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Friday, October 22 • 2:45pm - 4:15pm
If We Follow the Science, We Need to Develop a New Narrative of Mental Health

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In 1980, when the American Psychiatric Association published the third edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, it adopted a "disease model" for diagnosing and treating mental disorders. The public was soon told that major mental disorders were due to chemical imbalances in the brain, and that psychiatric drugs fixed those imbalances. Today, science tells us that model has failed. Research failed to validate mental disorders as discrete illnesses; the chemical imbalance theory has been abandoned; and the burden of mental illness in our society has greatly increased. There is evidence that drug treatment increases the chronicity of disorders over the long term. What is needed now is a new narrative of mental health, one that tells of how there are many pathways to psychiatric difficulties, and that environmental factors--diet, exercise, finding meaning in life, work, and belonging to a community--can play a big role in helping people get well.

Learning Objectives:
Participants will be able to:
  • Explain  the reasons that the APA adopted a disease model
  • Describe what the research into chemical imbalances found
  • Explain how the effort to "validate" the disease model categories failed
  • Discuss the evidence telling of how the burden of mental disorders has dramatically increase since 1980
  • Describe  alternatives to the disease model that are springing up, the nature of those efforts, and their outcomes

The evaluation/CE request form for this program can be found HERE.

avatar for Robert Whitaker

Robert Whitaker

Founder and President, Mad in America Foundation
Robert Whitaker is the author of four books, and coauthor of a fifth, three of which tell of the history of psychiatry. In 2010, his Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness won the U.S. Investigative Reporters and Editors... Read More →

Friday October 22, 2021 2:45pm - 4:15pm HST
Room 3
  Keynote Workshop