Military language

The following blog has just been published by Dr George Dawson, a senior American psychiatrist: Antidepressants Are Not Miracle Drugs – They Are Also Not Tools Of The Devil. The author begins by stating that he wanted to present “a less intense but serious note about antidepressants”.

Professor Rob Howard, a British psychiatrist, has already offered unequivocal support of  this blog, describing it as “an elegant and balanced piece of writing.” I have now read through this blog several times and do not agree with this assessment. Dr Dawson talks of  a “war on antidepressants which is really a war on psychiatry” and the text contains a number of such military metaphors. It is my view that such language is not constructive and deepens divides.

Dr Dawson uses the following language to describe contributions that he does not agree with: “rhetoric”, “not valid” and “they have nothing positive to offer.”

Dr Dawson repeats his argument that the ‘chemical imbalance theory’ was never actually held by psychiatry as it does not appear in Text books. Dr Dawson has previously described this theory’ as “anti-psychiatry propaganda”.

Throughout his text, Dr Dawson uses the term “antipsychiatry”. His use of this term seems to include anybody who has described mixed experiences of antidepressants. My worry here is that this will limit scientific learning particularly when there is a dearth of evidence on which to base long-term prescribing.

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