Psychiatry is notorious for saying “oops!” for a long history of abusing patients with pseudoscience-driven treatments and its shameful lack of diagnostic rigor. From the1949 Nobel Prize for therapeutic lobotomy to theRosenhan experiments in the 70s which exposed the invalidity of a psychiatrist’s clinical judgment (hospitalizing and treating actors feigning psychosis), the field is in crisis.
The New Biology of Mental Illness
My fellowship training was in Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry or “Psychosomatic Medicine”. I was drawn to this specialization because it was the only seeming acknowledgement of true bodily processes and pathologies that could manifest behaviorally. The role of inflammation and the stress response seemed somehow relevant to these psychiatrists, consulting on med-surg patients in the hospital, in ways that they weren’t when they saw patients in their Park Avenue offices. We consulted on electrolyte-imbalance-induced delirium, B12-deficinecy dementia, and new onset psychosis in the setting of a recently prescribed anti-nausea medication.