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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Fads and Fallacies in Psychiatry

Joel Paris

Price: £15.00

Members' discount available

Published: Nov 2013

Format: Paperback

Number of pages: 128

ISBN: 9781909726062

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 answers.


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 health.

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


1. Introduction


Part I: Origins

2. Medicine

3. Psychiatry


Part II: Effects

4. Aetiology

5. Diagnosis

6. Epidemiology

7. Psychopharmacology

8. Psychotherapy

9. Prevention


Part III. Antidotes

10. Evidence-based psychiatry

11. Overview





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Read about the inspiration for the front cover of Fads and Fallacies in Psychiatry