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date: 26 June 2022

p. 845. Psychiatry under attack – inside and outlocked

p. 845. Psychiatry under attack – inside and outlocked

  • Tom Burns


According to ‘Psychiatry under attack’, the relationship between the mind and the brain is the big issue in psychiatry. It would be simple if psychiatry were about ‘brain diseases’. Psychiatry, however, concerns ‘mental’ illnesses. While many mental illnesses involve brain disorders, not all brain diseases are mental illnesses. Psychiatry originally viewed mental illnesses as inherited weaknesses. However, Freud and his followers emphasized ‘nurture’ rather than ‘nature’. The ‘anti-psychiatry movement’ of the 1960s and 1970s, led by Szasz, Foucault, and Laing, condemned psychiatry as confusing at best and an instrument of oppression at worst. There is now less opposition to psychiatry though disquiet remains about aspects of its practice.

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