Since his appointment as Australian of the Year, Professor Patrick McGorry has established a prominent profile in the media, calling for major mental health reform. It is clear that many people, including the Federal Government, are listening to him…. Under McGorry’s proposed reform, large numbers of “false positives” – young Australians – would be caught by the wide early intervention net and exposed to serious risks from drugs that have not been proven to be effective.
Ten years ago, if you described shyness or restless legs as a bona fide illness, people would have laughed. But these conditions are just part of an epidemic of newly-invented illnesses sweeping Britain. And we take them so seriously we’re prepared to swallow handfuls of strong and sometimes harmful pills. As the Mail reported yesterday, we have become a nation of pill poppers…
Two essays published in separate periodicals this week raise troubling questions about the extent to which psychiatrists may be unduly influenced by the pharmaceutical industry, and how this relationship may effect public trust in psychiatry. The upshot? The concern about corruption, or at least the appearance of corruption is palpable. Sigmund Freud (see photo) would not be pleased. Interestingly, one of the authors is Tom Insel, the director of the National Institute of Mental Health.
Among all the problematic suggestions for DSM5, the proposal for a ” Psychosis Risk Syndrome” stands out as the most ill conceived and potentially harmful. It aims to solve a pressing problem in psychiatry- the need for early identification and preventive treatment. Psychotic episodes create tremendous short term impairment and may impact negatively on long term prognosis and treatment efficacy. It would save great suffering if we could get there early and do something useful to reduce the lifetime burden of illness before too much damage is done. But good intentions are not enough.
The irresistible, plus-size piñata for on-the-case journalists is the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, now undergoing revision. The DSM famously includes snoring and jet lag as mental disorders. I took a whack last year, calling the 880-page doorstop “a naked land grab by a profession threatened with marginalization by biomedical research.”