Psychiatry’s Thirty-Five-Year, Non-Empirical Reach for Biological Explanations

W Joseph Wyatt, Donna M Midkiff


This is our third article in a series that began with a special issue of Behavior and Social Issues in 2006. Here we briefly review our central points from the first two articles. First is that over the past thirty-five years, claims of biological causation of mental and behavioral disorders have gone well beyond the research data, for reasons that are largely related to psychiatry’s lost esteem and protection of its “turf,” as well as to the financial interests of the pharmaceutical industry. Our second position is that claims of psychotropic drugs’ effectiveness have been overstated. We respond, as well, to the protestations of Professor Jerome C. Wakefield who defends biological psychiatry. We also provide an update on relevant events within the drug industry since our last article in this series.


FDA, behaviorism, biological causation, pharmaceutical industry, organized psychiatry, efficacy of psychotropic medications, identical twin studies, brain imaging studies, psychological paradigms

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Published by the University of Illinois at Chicago Library

And Behaviorists for Social Responsibility