How many of us, like Dr Jauhar, are today guided by “the rules of science”?
This short film is based on an edit of this interview and debate, aired on ‘All in the Mind’, Radio 4, on Tuesday 27 November 2018. The other participant was Professor John Read:
Psychiatrists of my generation were all “educated” about the “chemical imbalance theory” of depression. This was the universal message sold through the pharma-sponsored “Defeat Depression Campaign”. This was presented as a “rule of science” and we were taught that it applied to all!
Today, Dr Jauhar is rightly arguing that Good Medical Practice should be about the individual, and not based on “ideology”.
The most obvious question to ask is why the profession of Psychiatry has NOT looked at prescribing in this individualised way? The opportunity has been there for many decades now.
Today, in Scotland, almost 1 in 5 of our population are taking an antidepressant, often long-term or indefinitely. Yet this long term prescribing has a very poor evidence base.
Meantime, the paid opinion leaders who control the narrative, are currently spending academic and clinical time, looking for novel psychiatric drugs including antidepressants.
Dr Jauhar is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London (KCL). This College is one of several UK institutions that offer “strategic partnerships with industry” and provides a research environment for paid opinion leaders. I called this post “the rules of science” as Dr Jauhar used this term in this interview. This term has also been used in criticism of the methodology used by those studying the issue of antidepressant withdrawal. It is enormously disappointing that influential institutions such as KCL appear to prioritise research into new psychiatric drugs at the expense of any meaningful study of the potential for adverse effects of existing medications. Perhaps this is an example of another “rule of science” namely that research agendas are led by industry?