Science, clinical practice and psychotropic drugs

Science, clinical practice and psychotropic drugs: How do they interact?

12 October 2010

In recent years, the overprescription of psychiatric drugs has become the subject of frequent public debate in Europe and the US. In March 2010, the Belgian Minister of Social Affairs and Public Health, announced to the Senate that a plan to tackle the overconsumption of psychotropic drugs was in preparation. The symposium will attempt to analyse this social phenomenon along two different lines. The first issue to be addressed is the scientific basis for the prescription of these drugs; how was it constructed and is there any scope for questioning its validity? The second issue concerns the question of disease categorization, the distinction between mental pathology and the ups and downs of daily life, and the impact of disease-mongering on how we perceive ourselves.


8h30 Arrival of participants

9h    Welcome address and Introduction

9h30 Benoit Majerus, historian, Université Libre de Bruxelles : “The Introduction of neuroleptics. Between continuities and discontinuities”

10h00 Professor Trudy Dehue, philosopher and historian of sciences, Rijkuniversiteit de Groningen : “Other times, other suffering”

10h45 Open discussion

11h10 coffee break

11h30 Professor Kalman Applbaum, professor of medical anthropology, University of Milwaukee, USA: “Rethinking Noncompliance as the Catch-all Explanation for Relapse in Chronic Mental Illness”

12h15 Open discussion

12h30 LUNCH

14h00 Professor David Healy, psychiatrist, Cardiff University, UK: “The End of Medical Care”

14h45 Professor Alain Giami, researcher in Social Sciences, director of research at INSERM, France: “Between medicalisation and pharmacologisation : treatment for sexual disorder and difficulties.”

15h15 Open discussion

15h45 coffee break

16h00 Professor Walter Vandereycken, psychiatrist, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven: “Medi(c)alisation and the fabrication of images in psychiatry”

16h30 Open discussion


17h30 End of the symposium

In the Salle Dupréel on the Solbosch site of the Free University of Brussels (ULB), 44 avenue Jeanne, 1050 Bruxelles.

Simultaneous translation into French, English and Dutch will be provided.

For further informations and registration, please contact

Organising Committee : Prof. Philippe Fouchet, ULB; Prof. Sigrid Sterckx, VUB and UGent; Dr Philippe Hennaux, l’Equipe; Dr Monique Debauche, Free Clinic, GRAS,

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