Most physicians view psychiatrists as somewhat feral animals. We suspect—with some justification—that many of their ideas are hot air. Unlike any other specialty, psychiatrists take care of people with normal labs and radiologic tests. They keep only patients with purely subjective problems. Psychiatrists pass patients who have “organic” issues such as thyroid disease to others. These are the ones with identifiable physical signs, symptoms, and tests. Likewise, psychiatrists base treatment outcomes solely on their theories and observing patient behavior rather than on measurable, objective results.
No other specialty has a sizable group of protesters who oppose their legitimacy. These include not only Scientologists, but psychologists, scientists, journalists, and a few renegade psychiatrists. These “psychiatry deniers” believe that most psychiatric drugs used today are harmful, ineffective, and vastly overprescribed. They question the specialty’s power to lock people up and force them to take damaging medications based only on their opinions.
Most of the public, however, sees psychiatry as valid, sensible, and scientifically based. Patients expect health insurance to pay for it.
Mainstream psychiatrists believe the four primary drug categories they use—the stimulants, the SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors), the benzodiazepines, and the antipsychotics—are effective, beneficial, and cause little harm. Citing their close-range experience treating mental illness, they claim that these diseases are under-treated and that even patients with mild symptoms should take medications. Their studies and standards support this. But these are so structurally compromised and biased with industry money that they are useless.
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