Anti-psychiatry is a configuration of groups and theoretical constructs that emerged in the 1960s, which challenged the fundamental assumptions and practices of psychiatry and sought to develop alternatives. Its igniting intellectual influences were Michel Foucault, R. D. Laing, Thomas Szasz and Franco Basaglia. The term was first used by the psychiatrist David Cooper in 1967.
The anti-psychiatry movement says that the specific definitions of, or criteria for, hundreds of current psychiatric diagnoses or disorders are vague and arbitrary, leaving too much room for opinions and interpretations to meet basic scientific standards. They also say that prevailing psychiatric treatments are ultimately far more damaging than helpful to patients.
Some mental health professionals and academics profess anti-psychiatry views, as do a number of former and current users of psychiatric services. Some critics focus their attention on what is known as biological psychiatry.
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