Edited by: Prof James Giordano
The profession and practise of psychiatry is in a state of change. To some extent, this reflects, and is also consequential to, ongoing influences of neuroscience and neurotechnology, genetics, and the revised nosology of the new fifth edition of theDiagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-V) of the American Psychiatric Association. However psychiatry, like any form of medicine, exists in the public sphere, and so socio-cultural and economic forces also exert effects upon the nature, scope and conduct of the field. This point is particularly important, because as modern society becomes more pluralised, the profession of psychiatry must confront new opportunities and challenges. International ethnic, religious and political beliefs and behaviours are becoming evermore prevalent, and the field is gaining prominence in non-western nations (e.g.- Japan, China, India).
These changes prompt reflection and insight to the philosophical and scientific bases of the profession, and the ethical, legal, and social implications, as well as questions and problems that may be incurred. Namely, how will - and perhaps should - advances in neuroscience, neurotechnology and genetics alter the concepts and practise of psychiatry? In what ways might the new DSM affect the practical, ethical and legal aspects of the field and its role in society? How might psychiatric diagnostic and therapeutic practices be best suited to meet the contingencies of non-Western societies? What specific tools and techniques might shape and define this future path?
This thematic issue addresses these questions, concepts, problems and possible solutions from multi-disciplinary perspectives, and seeks to bring together researchers, scholars, and clinicians in discourse, debate and dialectic about the historicity, canon, science, philosophy and ethics of psychiatry as profession and practise, and what the field can - and perhaps should - become in the years ahead.
The information, ideas, and speculations detailed in these papers represent insights to the ways that neuroscience and its technologies and changing conceptualisations of mental function, health, disorder and illness inform and direct current and future practises of psychiatric research and treatment.
Collection published: 13 January 2012
Last updated: 22 February 2015