Daniel Burston – Psychoanalysis, Psychiatry and Bipolar Disorder in the Twenty First Century

Issue 46 (Spring 2011)  Pages – 3-11

During the last quarter of the twentieth century neo-Kraepelinian psychiatry joined forces with non-psychiatric critics to repudiate and ridicule Freud and his followers. This paper addresses some of the causes and consequences of the decline of psychoanalysis within mainstream psychiatry, and argues that many of the reproaches once leveled at Freud by his late twentieth century critics could now be directed with equal or even greater justice to neo-Kraepelinian psychiatry. This is especially true with reference to bipolar disorder, where contemporary psychiatry would be wise to heed its own motto: ‘Back to Kraepelin’.

Keywords: Bipolar disorder; DSM; Freud wars; Kraepelin; polypharmacy 

In March of 1987, I was an Oscar Diethelm Fellow at the History of Psychiatry Section at The Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic in New York City. My supervisor was Eric (“Ted”) Carlson, a specialist in the history of phrenology, hypnotism, American psychoanalysis and multiple personality disorder. …

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