The 49th Maudsley Debate took place on Tuesday 15th October at the Institute of Psychiatry:
What should we make of the seemingly inexorable rise in psychiatric diagnoses in children?
The podcast is now available:
If you wish to download the debate in MP3 format right click when you open the following link and "Save target as" Download the 49th Maudsley Debate Podcast.
A video of the event is also available here
Sick Children or Sick Society? | Abstract
The publication of DSM 5 has once again re-opened debate over the role of psychiatry in everyday life. That children can now be diagnosed as suffering from Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder - informally regarded as a form of bipolar disorder - has been criticised by many for over-formalising what many regard as extreme tantrums, pointing to the 4000% increase in such diagnoses in the US in the past decade. Similar loosening of criteria elsewhere - with 'binge eating' regarded as over-eating 12 times in three months - has further reinforced fears that the uncertainties and experimentation of childhood is being eroded, even pathologised, by overzealous medicalisation driven by complaint-wary doctors, anxious parents and pharmaceutical company profits.
Yet parents and other medical professionals such diagnoses are essential in helping children suffering from serious disorders receive specialised treatment and that, far from blurring the lines, actually more adequately define what is bad behaviour. For instance, in removing Asperger's Syndrome - regarded as the 'prodigy' disorder - as a separate category, it is hoped that autism diagnoses will become more precise in terms of symptoms rather than tailored towards specific treatments available. It is argued that concerns regarding overdiagnoses are driven more by stigma surrounding mental illness and pharmacological intervention than solid critique over the accuracy of diagnostic criteria. We must not let our social aversion to psychiatric or medical intervention risk denying sick children the opportunity to receive potentially transformative treatment, it is argued.
Can concerns over the medicalisation of childhood disorders be alleviated by more accurate diagnosis, or are there legitimate grounds that childhood is being pathologised? Is the rise in diagnosis driven more by social anxieties or genuine medical insight into children's development? Does challenging the stigma around mental health by seeking to normalise certain conditions or disorder risk unhelpfully blurring the lines between genuine illness and eccentric, but healthy, behaviour? Are the medical profession being unfairly blamed or burdened for broader problems across society?
Chair: Dave Bowden, Institute of Ideas
Claire Fox, Director, Institute of Ideas and regular panellist on The Moral Maze, Radio 4.
Rowenna Davis, Journalist, social and political commentator
Simon Baron-Cohen, Professor of Developmental Psychology, University of Cambridge
Stephen Scott, Professor of Child Health and Behaviour, Institute of Psychiatry and Head of National Conduct Problems Clinic, SLAM
Ken McLaughlin, Senior Lecturer, Manchester Metropolitan University and former approved Social Worker
Barbara Sahakian, Professor of Clinical Neuropsychology at the Department of Psychiatry and MRC/Wellcome Trust Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute, University of Cambridge
This Debate is being held in partnership with the Institute of Ideas.
The Debates are open to everyone to attend on a first-come, first-served basis.
For queries please email our Events Manager at Hannah.1.Baker@kcl.ac.uk
The 48th Maudsley Debate took place on Wednesday 5th June at 6pm:
Enabling or Labelling?
This House believes that psychiatric diagnosis has advanced the care of people with mental health problems."
If you wish to download the debate in MP3 format right click the following link as "Save target as" Download the 48th Maudsley Debate Podcast
Previous podcasts of the Maudsley Debates are available to listen to and download here.