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Challenging ideas in mental health
Challenging ideas in mental health

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3.2 Mental health as business: the profit motive

This is the word ‘Health’ spelt out with tablets.
Figure 9 Modern medication and the attainment of optimal health.

There is little question that the use of drugs to treat mental distress has become the dominant strategy. The historian Edward Shorter puts it graphically:

If there is one central intellectual reality at the end of the twentieth century, it is that the biological approach to psychiatry – treating mental illness as a genetically influenced disorder of brain chemistry – has been a smashing success.

(Shorter, 1997, p. vii)

Perhaps the most controversial aspect of mental health services and their relationship to business is the role of major companies which manufacture and market drugs.