Indian Journal of Psychiatry and Psychiatric Research in India: Past, Present and Future

Article excerpt

Byline: Ajai. Singh

Commendable work has been done in psychiatric research in India as it moves in tandem with contemporary trends abroad. Indian Journal of Psychiatry (IJP), as its flag-ship publication, has mirrored this trend faithfully down the decades. Stalwarts and icons of Indian psychiatry have set Indian research firmly on this course. A systematic appraisal of psychiatric research in India shows that most work is replicative, some of it corrective at the local level, and very little that is original and corrective at the international level. Opinion and policy makers, including IJP and research departments at colleges and universities, must endeavor to steer the course towards trend-setting and original work emanating from India, even as we do not neglect replicative work, of which we are masters.

Introduction

There is much to commend in what has gone between the covers of the Indian Journal of Psychiatry as it enters its 52 [sup]nd year. More so, now, as it is indexed with PubMed; the cumulative effect of the work of editors and researchers down the decades, crystallizing in the work of, and propelling, the present editor and his board to work to this end. This indexing is a landmark in the history of Indian Psychiatry. A much desired [sup][1] landmark that makes it so much more obvious that Indian Psychiatry, and IJP , must move forward as much to keep up with contemporary trends in international research, as to now go ahead and set some of them.

As far as the former is concerned - keeping up with international trends, Indian Psychiatry has done a lot of work, which is faithfully chronicled in the IJP . It would be a fruitful exercise for any interested researcher to scan archives of the journal available free access on its website [sup][2] to see how research topics and trends abroad have been faithfully mirrored in the Journal, which has been the face of psychiatric research in the country down a major part of the latter half of the last century, as also the present. Right from its inception in 1958, if we scan its pages, we can see how well and faithfully, Indian Psychiatry has kept up with and echoed, research trends in Western psychiatry-whether it be work in psychodynamics, psychoanalysis, [sup][3],[4] insulin coma [sup][5],[6] and indigenous drugs [sup][7] in the earlier decades; to behavior therapy, [sup][8] prison psychiatry [sup][9] and psychological tests [sup][10],[11] in the following; to diagnostics, [sup][12] the philosophical, [sup][13] phenomenological, [sup][14] biological, [sup][15] drug trials [sup][16],[17] [which continues even today], [sup][18] social psychiatry, [sup][19],[20],[21] psychosomatics, [sup][22],[23],[24] cognitive behavior therapy, [sup][25] and biology of psychiatry [sup][26] in the last few decades; and to newer trends like terrorism, [sup][27] internet addiction [sup][28] and delusion, [sup][29] evidence based medicine [sup][30] and psychiatry, [sup][31],[32] standardized vignettes for research, [sup][33] book reviews on research methodology, [sup][34] clinical practice guidelines [sup][35],[36],[37] in the last decade [References quoted here are but a representative sample].

Of course research and reviews of standard topics like schizophrenia research, [sup][38] family in schizophrenia, [sup][39] deficit schizophrenia, [sup][40] fronto-temporal dysfunction [sup][41] and disorders of aberrant neurodevelopment, [sup][42] child mental health, [sup][43],[44] alcohol related problems, [sup][45] psychotherapy in India, [sup][46] ECT, [sup][47] depression and cognition, [sup][48] chronicity, [sup][49] and nutrition [sup][50] have occupied its pages. Studies on mania, [sup][51] neuropsychology, [sup][52] eroticism [sup][53] sexual dysfunction [sup][54],[55] and women's reproductive health [sup][56] have also interested Indian researchers. This, again, is only a representative sample of the vast terrain Indian researchers have traversed down the decades, which only goes to underscore how faithfully they managed to mirror international psychiatric trends and concerns. …