Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Psychoanalysis debate

The exaggerated claims of the mental health industry

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 14 March 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e1791
  1. Derek A Summerfield, honorary senior lecturer1
  1. 1Institute of Psychiatry, Maudsley Hospital, London SE5 8BB, UK
  1. derek.summerfield{at}

Godlee’s comments take the supposed rational technical modernity of the mental health industry at face value.1 Psychiatry has shallow epistemological foundations: neither essence nor cause of any “mental disorder” is understood, except for disorders associated with physical disease. For example, “depression” is not a biologically validated entity, merely a symptom cluster—clustered by us, not nature. The editorial …

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