Daniel Carlat, MDDr. Carlat has disclosed that he has no significant relationships with or financial interests in any commercial companies pertaining to this educational activity.
“You can use vitamins to help a woman through those things,” said Tom Cruise, denigrating Brooke Shields’s use of an SSRI to treat her postpartum depression, which she detailed in her recent book Down Came The Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression. Cruise’s vocal antipathy towards psychiatry correlates with his high-profile association with the Church of Scientology, founded in the fifties by science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. Hubbard first set out his odd ideas about psychological treatment (“auditing” to clear “engrams” in the “thetan”) in Dianetics (1950), and, in the face of opposition from the American Psychological Association, relabeled his form of psychotherapy a philosophy (Scientology, 1952) and then a religion (the Church of Scientology, 1953) that controversially received nonprofit status from the IRS in 1993. Although many of Scientology’s claims are laughable (it holds psychiatry responsible for World War I, the rise of Hitler and Stalin, the decline in education standards in the United States, the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo, and even the September 11th attacks), it has had a few frightening near-successes in curtailing the role of mental health professionals. Its anti-psychiatry arm, the benign-sounding Citizens Commission for Human Rights, was able to push a bill through the Utah state legislature (ultimately vetoed by the Governor) that labeled it a crime for schoolteachers to suggest to parents that their child get a psychological assessment. Similar bills have been filed in New Hampshire. With the renewed focus on Scientology raised by the Brooke Shields/Tom Cruise conflict over postpartum depression, it may be worth reminding ourselves of the potential for distorted perceptions of our work.