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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 32  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 3-9

Are social theories still relevant in current psychiatric practice?

Department of Psychiatry, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Ajit Avasthi
Department of Psychiatry, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0971-9962.176685

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Current psychiatric practice is being influenced by advances in the field of molecular biology, genetic studies, neuroimaging, and psychopharmacology and the approach has become "biological." Social theories of mental illness had once revolutionized the field of psychiatry and are currently being somewhat ignored under the dazzle of biological sciences. Main social theories are functionalism, interpersonal theory, attachment theory, stress theory, and labeling theory. Each of these theories had tried to explain the genesis of psychiatric disorders in their own way. However, each theory has its own limitations and critique. Still, for a holistic approach to treat persons with mental illness, it is essential to take a biopsychosocial approach which can only be done if one understands the contribution and relevance of social theories. Nonpharmacological management has been the cornerstone of treatment of any psychiatric disorder and social theories also form the basis of various nonpharmacological modes of treatment. Overall, social theories are still very relevant in current psychiatric practice and should not be neglected. Efforts should be made to integrate social theories with other theories of mental illness for better understanding and treatment.

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