New books detail complete failure of psychiatry: The science is bogus, kindness & empathy are absent & drugs dominate

Shockingly, people in the west are less likely to recover than those in poorer countries. Kindness and empathy are missing from the system. Drugs dominate but they don’t work well: it’s time to prescribe them only on a suck-it-and-see basis.

Liz Else
New Scientist
September 4, 2009

AT THE bottom of Pandora’s box was hope – a thought worth hanging onto when reading about psychiatry. But read we should, since up to a third of us may at some time sport a label from the psychiatrists’ bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (DSM). And the World Health Organization reckons that by 2020 depression will be the second largest contributor to the global burden of disease.

Treatment and its failures are the burden of Irving Kirsch’s The Emperor’s New Drugs and Richard Bentall’s Doctoring the Mind. The books’ subtitles signal intent: Kirsch’s is a ballistic “Exploding the antidepressant myth”. Bentall’s, interestingly, differs between US and UK editions: “Why psychiatric treatments fail” for the UK, and “Is our current treatment of mental illness really any good?” for the US.

The latter’s tentative tone may be a wise move since the US psychiatric community seems to be in even more serious meltdown than its British counterpart. Big Pharma faces legal action over the effects of antidepressants, Congress is demanding financial transparency from psychiatrists working on the DSM V due out in 2011, individuals scour the net for help, and activists struggle to find viable alternatives to drugs.

Read entire article: