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October 22, 1973

Quo Vadis, Psychiatry?

JAMA. 1973;226(4):464. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03230040038012

The writer of these lines is not a psychiatrist. He is just a physician concerned both with the welfare of all patients, including those needing psychiatric care, and with maintaining the best academic and scientific standards in all specialties of medicine.

Some of us begin to wonder about the roads that psychiatry is taking when we read of the opinions, trends, and practices that are reflected in the many psychiatric journals. Even some psychiatrists, concerned about the direction of their specialty, started shock waves of doubt spreading as early as 1960. One of the most acid critics of modern psychiatry, Dr. Szasz, said that the notion of mental illness had outlived the usefulness it might have had in the past and is only functioning as a convenient myth. This might not be exactly so. Others have vehemently argued that the direction some psychiatric schools are taking is too far away