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 Table of Contents    
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 57  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 331-332
Developments in psychiatry in India: Clinical, research and policy perspectives

Department of Psychiatry, National Drug Dependence Centre, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

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Date of Web Publication6-Oct-2015

How to cite this article:
Mahapatra A. Developments in psychiatry in India: Clinical, research and policy perspectives. Indian J Psychiatry 2015;57:331-2

How to cite this URL:
Mahapatra A. Developments in psychiatry in India: Clinical, research and policy perspectives. Indian J Psychiatry [serial online] 2015 [cited 2022 Oct 2];57:331-2. Available from:

Editors: Malhotra, Savita Chakrabarti, Subho
Edition: 1st Edition
Published in 2015
Publisher: Springer, New Delhi, India.
Pages: 636, Price: Rs. 10,592/-
ISBN: 978-81-322-1674-2

The scenario of mental health in India has undergone tremendous changes and radical paradigm shifts, over the past 50 years. The proliferation of general hospital psychiatry units, which was instrumental in extending the mental health services beyond the realms of asylums and mental hospitals, the surge of psychopharmacological and biological therapies, which galvanized treatment strategies, and greatly improved outcomes, and the National Mental Health Program as a part of the National Health Policy are few milestones, in the nation's journey toward mental health.“Developments in Psychiatry in India: Clinical, Research and Policy Perspective”attempts to chart the course of evolution and advances in clinical services, research endeavors and policy issues, pertaining to psychiatry in postindependence India.

The editors of this book are pioneer psychiatrists of international repute, who have made path-breaking contributions to the field of psychiatry in India. It consists of 32 chapters, which have been authored by stalwarts in the specific fields of psychiatry in India. Sections in the book include History of Psychiatry in India, and specific parts elaborating the Developments in Psychology and Psychodynamics, General Adult Psychiatry, Child Psychiatry, Substance Use Psychiatry, Community Psychiatry, Liaison Psychiatry, Other Psychiatric Specialities, Treatment, and Legal and Educational Aspects.

The book begins with a brief historical overview of the Indian scenario of psychiatry during the preindependence era, with subsequent developments over the next 50 years. It is followed by a comprehensive section on the developments in the field of psychology and psychodynamics. It explores the journey of evolving psychometric tests in India, the painstaking efforts made by reputed researchers to develop them, and the limitations in the clinical utility of psychometric tests in the Indian population. A separate chapter deals with reflections on cultural psychodynamics in the context of Indian traditions, cultural beliefs, and nuances. An insightful description of the Indian psyche of the“Indian personality”and its characteristics in contrast with the industrialized societies of the west provides a clear picture of transcultural issues from an Indian perspective.

The book briefly describes the controversies and challenges surrounding psychiatric nosology and goes on to mention the Indian contributions and issues in this area. Similarly research and advances in specific fields, e.g. general adult psychiatry, child psychiatry, addiction psychiatry and speciality branches such as geriatric psychiatry are comprehensively described. The emergence of branches like psycho-oncology and India's contribution to delirium research has been illustrated in a section on liaison psychiatry. Indian research in the area of developing treatment modalities such as newer somatic treatments, psychosocial interventions, and rehabilitation have been delineated in separate chapters. The educational aspects reflected through challenges in psychiatric training have also received focus in a chapter on undergraduate psychiatric training in India. The last chapter focuses on the legal framework with respect to psychiatry, legislative and implementation issues concerning the existing Mental Health Act, and recent developments to address these lacunas.

The appeal of this book lies in its lucidity and refreshing literary flavor while providing exhaustive inputs and profound insight, into various aspects of mental health from an Indian perspective. References to historical excerpts and occasional anecdotes are bound to keep the readers engaged. To document the development of psychiatry in a rapidly progressing nation over a period of more than 50 years, keeping in mind the constraints of time and volume size, is a herculean task. The authors have undertaken this endeavor with commendable efforts to provide a comprehensive account of proliferating research and clinical services in varied fields within psychiatry and the emerging policy issues therein. One of the greatest strength of this book is that the authors have tried to provide information regarding sources for further reading, wherever they have failed to include some details because of space constraint.

For mental health professionals, this book provides an all-encompassing view of how psychiatry as a discipline has evolved in India. However, a more in-depth analysis of the policy issues could have been undertaken. Also, issues surrounding the changes in the legal framework, the ongoing efforts for amending the existing Mental Health Act, and its potential ramifications could have been discussed in greater detail. Legal and policy issues in addiction psychiatry also should have been illustrated more comprehensively. A chapter dedicated to the advent of pharmacological agents and the changing clinical picture with emerging drugs could have further enriched the section on developments in treatment. Finally, the book is heavily priced, which might make it difficult to avail, to many readers.

Overall, this book is a synthesis of the collective endeavors of experts in the field of psychiatry in India. Their observations in their field of expertise provide an account of past developments as well a vision of future advancements in different aspects of psychiatry in India. In view of its comprehensiveness and lucid content, his book will be immensely helpful to postgraduate students in enriching their knowledge about all aspects of psychiatry and its course of development in India.

Correspondence Address:
Ananya Mahapatra
Department of Psychiatry, National Drug Dependence Centre, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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