|Sigmund Freud and his daughter Anna|
I just read two very interesting articles in The New York Review of Books, written by Marcia Angell about the state of psychiatry today. Angell is a Senior Lecturer in Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a former Editor in Chief of the New England Journal of Medicine. She is also an outspoken, vehement critic of both the United States' healthcare system and, particularly, the pharmaceutical industry. Here's a quote of hers from a recent PBS interview:
Our health care system is based on the premise that health care is a commodity like VCRs or computers and that it should be distributed according to the ability to pay in the same way that consumer goods are. That's not what health care should be. Health care is a need; it's not a commodity, and it should be distributed according to need. If you're very sick, you should have a lot of it. If you're not sick, you shouldn't have a lot of it. But this should be seen as a personal, individual need, not as a commodity to be distributed like other marketplace commodities. That is a fundamental mistake in the way this country, and only this country, looks at health care. And that market ideology is what has made the health care system so dreadful, so bad at what it does.
The two-part article that I just finished is titled The Epidemic of Mental Illness: Why? and The Illusion of Psychiatry and is partly a review of several new and prominent non-fiction books about the "epidemic" of mental health diagnoses and the concomitant rise in the use of psychopharmacology. It's a shocking article that I can't stop thinking about, and I highly recommend that everyone read it, particularly those that use drugs to combat depression, anxiety and the like, as well as those who debate the merits of medicating children for ADHD and other mental health disorders. I know this is a controversial subject, but all controversy demands near-constant reflection.
Here are the links:
The Epidemic of Mental Illness:Why?
The Illusions of Psychiatry