The Epidemic of Mental Illness & The Illusions of Psychiatry
November 30, 2011
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These two pieces came up in the internal medicine grand rounds at Stanford this morning (Phiip Pizzo, the dean of the medical school brought them up), and they are very interesting! They are about the strong ties of academic/research psychiatrists with the pharmaceutical industry, problems with disease mongering if the face of vague diagnostic definitions, and the validity of many trials when biologically active placebos often do as well as the medications.
A very lively discussion (i.e. very contentious):
Marcia Angell is a pathologist, with her own biases, so for example it’s easy for her to say “I believe doctors should be prohibited from prescribing psychoactive drugs off-label, just as companies are prohibited from marketing them off-label” when she doesn’t’ see patients. On the other hand, she is famous in her own right, and is an un-conflicted but knowledgeable party able to comment externally on the field of psychopharmacology, and I think they are very interesting and thought provoking reviews.
One of the responders makes a funny and good point: “Surely anyone who’s ever had a drink knows that there must be a biological substrate to mental states”.