Wednesday, 10 October 2012
First, do no harm: Confronting the myths of psychiatric drugs
New paper by Phil Barker, University of Dundee, and Poppy Buchanan-Barker, Clan Unity International. Nursing Ethics 2012.
The enduring psychiatric myth is that particular personal, interpersonal and social problems in living are
manifestations of ‘mental illness’ or ‘mental disease’, which can only be addressed by ‘treatment’ with
psychiatric drugs. Psychiatric drugs are used only to control ‘patient’ behaviour and do not ‘treat’ any
specific pathology in the sense understood by physical medicine. Evidence that people, diagnosed with
‘serious’ forms of ‘mental illness’ can ‘recover’, without psychiatric drugs, has been marginalized by drugfocused research, much of this funded by the pharmaceutical industry. The pervasive myth of psychiatric
drugs dominates much of contemporary ‘mental health’ policy and practice and raises discrete ethical issues
for nurses who claim to be focused on promoting or enabling the ‘mental health’ of the people in their care.
For full paper click here