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Psychiatry: Targeting women for 150 years


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Women, and their female organs, were the original target of psychiatry. In name of treating "hysteria," 150 years ago Jean-Martin Charcot physically attacked the ovaries of the poor women who fell into his hands. Sigmund Freud's predecessor, Charcot was the founder of psychiatry.


How different is psychiatry today? 2/3 of those taking psychiatric drugs are female.


The Pseudoscience of Hysteria, a recent NY Time book review, describes the origins of psychiatry, before Freud, by inducing and "treating" women's "hysteria," as detailed in Medical Muses by Asti Hustvedt.


Chacot literally devised an instrument to "compress" and punish a woman's ovaries for her "hysteria."


And here are proposed diagnoses in the upcoming DSM-5 http://www.dsm5.org/, targeting women in particular:


- Unspecified Somatic Symptom Disorder (Pseudocyesis — false pregnancy)

- Major Depressive Disorder, Recurrent With Postpartum Onset

- Bipolar I Disorder – Current or Most Recent Episode Depressed With Postpartum Onset

- Female Orgasmic Disorder

- Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder in Women

- Genito-Pelvic Pain/Penetration Disorder


(Add to this pharma's attempt to sell antidepressants for menopausal symptoms, and you have psychiatric medications for every stage of a woman's life.)


Why are any of these DSM-5 entries psychiatric diagnoses? Why does psychiatry presume to treat any of these possibly endocrine-related disorders (as are menopausal hot flashes)? How is psychiatry going to treat them? Hint: it won’t be through sex therapy. It’ll be an avalanche of prescriptions, get the women hooked, and then you have customers for life — right?


(By the way, studies have shown frequently the lack of female arousal is often due to ignorance about the clitoris — the ignorance being in the male partner. Why isn’t that a psychiatric disorder?)


Tell me, psychiatrists, what percentage of your patients are women? Have you ever presumed to prescribe an antidepressant for a “female complaint”?


How often do you see men as the target of antidepressant advertising? Why don’t psychiatrists complain about how the drug companies are driving women to them for prescriptions?


Is it possible psychiatry hasn’t outgrown the misogynism of Charcot and Freud?

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

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