In her book Mind Fixers: Psychiatry's Troubled Search for the Biology of Mental Illness (New York: W.W. Norton, 2019), the Harvard historian of science Anne Harrington describes the standard narrative of the history of psychiatry— that around 1980, after dominating the field for fifty years, the "wasteland" and "nonsense" of the Freudian model of mental illness was displaced by a new and revolutionary medical model that searched for causes and cures in a strictly biological manner, just like it did in cancer or heart disease. Psychoanalytic talk therapy gave way to neurobiology, genetics, and pharmacology; the focus moved from the unconscious mind to the physical brain. In this "simple explanatory story," says Harrington, there are heroes and villains, and a happy ending. "The only trouble with this story," though, "is that it is wrong—not just slightly wrong but wrong in every particular." In his feature article about the book, Gary Greenberg of the The Atlantic wrote: "[I]t’s a tale of promising roads that turned out to be dead ends, of treatments that seemed miraculous in their day but barbaric in retrospect, of public-health policies that were born in hope but destined for disaster."
Terry Gross interviewed Harrington on Fresh Air (April 24, 2019) about what she believes is psychiatry's "legacy of over-diagnosis and over-medication." See here: https://www.npr.org/2019/04/24/716793221/mind-fixers-documents-the-troubled-search-for-mental-illness-medication
Dan Clendenin: firstname.lastname@example.org