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has psychiatry gone too far?

With the release of the latest guidelines on what is and isn’t a psychiatric disorder (DSM-5) the debate is once again raging over whether psychiatry has gone too far. Claims of mis-prescribing, over-medicalisation and catch-all diagnoses that could see most of us labelled as having a mental health disorder have come on top of statements that psychiatrists are too closely tied to drug companies and are focussing too much on biological causes that have little impact on recognising or treating disorders.

On the eve of DSM-5 publication the SMC gathered some of the top UK experts from psychology, psychiatry and beyond to preview DSM-5 and discuss everything from drugs to classification to environmental causes and the evidence behind therapies.

  • Why are psychologists and psychiatrists at war, who is right and what needs to change?
  • How do we stop every behaviour being labelled a disorder?
  • What evidence is there for all the classifications? Is DSM-5 actually helpful?
  • Are we giving out too many drugs to too many people and for the wrong reasons?
  • Do any mental health therapies actually work or is it just down to placebo?
  • Do drug companies have too much power and are health decisions being made purely for profit?
  • Why are researchers so focussed on biological factors when social problems are the real triggers?
  • What does all this actually mean for patients in the UK?



Prof Elizabeth Kuipers, Professor of Clinical Psychology, Head of Department of Psychology, King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry

Prof David Clark, Professor of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford and Honorary Fellow of the British Psychological Society

Prof Nick Craddock, Professor of Psychiatry, University of Cardiff and Director of the National Centre for Mental Health, Wales

Prof David Taylor, Royal Pharmaceutical Society expert and spokesperson on mental health medicines and Editor of the Maudsley Prescribing Guidelines

Andy Bell, Deputy Chief Executive, The Centre for Mental Health

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