“Psychiatry on Trial” (translation of the article “El Juicio a la Psiquiatría” posted by No Gracias”)

Original article in Spanish: http://www.nogracias.eu/2015/08/22/juicio-a-la-psiquiatria/

In 2010, the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University launched a laboratory to study the institutional corruption (we have chosen to translate this important political concept as “institutional drift”).

[ . . . ] “mission or curricular purpose gradually and unconsciously drifts away to some other purpose or purposes.” [ . . . ] 

The objective of this project, in the words of its first director Lawrence Lessing, is “not detect bad people doing bad things”. The corruption to be studied is a more ordinary, a more regular, and a more frequent one:

“The product of a number of influences weakening the effectiveness of an institution, especially, declining social trust in it.”

Professor Lisa Cosgrove at the University of Massachusetts and journalist Robert Whitaker have written the history of institutional corruption that has plagued psychiatry as a medical discipline. In their recent book, “Psychiatry Under the Influence: Institutional Corruption, Social Injury, and Prescriptions for Reforms” describing with detail how two main driving forces allowing this institutional drift are:

(1) The economic interests of the pharmaceutical industry.
(2) corporate interests of psychiatry.

The deployment of data, deep critical re-reading of the scientific evidence considered milestones of the psychiatric drug research so far, and the rich philosophical, social and political arguments used in reflection make this work an indisputable reference to address, not only the institutional corruption that has affected psychiatry during the past 35 years, but also to understand the drift of the very same medical profession (as shown, is worth reading one chapter previously published as an independent work, translated to Spanish by the blog postpsiquiatría). Therefore, we will devote numerous posts to analyze several key points that seems essential to research solutions to the conflicts of interest that threaten not only psychiatry but medicine as a whole.

The book is divided into three parts: “Seeds of corruption”, “Corrupt Science” and “The search for solutions.” Psychiatry, according to the authors, “is at the epicenter of the credibility crisis of medicine”:

Psychiatry Under the Influence

Psychiatry Under the Influence: Institutional Corruption, Social Injury, and Prescriptions for Reform

apa-new-white-250x250

But besides the known conflicts arising from economic interests, there is another source of corruption, not least important, but often receives less attention: the corporate interests (“guild interest”). The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is a scientific association and also a professional organization and, therefore, interested in protecting and enhancing their own specialty:

Psychiatry Under the Influence

Psychiatry Under the Influence: Institutional Corruption, Social Injury, and Prescriptions for Reform

Key questions for the authors, are:

Psychiatry Under the Influence

Psychiatry Under the Influence: Institutional Corruption, Social Injury, and Prescriptions for Reform

American psychiatry has had an influence that goes far beyond the US:

Psychiatry Under the Influence

Psychiatry Under the Influence: Institutional Corruption, Social Injury, and Prescriptions for Reform

The text is not intended to prosecute and sue doctors or corrupt organizations.

The theory of institutional corruption assumes that all individuals and organizations are innocent but that the “economy of influence” in which they unfold is not accepted.

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