Friday, August 9, 2013

Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker

Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America by Robert Whitaker challenges readers to assume via that query themselves. First, Whitaker investigates what is known right now about the organic causes of mental disorders. Do psychiatric medications repair “chemical imbalances” within the brain, or do they, in actual fact, create them? Researchers spent a long time studying that question, and by the late Nineteen Eighties, they had their answer. Readers might be startled-and dismayed-to discover what was reported within the scientific journals.

Then comes the scientific query at the heart of this book: In the course of the past fifty years, when investigators looked at how psychiatric medicine affected lengthy-time period outcomes, what did they discover? Did they discover that the medicine assist folks keep properly? Operate higher? Enjoy good physical health? Or did they discover that these medications, for some paradoxical motive, enhance the probability that individuals will become chronically in poor health, much less able to operate effectively, more liable to bodily sickness?

That is the first book to have a look at the merits of psychiatric medications by means of the prism of long-time period results. Are long-time period recovery rates larger for medicated or unmedicated schizophrenia patients? Does taking an antidepressant decrease or improve the risk that a depressed individual will turn out to be disabled by the dysfunction? Do bipolar patients fare higher at the moment than they did forty years ago, or much worse? When the Nationwide Institute of Psychological Health (NIMH) studied the long-term outcomes of children with ADHD, did they determine that stimulants provide any profit?

By the end of this assessment of the outcomes literature, readers are certain to have a haunting question of their own: Why have the results from these lengthy-time period studies-all of which point to the identical startling conclusion-been kept from the public?

On this compelling historical past, Whitaker also tells the private tales of children and adults swept up in this epidemic. Lastly, he reviews on progressive applications of psychiatric care in Europe and the United States that are producing good long-term outcomes. Our nation has been hit by an epidemic of disabling psychological illness, and but, as this book reveals, the medical blueprints for curbing that epidemic have already been drawn up.

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