Jon Dun – Is psychiatry’s drug addiction increasing the stigma of mental illness?

This is a reblog from the blog of the Menninger Clinic, and the complete post can be found here – the below is just a taster!

“I deliberately chose a tendentious title for this essay – misleadingly metaphorical rather than literal – to highlight, as one of my recent posts outlines, my alarm stemming from reading research on stigma.

With many others, I had assumed that treating psychiatric disorders as “a disease like any other” (i.e., like any other general medical condition) would ameliorate stigma. This biological perspective reflects a longstanding trend away from moralizing toward medicalizing mental illness – in Karl Menninger’s words, transforming “sin” into “sickness.”

Research on attitudes toward mental illness
In believing that we would thereby ameliorate stigma, we were wrong. My previous post was inspired by Erlend Kvaale and colleagues’ synthesis of extensive research that yielded surprising findings. Although construing mental illnesses as brain disorders decreases blame of the mentally ill person, it does not reduce stigma (i.e., social distancing). Moreover, this reframing can be harmful: It increases pessimism about prognosis, and it also risks increasing perceived dangerousness.”



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2 responses to “Jon Dun – Is psychiatry’s drug addiction increasing the stigma of mental illness?

  1. Pingback: Jon Dun – Is psychiatry’s drug addiction increasing the stigma of mental illness? | IMH Blog Nottingham | donquixotedotme

  2. The illness that stems from the imperative to be in a better predicament makes us vulnerable to the way-ward prescribing of those whose professions are founded upon our need to get better and the inherent vulnerability of our crises place us in subjection to the sometimes ill-founded persuasiveness of the psychiatrist who believes in pharmaceutical agencies as the primary transactions for improving our prognoses.

    How far this mis-leads the whole psychiatric profession is one thing: how far this sets back the prospect of improving patients’ health and progress is more crucial. Why any psychiatrist would consider mental health without regard for the overall physical well-being of the client is beyond me. But that is how it is: we do not have integrated healthcare because this group of clinicians is not well-disposed to pursuing such a set of conditions. Thus it is that pharmaceutical companies treat psychiatric conditions to the satisfaction of standards of efficacy of NICE but leave a legacy of premature demise and destruction for the clients who die some twenty years before our time. These are the prevailing conditions of the treatment of psychosis in 2014 and no one in well-disposed to alter these conditions. Consider this document and lets ask ourselves if we should not be going back to first principles and questioning our whole methodology for treatment.

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