Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dr Tanveer Ahmed, a consultant psychiatrist - Mental health claims overblown

From The Sydney Morning Herald

In one of the most heralded critiques of modern psychiatric diagnosis, Professors Wakefield and Horwitz, in their 2008 book The Loss of Sadness describe how context has been removed from what is called illness within mental health.

Instead, as long as people satisfy a criteria for impairment they can be considered ill. Grief-like or behaviourally disturbed reactions to significant losses, such as that of a job, divorce or bankruptcy, automatically qualify as illness. Only the death of a loved one is classified separately.

Much of the posturing around mental health funding does not mention the significant contribution of drug and alcohol abuse that overlaps with what passes for mental health, especially in the field of early psychosis. This is likely to be calculated, given drug use raises questions about morality and individual responsibility whereas mental health elicits a non-specific sympathy.

Psychiatric diagnosis has enormous cultural power in many other fields, from the marketing of antidepressant medications to preventive efforts in schools, general medical practice, disability claims and many legal proceedings. What might seem like abstract, technical issues concerning these definitions have important consequences for individuals and how their suffering is understood and addressed.

Psychiatry has always been the most political of medical disciplines and tends to produce the best doctor-politicians. McGorry is a shining example. While the sector could certainly do with more funds, the exorbitant claims regarding untreated mental illness are indicative of a blurring of the lines between illness and normal, human responses to adversity.

SOURCE (for full article)

Via the Food & Health Skeptic

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

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