Monday, December 12, 2011

Some words of wisdom from Dr Allen Frances

"The label schizophrenia is still with us, but hopefully not for too much longer. It is a tired, old concept that has outlived much of its usefulness. There is not one schizophrenia: more likely a hundred causes will gradually be teased out as research goes beyond description and discovers fundamental explanations."

I would argue that this statement applies as much to autism/the autistic spectrum as it does to schizophrenia.

"People mistakenly think that naming a psychiatric problem shapes it into a simple disease with a reductionist, biological explanation."

This is a quote from a review by Dr Allen Frances of the book American Madness by Richard Noll, which has just been published in New Scientist magazine. Unfortunately much of the book review is behind a paywall. Dr Allen Frances is an Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry and was the chair of the task force in charge of DSM 4, an edition of the "bible" of American psychiatry. The book that Frances reviewed is about the evolution of the diagnostic concept of schizophrenia, a concept that is very relevant to the many articles and discussions in my blog about two interesting subjects: Jani Schofield and the ambitions of Prof. Patrick McGorry. Dr Frances has been one of the most outspoken and influential critics of the mental health policies for Australia that have been advocated by Prof. McGorry.

Why psychiatrists should mind their language
by Allen Frances
New Scientist
Magazine issue 2842 December 10th 2011 p.51.
article published online 7th December 2011

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