A sample of readers' comments to the Carlat article in today's New York Times:
"I'm glad that at least one psychiatrist has noticed that most psychiatrists could be replaced very effectively by an online multiple-choice questionnaire and a vending machine."
"Your profession is not listening to your patients. Of course talk therapy should not be suspended. That seems obvious. Why is it not to you and your profession? And why has your profession accepted the "20 minutes" deemed by the insurance companies as adequate and the standard of care?"
"A psychiatrist is advocating for the importance of understanding the person for whom he/she is prescribing medication. That would be refreshing news, were it not so dismaying that we have a system of treatment where such an obvious and fundamental principle is in need of such advocacy. Part of the problem with psychiatric care is the fact that you perceive other mental health professionals as "lower in the mental-health hierarchy," rather than as colleagues."
"I'm glad you've written a book, Dr. Carlat. I could write a book--actually I have--wrote it at UCSF, too. I've had over 20 years of various forms of pscyotherapy,counselling, my own personal psychopharmacologist, and the one thing none of these many professionals has ever "gotten" is that I'm a human being. I keep wondering how that can be. On the other hand, back when I was married to a philosophy professor (when he was teaching at a v. small college), I met his new colleague across the hall, the psychology prof. Turned out he'd never read Freud, or so he claimed. I'm no particular fan of Freud overall, but it does seem to me that someone who has taken the trouble to earn a PhD in psychology might at least have the curiosity to find out what the man had to say. And that in an anecdotal nutshell is what is wrong with psychiatry today--most professions today--lack of curiosity about what's outside the walls of the profession."
"Clearly, mental illness is a brain disease.." I'm sorry, but that is not clear at all. The mind and the brain are not the same thing; they may overlap in a functional sense, but the physical organ of the brain is neither the seat of consciousness nor the locus of the sense of self. It is sad that psychology, the only discipline of modern medicine that took the mind seriously, has devolved into the simplistic materialism of its peers."
"Am I the only reader who found it discouraging that Doctor Carlat spent a just a little more time with a patient and then congratulated himself on finding yet another drug to prescribe? He does not seem to have abandoned his deeply ingrained practice of symptom hunting at all."
"I undoubtably have an unbalance or two but those years in therapy taught me the SKILLS I needed to face any problems I come across head on, and deal with the resulting feelings. My mother, on the otherhand, accepted the "medicate" method of treatment over the years, and continues to have years that are like train wrecks."
"One psychiatrist attending one of my sons as an in patient even exhorted me several times in a single visit to get on anti-depressants myself, “Mr., I see it in your eyes!” My response was, "Yes, I'm depressed over my son's situation, but no thank you, I'm going to a lap pool instead!"
See also, Brainless and Mindless my post from today.