The second part of Marcia Angell's article on the epidemic of mental illness has just appeared on-line and I recommend it as much as I do the first part. In this installment, Angell discusses the shift by psychiatry away from talk therapy to psychopharmocology (which has been reported recently in the NY Times) and the increasing influence of the DSMR in psychiatry. I won't go into a detailed account of her report, but I will say that it presents an appalling picture of the influence that the pharmaceutical industry has not only in treating mental illness, but also in defining it. She also provides an incisive critique of the flawed methodology that supports the contemporary understanding of mental illness. A warning, though: this article might provoke reactions of depression and rage, for it is disheartening to see how in the treatment of mental suffering psychiatry often makes its victims more estranged from human reality than do the conditions it attempts to treat. For me Laing (who was not mentioned in the article at all) hovered in the background wearing a smirk as if to say 'I told you so.' I kept thinking of what he once referred to as a science of persons (in The Divided Self) in which he argues that the experiences of actual human beings could not be reduced to a bio-chemical or physiological source. I am not sure about the science bit--uncertainty, it seems to me, is the first principle of being human. But the more I train to be psychotherapist the greater my respect grows for the richness and depth of interpersonal experience-- of being a human being with other human beings-- for here we find human reality: it is where and how we live, yet it remains ultimately mysterious. Laing once described psychotherapy as the stubborn attempt of two persons to communicate the experience of being human. I believe this is what many of us want to do and sadly, what psychiatry no longer has any interest in.
In today’s New York Times, Dr Peter Kramer responded to recent press reports, including Marcia Angell’s article The Epidemic of Mental Illness, that have raised serious doubts about the effectiveness…Continue
The second part of Marcia Angell's article on the epidemic of mental illness has just appeared on-line and I recommend it as much as I do the first part. In this installment, Angell discusses the…Continue