Dr. Richard A. Friedman dusts off an old and familiar refrain — that psychiatry is (still) having an identity crisis. Perhaps so, but I’d say it’s everybody’s crisis. We can’t seem to embrace what we now know — that mental illnesses are brain disorders.
Depression, for example, is a complex brain disorder that accounts for more burden from disability worldwide than any other category of illness, including heart disease and cancer. Treatment of brain disorders with either medication or psychotherapy can change the brain, and often both are needed. But it’s hard.