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Concerns with Psychiatry: A Pseudoscience or Protoscience?

A thought-provoking comment on Quora criticizing Psychiatry as a pseudoscience sparked my curiosity. Why do people harbor such a strong dislike or fear of Psychiatry? The commenter claimed there was no evidence of anyone truly benefiting from psychiatric treatment. As I reflected on my own experiences, I encountered both unpleasant and positive encounters with Psychiatry, prompting a deeper examination of its effectiveness and the concerns surrounding it.

Observations & Concerns with Psychiatry

Encounter with Dr. Shetty

In 2018, while struggling with anxiety, I sought a trustworthy Psychiatrist and messaged Dr. Shetty in Mumbai. His blunt response denying sufficient time for patient case history before prescribing medication shocked me. Later, I met someone who had been a patient of Dr. Shetty and shared a disheartening experience of the doctor’s disregard for patient concerns. This incident reinforced the notion of psychiatrists driven solely by financial gain, devoid of genuine care for patients.

Positive Recovery Story

In contrast, I encountered a story of hope through Psychiatry. My ex’s aunt, who experienced a mental breakdown, was under the care of a Psychiatrist named Dr. Roy. With his guidance, she made a complete recovery from psychosis and resumed her normal life. Although she relied on medication, it allowed her to function and regain control.

Personal Medication Experience

Under Dr. Roy’s care, I was prescribed (Fluoxetine) Prozac for six months to manage my anxiety. However, the medications caused severe discomfort, almost making me feel as if I were on the brink of death. The side effects persisted for weeks but gradually subsided. Despite this, I have now discovered the potential dangers of Fluoxetine through an article published in 2017 wherein I learned (8.6.2023) how dangerous the drug was and why Eli Lilly had to bring it to the market almost on the verge of going bankrupt. This revelation raised concerns about the medications prescribed by psychiatrists and their long-term effects.

Contemplating Psychiatry’s Validity

Reflecting on these experiences, I question whether Psychiatry can be deemed a pseudoscience or protoscience. While success stories exist, my witness cases of despair, conflicts, and exploitative individuals posing as psychiatrists, is alarming. That I chose to study Psychology now is the primary reason to bust this tension. Think of Dr. Dave giving me a prescription for psychotic drugs without a diagnosis and that totally horrified me. It gave me massive headaches and blurred my eyesight completely.

Trust in Psychiatric Care

As I delve deeper into the realm of Psychiatry as a patient, I am increasingly shocked and disheartened by the flaws and potential dangers within the field. While I acknowledge success stories, the presence of exploitative practitioners undermines trust in psychiatric care. Addressing these concerns and ensuring the provision of effective, ethical psychiatric support remains an imperative task for the betterment of mental health care.

Concerns with Psychiatry: Conclusion

It is critical to approach the examination of Psychiatry objectively and with the awareness that it is not intended to offend or undermine the dedication of psychiatrists who have spent years in medical school. Instead, it promotes a broader view of mental health care. While psychiatrists play a crucial role in the profession, it is also critical to recognize the expertise of other disciplines, such as Neurology and Psychology, in dealing with mental difficulties that may not be completely cured. We can foster a collaborative approach to mental health care that prioritizes patients’ well-being by recognizing the strengths and limitations of each field.

A version of this appeared on Twitter on June 8, 2023

Linda Ashok

Linda Ashok is an India English Poet & Polymath. She is a mental health advocate studying Psychology from IGNOU'25.