‘Real Psychiatry’

Dr George Dawson, MD, DFAPA is an American psychiatrist and is the author of this blog:

I have included the two images above of Dr Dawson, separated as they are by several decades, because Dr Dawson uses the central image as his Twitter ident. It would therefore be easy to be confused by the perception rather than the reality.

Dr Dawson began his blog in February 2012, and in his first post explained the reasons for doing so:

“I thought that a blog written by a psychiatrist who has no stake in bashing psychiatry and who has successfully treated patients for over two decades is long overdue. In the absurd world of today’s media and their completely unrealistic portrayal of psychiatry and psychiatrists, political arguments can be advanced against the field and that leads to a rapid acceleration of bashing of the field fueled by others who frequently don’t know a thing about psychiatry.”

I have read a number of Dr Dawson’s blog posts, particularly those of the last few years. I have done so as a fellow psychiatrist who has worked for over twenty-five years for the NHS.  I have submitted comments to Dr Dawson’s blogs a number of times and have always been polite but unfortunately they have never been approved by Dr Dawson as the moderator.

On the last day of 2019, Dr Dawson published this blog: Antidepressants Are Not Miracle Drugs – They Are Also Not Tools Of The Devil, stating that he wanted to present “a less intense but serious note about antidepressants”.

This blog post has had enthusiastic appreciation from a number of British psychiatrists . Given that I did not agree with my colleagues I submitted the following comment to Dr Dawson’s blog:

"I have now read through your blog several times and do not agree with some of my colleagues. The blog refers to a “war on antidepressants which is really a war on psychiatry” and contains a number of such military metaphors. It is my view that such language is not constructive and deepens divides.

I note that you have used the following language to describe contributions that you do not agree with: “rhetoric”“not valid” and “they have nothing positive to offer.”

You repeat that the ‘chemical imbalance theory’ was never actually held by psychiatry as it does not appear in Text books. I am aware that you have previously described this theory’ as “anti-psychiatry propaganda”.

Throughout this blog you use the term “antipsychiatry”. 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."

My comment was not approved:

In a previous post Dr Dawson has shared a helpful summary chart of the ‘Identity’ of a psychiatrist including the following:

These interpersonal skills naturally involve the use of language and this chart is a good reminder of that if we are all to work together to the benefit of our patients.

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