Why is psychiatry a branch of medicine?
I ask that question in all sincerity, and not simply because I have concerns about our society today, but because I’d like an answer.
Is emotional hurt properly the province of doctors?
For generations, the medical profession in a largely uneducated society supplied us with men and women of authority, and for generations, when people went to their doctors, they accepted their word without question — even when the word of those men and women sometimes sent them to their death.
In darker times, the word of a general practitioner was enough to consign a person to a lunatic asylum for the remainder of their natural days, and many decent people were so imprisoned while the family and the doctor split the inheritance between them.
This is the position doctors occupied in Irish society and perhaps it’s about time they were placed under the same spotlight that has exposed the other passport people.
Who am I talking about?
The passport people. The ones you used to ask for a signature on your passport application. The people regarded as upstanding, dependable citizens. Priests. Bank managers. Policemen.
The discredited people.
Today, unlike in Britain, our nearest neighbour, Irish doctors still garner obscene amounts of money from the practice of medicine. Publicly-funded consultants are paid twice as much as their colleagues in the USA, and are also free to supplement this money by practising privately. Family doctors charge fifty or sixty euros per five-minute visit, and pocket most of this money as cash.
The medical profession in Ireland is a gigantic, money-grabbing, tax-avoiding scam.
Furthermore, because our society is so obsequious, these people have managed to avoid scrutiny and have managed to place themselves above question, even though taxpayers’ money has paid for their training. Some of them have such a sense of entitlement, they would seek to sneer at us as they demand our money.
Isn’t it about time we called their bluff, just as we question the politicians, the bankers, the lawyers and the priests?
To return to the point of the post: why are people approaching doctors because they feel depressed?
If you lose your job, you’ll feel depressed. It’s normal. You don’t need pills. You need money.
If your relationship breaks up, you’re going to be depressed. It’s normal and predictable. You don’t need a doctor. you need friends.
If somebody dies, you need no drugs and no doctor. You need to cry and be with your loved-ones.
And yet, for generations, our doctors have been shovelling out tranquillisers and advice to people on matters they know absolutely nothing about, just as they do in many other things. Much like priests.
It seems to me that as our society has abandoned one set of unquestioned oracles – the Catholic priests – it has retained another: the medical profession.
And it also seems to me that our society has applied equal deference, by giving both of these vested interest groups as much as they demand without question.
It’s time to call a halt and turn these people into employees like the rest of us, instead of keeping them in the exalted, unquestioned status they currently enjoy.