Researchers Call on Psychiatry to Abandon Biomedical Framework

Scholars reveal concerns about biomedical psychiatry, calling for a more scientific, unique, and effective approach to mental health care.

This report by Kevin Gallagher has been published by Mad in America. It begins:

“A newly published study in the Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology by researchers Sara Campolonghi and Luisa Orrù from the University of Padua in Italy illuminated serious concerns about the biomedical framework psychiatry uses to treat mental disorders.

They argue that psychiatry, a discipline attempting to understand the mind using a medical approach often reserved for the body, finds itself in a perplexing position. This confusion, they say, has led to more problems than solutions, creating ‘more illness than effective treatment and relief.’

They point out that the conflation of medical illness and mental health has resulted in significant ethical issues and an urgent need for a more scientific and practical way to help those who suffer from mental disorders.

The authors stress that it’s time to recognize the limitations of psychiatry, stating that there are ‘implications of abandoning psychiatry’s biological framework in mental health care and the possibility for psychiatry to find its own specific, unique, and legitimate space of knowledge and practice.

In modern, Western cultures, ‘mental illness’ is often attributed to abnormalities in brain functioning. Whether they are described as genetic malformations, chemical imbalances, or epigenetic disturbances, the cause of depression, addiction, schizophrenia, and other mental diseases are seemingly always assumed to reside at the biological level. However, we do not diagnose mental illness via tools such as blood work or fMRI imaging, where doctors would be able to see the malformations and apply a diagnosis, leading to a set of possible treatments and cures …”

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