“Thoughtful and clinically based”

Professor Rob Howard, UCL old age psychiatrist has described this blog on psychiatrists and antidepressants as “thoughtful and clinically based” and that he would  “welcome critics of antidepressants and Psychiatry using the same standards of argument as Dr Dawson”.

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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