Psychiatry is a pseudo-science. In colloquial terms, it is malarkey. When was the last time a psychiatrist cured anyone of anything? Is it possible that psychiatrists are nothing more than quack remedy peddlers for Big Pharma: a.k.a. drug pushers?
Could psychiatry be the discipline into which Medical Associations shunt overly ambitious yet academically sub-par medical students who they do not trust to hold a scalpel or to be front-line general practitioners and specialists?
True science is based on scientific method which involves the rigorous observation of physical, verifiable phenomena; the formulation of hypotheses relating to the objects of study; experimentation to test premises, and the confirmation, modification or rejection of the proposition(s) advanced based on the ability of researchers to duplicate one or more theorized outcomes.
Considering this, does psychiatry qualify as science? Not really, as it is largely based on "treating" anecdotal states of mind, and any success rate cannot be empirically established or verified. In any given test group of psychiatric patients, results of "treatment" will vary with each individual involved. This indicates that outcomes often cannot be duplicated, except in a very general sense., i.e. tranquilizers will, well, tranquilize. On the other hand, behavioural control and modification can be duplicated.
Such influence is a terrifying tool in the wrong hands. At some point, people will look back on psychiatric activities and shake their heads, much like secularists view the practice of exorcism in our own day. Have you ever heard of a psychiatrist being successfully sued for malpractice? It almost never happens.
Psychiatrists have the lowest incidence of malpractice claims among state-licensed medical practitioners. This is not because they do such good work, but rather, because the moment anyone walks into a lawyer's office and tells them that they want to sue their psychiatrist for malpractice, hands are thrown in the air. Think about it. You see a psychiatrist? You must be of unsound mind. Good luck with that.
In a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2011, entitled "Malpractice Risk According to Physician Specialty," the numbers emphasize the point. The methodology for the study runs as follows:
We analyzed malpractice data from 1991 through 2005 for all physicians who were covered by a large professional liability insurer with a nationwide client base (40,916 physicians and 233,738 physician-years of coverage). For 25 specialties, we reported the proportion of physicians who had malpractice claims in a year, the proportion of claims leading to an indemnity payment (compensation paid to a plaintiff), and the size of indemnity payments. We estimated the cumulative risk of ever being sued among physicians in high- and low-risk specialties.
Of the 40,916 physicians in the study, 3011 were psychiatrists and comprised the fifth largest group of individuals in identified fields of practice that took part. The average annual incidence of malpractice lawsuits among the psychiatric specialty was 2.6% of the total of 3011 psychiatrists, which equals 78.3 individuals. Across all specialties the average incidence of malpractice claims per annum was 7.6%. with 19.1% in neurosurgery, 18.9% in thoracic–cardiovascular surgery, and 15.3% in general surgery. The average across all specialties for incidences where claims resulted in indemnity payments was 1.6% of cases.
As the specific percentage for psychiatry was not indicated in the article cited above, I applied the average for all the specialties, or 1.6%, against the 78.3 individual psychiatrists at risk annually for malpractice claims, and the result is a staggering (sic) 1.25 psychiatrists! In other words, out of 3011 practicing psychiatrists, an average of 78.3 of them could expect malpractice suits against them in any given year. Of those, all things being equal, a mere 1.25 will be required to make indemnity payments to any claimants. Furthermore, the resulting payment in such successful claims is the third lowest amount of all the specialties examined, averaging around $50,000. Thus the prospects of conducting a successful malpractice lawsuit against your psychiatrist are not very good. And in the unlikely event that you win, the award may not even cover your legal costs.
The cultural theorist Michel Foucault singled out the psychiatric profession for criticism by exposing its origins in his book, Madness and Civilization. From the ludicrous to the inhumanely abusive practices that Foucault catalogues, his depiction of the origins of psychiatry as a pseudo-scientific practice driven by political and social forces is quite sobering.
Is there anything of value in psychiatry? If the purpose of psychiatry is Pavlovian social engineering and behavioural conditioning of individuals to serve authoritarian political ends, then it is a valuable tool for anyone in the business of oppressing and controlling others.
That aside, there is little of healthful benefit in psychiatry, and even less that does not involve padding the bottom line of pharmaceutical concerns. Speaking of the pharmaceutics, it is now an established fact that psychiatric drugs are responsible for more deaths of users than heroin and cocaine. But just try and pursue a malpractice claim against the prescribers of those drugs and see how far you get.
I confess to being more than a little skeptical when it comes to anything that any psychiatrist may say or do in the course of their “practice”. My unsolicited and purely disinterested advice is to avoid them like the plague. But what do I know?