Monday, March 01, 2010

I Might As Well Go Home Now.

Psychiatry's getting blasted this week: we don't know what we're doing, our diagnoses are not valid or reliable, our treatments no better than placebo and we maxed out in the 1960's with imipramine. Yesterday's NYTimes Magazine article on The Upside of Depression (see my post) implies that we're derailing evolution by treating what may be an adaptive condition, and The Wall Street Journal says Psychiatry Needs Therapy ! Edwarder Shorter writes:
Psychiatry seems to have lost its way in a forest of poorly verified diagnoses and ineffectual medications. Patients who seek psychiatric help today for mood disorders stand a good chance of being diagnosed with a disease that doesn't exist and treated with a medication little more effective than a placebo.

What's a shrink to do with this? Perhaps the diagnoses we make are wrong and the meds we use are ineffective, but at the end of the day, the patients seem to get better. Maybe it's my charm (hmmm, there's a thought) or the concurrent psychotherapy, or some other non-specific factor...maybe the cognitive dissonance that you have to believe that anything you're paying a small fortune for has to be working.

So do read Shorter's article and tell us what you think.