This introductory chapter explores the prevailing attitudes in India regarding the use of psychopharmaceuticals, especially in the neologism, moner khabar, or “mind food.” The efficacy of psychopharmaceuticals, especially of antidepressants, has long been the subject of controversy. Moner khabar was coined with the intention of making psychotropic drugs acceptable to those hesitant to take them. However, the author notes that although the parallels between food and psychopharmaceuticals were strongly established in one hospital, not all psychiatrists were equally ready to simplify—or dissimulate—psychiatric models for their lay clients. Indeed, in the hundreds of consultations that were witnessed, psychiatrists' explanations of disease etiologies and drug effects were either absent or kept to a bare minimum.
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