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Doctoring the MindIs Our Current Treatment of Mental Illness Really Any Good?$
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Richard P. Bentall

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780814791486

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814791486.001.0001

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Science, Profit and Politics in the Conduct of Clinical Trials

Science, Profit and Politics in the Conduct of Clinical Trials

(p.185) 8 Science, Profit and Politics in the Conduct of Clinical Trials
Doctoring the Mind

Richard P. Bentall

NYU Press

This chapter offers an explanation for the ineffectiveness of psychiatric services. Some psychiatric treatments that are widely used today are not nearly as effective as is commonly supposed; their potency has been systematically exaggerated by the pharmaceutical industry's manipulation of the clinical trial data. Critics of the pharmaceutical industry have included advocates of ECT, who have complained that the opportunity for independent assessment about the efficacy and safety of psychoactive drugs has been eliminated. However, when ECT patients have been followed up, relapse rates sometimes exceed 80 percent and have remained high even after the addition of drug treatment, an observation that calls into question its value as a psychiatric treatment. The chapter states that very little of the evidence on medical treatments for mental illness can be trusted, and more importantly, an accurate assessment can only be reached after examining the evidence in detail and with a skeptical eye.

Keywords:   psychiatric services, clinical trials, pharmaceutical industry, ECT, psychoactive drugs, mental illness

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