Psychiatry: An Interview With A Pharmacist

Here is an interview with a retired pharmacist talking about his recollections of pharmacy, psychiatry, social conditions and Scotland. As a dispenser of medications and someone who was trained in the science of medicines, he recollects how trends come in and pass away, how drugs were perceived and taken, and how they were sold.


This is a vital retrospective on someone who has seen pharmacy over a span of four decades, and an intimate narrative of how his perceptions have changed over the years. This is part of the Mad World Archive, a project by Ragged University.


A Pharmacist Interviewed About Psychiatry by Ragged University on Mixcloud

Saul McLeod writes about the ‘medical model’ in psychiatry: “The medical model of abnormal psychology treats mental disorders in the same way as a broken arm, i.e. there is thought to be a physical cause. Supporters of the medical model consequently consider symptoms to be outward signs of the inner physical disorder and believe that if symptoms are grouped together and classified into a ‘syndrome’ the true cause can eventually be discovered and appropriate physical treatment administered.”

In the November 2010 Joseph Rowntree Foundation report ‘Towards a social model of madness and distress?’,Peter Beresford, Mary Nettle and Rebecca Perring open it with:

“At a time when there is growing interest in ‘recovery’ in  mental health policy and practice, service users highlight  that a medical model still dominates public and professional  understanding. They largely see this as damaging and unhelpful.  They see social approaches to mental health issues as much  more helpful. At the same time, their views about the social  model of disability are complex. There is no consensus.”

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In government Equality policy, the social model of disability is cited: “We encourage the use of the social model as a way of understanding disability. It says that disability is created by barriers in society.  The barriers generally fall into 3 categories:

  • the environment – including inaccessible buildings and services
  • people’s attitudes – stereotyping, discrimination and prejudice
  • organisations – inflexible policies, practices and procedures


Social model of diability

These ideas are presented to help provide context around the arguments surrounding how people’s behaviour is regarded and thus treated.

The pharmacological route is dominantly the medical model which people are fitted into in 2015.  It is being contested in recent years as it fails to provide answers or understandings.

Medical model of disability