Friday, October 14, 2016

Is psychiatry currently undergoing a crisis?

Richard Bentall (mentioned in eg. previous post) and Simon Wessely (again, mentioned in eg. previous post) go head-to-head in a conference next year, as to whether psychiatry is currently undergoing a crisis. I suppose I can see both sides. Psychiatry ought to be in crisis but it isn't.

As Richard says, the biomedical model is "on the edge". Its wishful thinking about finding a biological basis for mental illness has failed to come to fruition (eg. see previous post) but that doesn't seem to matter. As Simon says, "psychiatry is in good health". It can plough ahead with its ecelectic view that it is not narrowly biomedical even though it does not really take a psychosocial perspective. I'm not sure how this impasse can be broken.

Nonetheless, I think we do need to move forward. We need to accept that psychiatrists find it difficult to give up the biomedical model (see previous post). But more of them need to abandon the faith that mental illness is due to brain disease.


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