Fads and Fallacies in Psychiatry
Aspects of mental illness are still a mystery.
Answers to the most important questions in psychiatry may require
decades of further research, so it is important to critique
contemporary practice – especially as fads in psychiatry have
occurred not only on the fringe, but in the very mainstream of
theory and practice. Some of the trendiest theoretical paradigms
may turn out to be unsupported by data. In diagnosis, some faddish
approaches to classification are unlikely to last. In treatment,
both psychopharmacology and psychotherapy sometimes embrace
interventions with a weak base in evidence that run the risk of
doing harm to patients.
This book examines fads and fallacies, both
past and present, that plague psychiatry, both in diagnosis and in
treatment. These include overdiagnosis (especially of depression,
bipolar disorder, ADHD, PTSD and autism), overtreatment with
pharmaceuticals and the assumption that neuroscience has all the
Until we really understand the nature of
serious mental illness, psychiatrists need to resist fads in
diagnosis and treatment. The best antidote lies in cautious
conservatism and the principles of evidence-based practice.
Readership: All mental health
professionals, with a wider audience of those interested in mental
About the author: Prof Joel Paris
is Professor of Psychiatry, McGill University, Montreal,
Canada. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Journal of
Psychiatry. His research interests lie in personality
disorders, and he has published 185 peer-reviewed articles, 17
books, and 44 book chapters.
"To describe it as a stimulating read is an understatement - it
is simply superb. ... Anybody, whether a mental health
professional, a patient or an interested member of the public,
whether sceptical or affirmative of psychiatry, should read this
book. ... It will guide treatment and thus benefit our patients.
This is a book that gives cause for optimism to psychiatrists and
to our patients alike."
- Irish Independent
"Easy to read, full of interesting comments, citations, facts,
and is interesting reading for all psychiatrists, clinicians,
academicians, researchers. We should all read it, pause and think
about all those fads and fallacies and what we can do to avoid them
and better the care of our patients."
- Annals of Clinical Psychiatry
Part I: Origins
Part II: Effects
Part III. Antidotes
10. Evidence-based psychiatry