You are invited to attend a special lecture by Professor David Cohen from Florida International University

'Questioning psychiatric diagnosis in clinical trials'

5pm Monday 19th March 2007
Small Lecture Theatre, Institute of Psychiatry De Crespigny Park, London


Several compelling critiques converge to suggest that randomized controlled trials of antidepressants (and most psychiatric drugs) are rapidly losing clinical and scientific relevance - in short they have become "informercials". In this presentation, Professor Cohen will mostly focus on how DSM-type diagnosis of 'major depressive disorder' (MDD) contributes to the irrelevance of such trials. He argues that 'MDD' is essentially a "made-up" diagnostic category and using it to decide eligibility in a clinical trial destroys the logic of the trial as a medical experiment. The arbitrariness of the DSM definition of depression as a detectable disorder rather than as a unique story from a unique individual carries over into the measurement of trial outcomes, where the patient's own voice is treated as completely expendable. Total revamping of clinical trials is necessary, but will not be easy.


David Cohen is Professor of Social Work at Florida International University, Miami, USA. His research has included large-scale surveys of psychotropic prescription practices, clinical investigations of drug-induced movement disorders, and in-depth qualitative enquiries of consumers' perceptions of psychotropic drug effects. His research is grounded in critical perspectives on individual, professional, and social uses of prescribed psychotropic drugs. He is currently constructing and evaluating a publicly-funded, evidence-based critical curriculum on psychotropic drugs for non-medical professionals in child welfare.

David Cohen has authored or co-authored more than 100 publications, and received the Elliot Freidson Award for Outstanding Publication in
Medical Sociology from the American Sociological Association in 2003. His edited monographs include Challenging the Therapeutic State (1990)
and Tardive Dyskinesia and Cognitive Dysfunction (1993). Most recently, he edited with Gwynedd Lloyd and Joan Stead Critical New Perspectives on ADHD (2006, winner of the NASEN/Times Educational Supplement Prize for best academic book). The second revised edition of Your Drug May Be Your Problem (co-authored with Peter Breggin) will be out in July 2007.

As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, David Cohen works with adults and children. He is frequently consulted by individuals and families who
wish to wean themselves off psychiatric drugs.