2 minute read

Psychology and Psychiatry


Since the mid-twentieth century, psychiatry has undergone revolutionary changes in how psychiatrists diagnose patients, how they treat them, and how they evaluate whether a treatment works. These changes have brought with them major advances, especially in the neurosciences. But this history also suggests that psychiatry has lost something as it has narrowed its focus mainly to the brain and psychotropic drugs. Though psychiatrists are now trained to expertly manipulate a patient's drug regimen, they have become increasingly less able to situate a patient's suffering within a psychological and social context, and the doctor-patient interaction is often reduced to a querying and reporting of diagnostically sanctioned symptoms. Psychiatry, long charged with caring for those suffering from largely chronic conditions, has become focused on the diagnosis and cure of disease. This focus may someday bear therapeutic fruit, but until true cures are actually forthcoming it is important that the role of care not be lost. Like many of the shifts that psychiatry has undergone, these concerns are not unique to psychiatry, but are part of larger changes within medicine and the culture in which it is situated.


American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 1st ed. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association, 1952.

——. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 3rd ed. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association, 1980.

Braslow, Joel. Mental Ills and Bodily Cures: Psychiatric Treatment in the First Half of the Twentieth Century. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997.

Carlsson, Arvid. "Does Dopamine have a Role in Schizophrenia?" Biological Psychiatry 13 (1978): 3–21.

Gelman, Sheldon. Medicating Schizophrenia: A History. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1999.

Grob, Gerald N. "Origins of DSM-1: A Study in Appearance and Reality." American Journal of Psychiatry 148 (1991): 421–431.

Hale, Nathan G., Jr. The Rise and Crisis of Psychoanalysis in the United States: Freud and the Americans, 1917–1985. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.

Healy, David. The Antidepressant Era. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1997.

——. The Creation of Psychopharmacology. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2002.

Horwitz, Allan V. Creating Mental Illness. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002.

Kutchins, Herb, and Kirk Stuart. Making Us Crazy: DSM: The Psychiatric Bible and the Creation of Mental Disorders. New York: Free Press, 1997.

Le Fanu, James. The Rise and Fall of Modern Medicine. New York: Carroll and Graf, 2000.

Luhrmann, Tanya M. Of Two Minds: The Growing Disorder in American Psychiatry. New York: Knopf, 2000.

Marks, Harry. The Progress of Experiment: Science and Therapeutic Reform in the United States, 1900–1990. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

Metzl, Jonathan. Prozac on the Couch: Prescribing Gender in the Era of Wonder Drugs. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2003.

Porter, Roy. Madness: A Brief History. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Porter, Roy, and Mark Micale, eds. Discovering the History of Psychiatry. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.

Shorter, Edward. A History of Psychiatry: From the Era of the Asylum to the Age of Prozac. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1997.

Valenstein, Elliot S. Blaming the Brain: The Truth about Drugs and Mental Health. New York: Free Press, 1998.

Wilson, Mitchell. "DSM-III and the Transformation of American Psychiatry: A History." American Journal of Psychiatry 150 (1993): 399–410.

Joel T. Braslow

Sarah Linsley Starks

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Propagation to Quantum electrodynamics (QED)Psychology and Psychiatry - Psychiatric Diagnosis: From Psychosis To The "psychopathology Of Everyday Life", Therapeutics: From Behavioral Control To Biological Disease