38 J. Soc. & Soc. Welfare 135 (2011)
Clinical Social Work and the Biomedical Industrial Complex

handle is hein.journals/jrlsasw38 and id is 737 raw text is: Clinical Social Work and the
Biomedical Industrial Complex
Florida State University
College of Social Work
Florida International University
School of Social Work
Arizona State University
School of Social Work
This article examines how the biomedical industrial complex has
ensnared social work within a foreign conceptual and practice
model that distracts clinical social workers from the special assis-
tance that they can provide for people with mental distress and
misbehavior. We discuss: (1) social work's assimilation of psychi-
atric perspectives and practices during its pursuit of professional
status; (2) the persistence of psychiatric hospitalization despite its
coercive methods, high cost, and doubtful efficacy; (3) the increas-
ing reliance on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders, despite its widely acknowledged scientific frailty; and
(4) the questionable contributions of psychoactive drugs to clinical
mental health outcomes and their vast profits for the pharmaceu-
tical industry, using antipsychotic drugs as a case example. We
review a number of promising social work interventions overshad-
owed by the biomedical approach. We urge social work and other
helping professions to exercise intellectual independence from
the reigning paternalistic drug-centered biomedical ideology in
mental health and to rededicate themselves to the supportive, edu-
cative, and problem-solving methods unique to their disciplines.
Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare, December 2011, Volume XXXVIII, Number 4

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