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Dissent and Resolution

Dissent and Resolution

The Triumph of Biological Psychiatry

(p.69) 4 Dissent and Resolution
Doctoring the Mind
Richard P. Bentall
NYU Press

This chapter looks at the biggest threat faced by psychiatry during the early 1970s: antipsychiatry. South African psychiatrist David Cooper coined the term antipsychiatry to express his objection to the kind of dehumanizing treatment being offered to severely ill patients in large mental hospitals. By the mid-1970s, antipsychiatric ideas were being embraced not only by dissident psychiatrists but also by sociologists, philosophers, and other intellectuals clamouring to establish their anti-Establishment credentials. Ultimately, antipsychiatry had a lasting impact in only one country—Italy. Most conventional psychiatrists agreed with Thomas Szasz that physical pathology is the hallmark of disease. The chapter looks at the rapid acceleration in research—prompted by the discovery of new drugs such as chlorpromazine and imipramine—into the biology of mental illness which led to renewed confidence in the medical approach.

Keywords:   antipsychiatry, mental hospitals, David Cooper, anti-Establishment, Thomas Szasz, chlorpromazine, imipramine, biological psychiatry

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