Joanna Moncrieff: "Psychiatry has its head in the sand"

Link to this article by the psychiatrist Joanna Moncrieff: 

“Royal College of Psychiatrists rejects discussion of crucial research on antipsychotics”


Some leading psychiatrists have been publicly critical of the overhyping of antipsychotics (7) and there are undoubtedly many others who are concerned about these research findings and trying to avoid antipsychotic drug treatment if possible, and use low doses for short periods where not. I have expressed the hope that as this research becomes more widely known, others will follow suit.

My illusions were recently shattered, however, by the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ conference planning committee.  Recently I proposed a symposium for the 2014 annual conference entitled ‘Re-evaluating antipsychotics- time to change practice?’ I invited Lex Wunderink, the first author of the Dutch study, to discuss his study, along with a leading British psychiatrist involved in brain scanning studies of people with schizophrenia. I was confident the symposium would be accepted, because obviously, I thought, the conference committee would recognise the importance of this research, and want to ensure it was widely publicised to, and debated by, members of the profession.

To my astonishment it was rejected. I wrote to the conference organiser to ask why, pointing out that patients, carers and the general public are wondering what the profession is doing about these research findings. They would be most surprised to know that the profession did not consider the results sufficiently interesting to merit discussion at the principal meeting of UK psychiatrists. She replied that there were too many competing suggestions. So I asked if any of the symposia selected covered these same areas of research.  I did not get a reply.

The symposium was suggested to discuss recent research findings which suggest that long-term antipsychotic treatment is associated with some important physical and functional disadvantages. 
Members of the Critical Psychiatry Network wrote to the Conference Committee to seek clarification as it was felt that it was important for psychiatrists to reflect upon these findings and the implications on clinical practice.

Something Rotten in the State of British Psychiatry?

Philip Thomas, MD

February 11, 2014
Delegates attending the International Congress of the Royal College of Psychiatrists at London’s Barbican Centre in June this year will almost certainly not hear about the results of the seven-year outcome of the Dutch First Episode (FE) study widely discussed on Mad in America in recent months.

2 thoughts on “Joanna Moncrieff: "Psychiatry has its head in the sand"

  1. I have deleted an anonymous post that warns against one specific psychiatrist. As I see it, this is not the right forum for such warnings, even if I do realize that they can be very important.

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