Psychiatry appears at first to be like any other medical specialty, but on closer examination it deviates significantly from the practice of “normal” medicine, such as orthopedics or urology. Normal physicians are trained in explaining the workings of the body and in what to do if a disease is identified. Psychologists are trained in the study of mental processes and behavior, whereas psychiatrists are trained in mental health and mental disease. Controversy arises over to whom “mental illness” belongs, whether to psychologists or psychiatrists. Economic interest plays no small part in turf wars of this sort: Psychology, psychiatry, and medicine are trade professions, and, like all businesses, the seller seeks to convince consumers to buy his product rather than that of his competitor.

Politically speaking, people ...

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