Medicating Modern Moods
This chapter shows how Calcutta psychiatrists position themselves vis-á-vis popular “superstitions” about psychopharmaceuticals, general physicians, practitioners of nonbiomedical treatments, and the pharmaceutical industry. Psychiatrists have shared the notion that Bengalis are too focused on their digestion, with the general opinion being that Bengalis take this concern to the extreme. For the doctors—almost all of whom are Bengalis themselves—“bowel obsession” is a cluster of ideas and practices that are centered on the fixed notion that if the belly is healthy, the whole body will be healthy, too. In that vein, the chapter reveals how psychiatrists try to manage “doctor-shopping” and overcome nonadherence to treatments, and focuses on how neurochemical imbalances are likened to humoral imbalances.
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