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Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill Paperback – May 25, 2010
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One of Whitaker's answers draws upon the historic and current assumptions of a physical cause for schizophrenia. This resulted in cruel and unusual physical treatments--from ice-water immersion and bloodletting to the more contemporary electroshock, lobotomy, and drug therapies with dangerous side effects. This physical cause model leads to Whitaker's more provocative explanation: that mental illness has become a profit center. He offers disturbing details about how good business for drug companies makes for bad medicine in treating schizophrenia. From drug companies skewing their studies and patient/subjects kept in the dark about experiments to the cozy relationship between the American Psychiatric Association and drug companies, Whitaker underlines the mistreatment of the mentally ill. This courageous and compelling book succeeds as both a history of our attitudes toward mental illness and a manifesto for changing them. --Barbara Mackoff --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
He starts out with a brief history of how mentally ill people have been treated throughout history. From hydrotherapy to metrazol, insulin coma, draining of blood, "tranquilizer chairs", etc. This progresses to the more recent introduction of neuroleptics in the 1950's and how they induce a sort of parkinsonism. What's most revealing about these drugs is how he points out that people who never take them are more likely to recover. In this part of the book, he also talks about Freeman's disgusting labotomy procedures in which he pokes the patient about the eye and places a stick in their head and wiggles it to destroy the frontal lobes. Patients then go on to act like children and even continue eating after vomiting in their own food.
With all that said, the most revealing aspect is the fact that people in less developed countries fare a lot better with schizophrenia than people in more developed countries. The introduction of atypical neuroleptics also reveal how "dirty" these drugs really are in that they target so many different neurotransmitters. He goes on to point so many conflicts of interest in regards to the reviews of drugs that it left me shocked.
The saddest part of the book is the story of various individuals. A young woman was taken off venlafaxine and given amphetamines to induce her psychosis to the point where they could experiment on her using brain scans.Read more ›
That relatively mild experience helps me to get a little idea of the utter horror some of the patients I saw and those in this book must have felt.
It's difficult to believe that in this country where "all men are created equal" our fellow citizens have been treated as they have simply because they made the mistake of going to a phychiatrist for help. It should read "all men minus the mentally ill or those we consider unfit are created equal."
This book should be a wake up call to all of those artists, dreamers, eccentrics, religious believers, minorities or any other groups that might be considered different. To one of these phychiatrists you just may have a delusional disorder (because you don't think like everyone else) and should be put on medication to release you from your "mental illness."
If you value your personal freedom and our way of life in this country, please read this book and tell others to read it.
The keywords "alternative mental health" brings up some useful alternatives for mental health that are not mind numbing.
Also, "niacin and schizophrenia" is good.
This is a powerful book, but a problematic one as well. At least some of the drugs described by Whitaker remain in the standard PDR. Some fraction of patients may benefit from them, and benefit for reasons that psychiatry may not adequately understand. It's also valid that some fraction of patients benefit from placebos. Whitaker is surely right to put all of us on our guard, but few are willing to abandon entirely the hypothesis that bio-chemical imabalnces may be involved at some level as a causal agent in the overall manifestation of "madness.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A very well articulated history of psychiatry. Earned 5 stars because of the down to earth and optimistic epilogue, which gives aspiring mental health professionals hope for... Read morePublished 2 months ago
Hard hitting and heartbreaking truths about how psychiatry in the United States and western world became what it is today. Read morePublished 2 months ago by NG healing
Amazingly informative read about the bleak history of mental health care in the US. Dense and heavy -- I bought the audio version and it was much easier to get through. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Karen Grimaud
I just finished reading this as a text book for my Masters program at Cal Baptist University in CA and found myself re-reading through parts just for the fun of it. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Brandy
This is an exceptional resource I added to my personal library. I am using it for research. Also, this author was highly recommended to me by another subject matter expert in... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Kathleen Crumpton
This is a powerful book that will make you ask a lot of questions about mental illness and proposed treatments.Published 4 months ago by Kara fallon
Fantastic book. Robert Whitaker is an incredibly gifted writer and his knowledge about psychotropics and the treatment of the mad is a must read for all who are caught in the... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Bertel Rüdinger
As a person with multiple psychiatric disorders, I found this book to be both enlightening and frightening. It explains a lot of why I rightly fear psychiatrists and Big Pharma.Published 8 months ago by Tom Durkin