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Allen Frances, MD

Allen Frances, MD

Dr Frances was the chair of the DSM-IV Task Force and of the department of psychiatry at Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC. He is currently Professor Emeritus at Duke.  

He is author of Saving Normal: An Insider's Revolt Against Out-of-Control Psychiatric Diagnosis, DSM-5, Big Pharma, and the Medicalization of Ordinary Life (New York: William Morrow; 2013) and Essentials of Psychiatric Diagnosis (New York: Guilford Press; 2013).

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“Schizophrenia” is a name, not a disease. You are about to read the life story of a remarkable man who describes how he overcame poverty, orphanhood, and schizophrenia to become an author, an LCSW, a leader in the mental health advocacy movement, and an inspiration for many others.

There is no clear boundary separating religious and political extremism from psychiatric illness. One man's cherished belief is another man's delusion. More in this commentary.

Some inflexible anti-psychiatrists are blind ideologues who see only the limits and harms of mental health treatment, not its necessity or any of its benefits. More in this commentary.

This is the fourth in a series of blogs devoted to our society’s shameful neglect of people with severe mental illness.

There is a strange healing power in a doctor's words that has allowed doctors to be useful over the millennia even when their treatments were ineffective or harmful. Reduced fear and renewed hope are wonderful medicines.

Here's a fascinating study of consumer attitudes towards doctors among patients receiving antidepressants. The conclusions help us understand what goes wrong in the doctor-patient relationship and suggest steps needed to fix it.

If we didn't so stigmatize the severely mentally ill, we would feel an urgent responsibility to rescue them immediately from prison and homelessness.

A mother recalls seeing a donation box with a photo of a little boy with leukemia in a grocery store checkout line but never one of a child with serious mental illness. How can this be if twice as many children and young people die from suicide than those who die of all cancers combined? More in this commentary.

The institutions of yesterday were overcrowded, noisy, and often had a distinctive odor. Patients were neglected and mistreated. Yet those problems have been replaced with a different set. More in this commentary.

Some doubt that even $650 million will go very far in speeding up the solution to the vast jigsaw puzzle known as neuroscience. According to this author, we have learned a great deal in basic science, but nothing at all that translates to better clinical care.

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