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Eating DrugsPsychopharmaceutical Pluralism in India$
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Stefan Ecks

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814724767

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814724767.001.0001

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Medicating Modern Moods

(p.149) 4 Psychiatry
Eating Drugs

Stefan Ecks

NYU Press

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.

Keywords:   superstitions, psychopharmaceuticals, bowel obsession, doctor-shopping, humoral imbalances, digestion, pharmaceutical industry, psychiatry

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