Flooding the world with psychiatric drugs could boost the burden of mental disorders

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From STAT. To reduce the rising burden of mental disorders around the world, the Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health and Sustainable Development has declared a need to increase psychiatric services globally, which should include an effort to “reduce the cost and improve the supply of effective psychotropic drugs for mental, neurological, and substance use disorders.”

While reducing the burden of mental disorders is certainly a laudable goal, we believe that implementing this plan will increase the global burden of mental disorders rather than decrease it.

Following the American Psychiatric Association’s publication of the third edition of its “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual” (DSM III) in 1980, there has been a remarkable expansion of the psychiatric enterprise in the United States and other developed countries. That expansion, which included dramatically increasing the use of psychiatric drugs, offers a lesson from the past that helps predict the effect of a planned “global” expansion of psychiatric services.

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MITUK’s mission is to serve as a catalyst for fundamentally re-thinking theory and practice in the field of mental health in the UK, and promoting positive change. We believe that the current diagnostically-based paradigm of care has comprehensively failed, and that the future lies in non-medical alternatives which explicitly acknowledge the causal role of social and relational conflicts, abuses, adversities and injustices.