35 Psychiatrization of society: a wake-up call for debate

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Abstract

Objectives

Our aim is to stimulate debate and research about psychiatrization as a highly complex, diverse, globally effective process of great importance for society as a whole. Its effects can be harmful to individuals in many ways and detrimental to society and public healthcare systems. Empirical preliminary studies on psychiatrization processes and their effects are largely missing. Theoretical work on single aspects can be found essentially outside of psychiatric research itself, i.e. in the canon of antipsychiatric literature of the 1960s and 70 s or sociological studies on medicalization. Further studies will need to update theoretical understanding of psychiatrization and fill conceptual gaps in order to initiate a theory-led, transdisciplinary research program, which can empirically establish its various manifestations and consequences. Additionally, further research will have to acknowledge the vast body of experience of (anti-)psychiatric researchers and organizations through collaborative projects between professionals and service users.

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