Saturday, September 19, 2009

Medicalization of suffering

A subject to think about from the University of Tasmania, Australia.

“It is stated (Cloninger, 2006), “Psychiatry has failed to improve the average levels ofhappiness and well-being in the general population, despite vast expenditures on psychotropic drugs and psychotherapy manuals.” This comes as no surprise, surely psychiatry set out to help disordered individuals, not save mankind. Perhaps psychiatry may be poised to repeat history, and make claims of potency which are totally unrealistic.

Following the era of psychoanalysis and reliance on various forms of psychotherapy,came a wave of interest (which is persists to the present time) in the biological aspects of psychiatry. With this biological focus, psychiatry has relatively neglected the psychosocial aspects of mental disorders.
In large part, medicalization is a response to psychosocial changes in society, the lossof traditional ways of understanding the world and sources of support. Summerfield(2004) observes a loss of religion as means of explanation of the vicissitudes life, a cultural preoccupation of emotional trauma, a promotion of personal rights and alanguage of entitlement. For him, this is “an age of disenchantment” (Summerfield,2001). Pupavac (2001, 2004) drew attention to the social policy focus on “risk management” which she believes erodes confidence and resilience.

Thus, at a time when psychiatry is moving toward a more biological stance, changes
in society call for greater attention to psychosocial factors”.

Reference: Medicalization of suffering

This article is from the University of Tasmania and you can read the entire book here:

Do not miss a related subject Recovery among psychiatrists at the Annual meeting of the Puerto Rico Academy of Psychiatry. See program below: