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Daniel J. Carlat: The Trouble with Psychiatry

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Date and time
Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Noted psychiatrist and mental health journalist Daniel J. Carlat holds a discussion about the current state of the field of psychiatry and his new book, *Unhinged: The Trouble with Psychiatry—A Doctor’s Revelations About a Profession in Crisis*. In *Unhinged*, Daniel Carlat exposes deeply disturbing problems plaguing his profession, revealing the ways it has abandoned its essential purpose: to understand the mind, so that psychiatrists can heal mental illness and not just treat symptoms. Psychiatrists have settled for treating symptoms rather than causes, embracing the apparent medical rigor of DSM diagnoses and prescription in place of learning the more challenging craft of therapeutic counseling, gaining only limited understanding of their patients’ lives. Talk therapy takes time, whereas the fifteen-minute "med check" allows for more patients and more insurance company reimbursement. Yet DSM diagnoses, he shows, are premised on a good deal less science than we would think. Writing from an insider’s perspective, Dr. Carlat shares a wealth of stories from his own practice and those of others that demonstrate the glaring shortcomings of the standard fifteen-minute patient visit. He also reveals the dangers of rampant diagnoses of bipolar disorder, ADHD, and other "popular" psychiatric disorders, and exposes the risks of the cocktails of medications so many patients are put on. Especially disturbing are the terrible consequences of overprescription of drugs to children of ever younger ages. Taking us on a tour of the world of pharmaceutical marketing, he also reveals the inner workings of collusion between psychiatrists and drug companies.

Daniel J. Carlat, M.D., is Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine, and is the Editor-in-Chief of *The Carlat Psychiatry Report*, a monthly newsletter on psychopharmacology widely read by psychiatrists and nurses in the United States. His blog, The Carlat Psychiatry Blog, has received an award for outstanding mental health journalism. He also blogs for *Psychology Today* and *Psychiatric Times*. In addition to his medical writing, Dr. Carlat has written for the *New York Times*, the *New York Times Magazine*, and Wired. Dr. Carlat is an active member of the American Psychiatric Association, and is an elected Massachusetts representative on the organization's national assembly.