Paradigms of Psychiatry: Eclecticism and Its Discontents

Seyyed Nassir Ghaemi


Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2006;19(6):619-624. 

In This Article

Biological Psychiatry: Are We Nothing But a Bag of Enzymes?

The biological paradigm in psychiatry follows the traditional biomedical model, seeing severe mental illness as due to pathology in the organ of the brain. This approach can be taken reductionistically, as in a classic paper by Guze.[13] More commonly, however, biological psychiatrists affirm a biopsychosocial eclecticism, yet focus on the biological aspects of mental illness. A marked asymmetry in research and practice has, nonetheless, occurred in the past two decades, whereby far more funding, publication, and practice are given to biological/pharmacological than to psychosocial approaches.[14*] This reality has been criticized, but potential solutions are generally not offered besides returning to, or better applying, the BPS.[9] The fact that this biological reductionist reality has occurred despite mainstream acceptance of the BPS is often left unexplored.


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