wessely, newly elected president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, complained that other doctors were prejudiced against mental health, and look down on psychiatry. Although acknowledging widespread overmedicalisation and overprescription, Wessely too asserted that psychiatric drugs treat real disorders and that it is ‘nonsense’ to sugges

Christopher Lane: “The problem with heroizing Robert Spitzer”

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/side-effects/201601/the-problem-heroizing-robert-spitzer

A quote: 

In the days following Robert Spitzer’s untimely death last month, aged 83, the focus turned naturally to reviewing the many accomplishments of his long and influential career. Colleagues working on subsequent editions of the DSM, such as PT blogger Allen Frances, spoke warmly of his charm and charisma (very much in evidence to me that afternoon in February 2006), as well as his achievement in removing homosexuality from the DSM in 1973. As Frances reminded, Spitzer reached this difficult outcome in an altogether different climate, under hostile opposition from conservative colleagues who denounced him for heeding the objections of lesbians and gays themselves, much less for accepting that their concerns had any bearing on psychiatry itself.

Recent comparisons have also been made between DSM-III and its precursor, DSM-II, the edition from 1968 that, Spitzer admitted to me, had been edited by just one person, Sir Aubrey Lewis at the Maudsley Institute of Psychiatry in London. But such comparisons almost certainly put the bar too low, making everything else shine in comparison. According to Spitzer, it was Lewis who, without consultation and at a stroke of his pen, redefined multiple psychiatric conditions simply by striking the word “reaction” from them. “Schizophrenic reaction,” with its implied allusion to context, intensity, and frequency, suddenly became “Schizophrenia,” with suggested permanency and seemingly limitless recurrence. In turn, it was Spitzer who led the effort to add the word “disorder” to a large number of related conditions, effectively turning them into semi-permanent, even life-long biological states with an almost inevitable relation to pharmaceuticals.

And a screenshot:

Paula J. Caplan : "Listen to veterans"

The original post is being rewritten and will be reposted elsewhere. 

Link to a recommendation of this book in the MIT Press home page: 


https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/when-johnny-and-jane-come-marching-home

Quote: 

Traumatized veterans returning from our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are often diagnosed as suffering from a psychological disorder and prescribed a regimen of psychotherapy and psychiatric drugs. But why, asks psychologist Paula J. Caplan in this impassioned book, is it a mental illness to be devastated by war? What is a mentally healthy response to death, destruction, and moral horror? In When Johnny and Jane Come Marching Home, Caplan argues that the standard treatment of therapy and drugs is often actually harmful. It adds to veterans’ burdens by making them believe wrongly that they should have “gotten over it”; it isolates them behind the closed doors of the therapist’s office; and it makes them rely on often harmful drugs. The numbers of traumatized veterans from past and present wars who continue to suffer demonstrate the ineffectiveness of this approach.

Sending anguished veterans off to talk to therapists, writes Caplan, conveys the message that the rest of us don’t want to listen—or that we don’t feel qualified to listen. As a result, the truth about war is kept under wraps. Most of us remain ignorant about what war is really like—and continue to allow our governments to go to war without much protest. Caplan proposes an alternative: that we welcome veterans back into our communities and listen to their stories, one-on-one. (She provides guidelines for conducting these conversations.) This would begin a long overdue national discussion about the realities of war, and it would start the healing process for our returning veterans.

Related:

When “Jane” Comes Marching Home Again

 | June 1, 2012