There may actually be some good news coming out of academia. “This really is a profession that has run amok,” Robert Whitaker, author of Anatomy of an Epidemic said of psychiatrists in a recent interview with Celeste McGovern which appeared in Citizen magazine. “People are beginning to question its legitimacy and they are beginning to mistrust its values, its diagnoses and its treatments.”
McGovern writes that, “Even medical students are avoiding it, he adds, as the average age of psychiatrists is now 57.” Citizen is published by Focus on the Family. McGovern is based in the United Kingdom.
“Every day in the United States, 850 adults and 250 children are added to the federal government’s disability benefit rolls because of mental illness,” McGovern reports. “That means about 400,000 people are incapacitated each year, to say nothing of hundreds of thousands more diagnosed with less-crippling psychiatric illnesses.”
“The alarming growth rate of this phenomenon is reflected in American spending on psychiatric drugs: Between 1985 and 2007, spending on antidepressants and anti-psychotics alone multiplied nearly 50 times, from $503 million to more than $24 billion annually.”
Part of this trend is catalogued in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental illness 5, compiled by the American Psychiatric Association. “Its current version, the DSM-IV, last updated in 1994, defines 297 disorders based on diagnostic checklists of symptoms,” McGovern relates. “A diagnosis of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), for example, is given if clinicians can tick off six of a list of symptoms, including ‘not listening,’ ‘fidgeting’ and ‘losing things.’”
“Today, at least 3 million American children are taking amphetamine drugs like Ritalin as a result of ADHD diagnoses.” The links between psychiatry and pharmaceuticals go deeper than is usually reported, McGovern shows.
“Far from being an isolated case, a study from University of Massachusetts-Boston found that 70 percent of the psychiatrists working on the DSM-5 revision have financial ties to the industry,” McGovern relates.
Stuart Kirk, professor emeritus of social welfare at UCLA told McGovern that “Big Pharma has bought the profession of psychiatry, at least it’s leadership cadre.” Kirk is the author of the forthcoming book, Mad Science: The Disorders of American Psychiatry.
Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.
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