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Customer Review

28 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Underrated classic, July 13, 2010
This review is from: Unhinged: The Trouble with Psychiatry - A Doctor's Revelations about a Profession in Crisis (Hardcover)
Breath taking ! Shocking. Put as many adjectives you want still it wont be enough to describe the merits of this book. The unholy nexus between the doctor and the pharmceutical industry has been brilliantly portrayed. Unless the author has some personal grouse - I trust the author to be unbiased - this book brings to the fore some disturbing facts. He shows how the doctors are persuaded - rather one may even say bribed - by the salesmen of the big corporations to peddle their ware and how the doctors succumb to such soft tactics. The genuine issues of the profession - of psychology - are brought forth like the overwhelming number of patients that the shrink has to attend to and the impossiblity to give required therapeutic attention to the patients. But in my opinion, that is no excuse. A senate hearing should be held just on the basis of the reports in this book. The story telling is quite vivid. That too straight from the horse's mouth. The nefarious connection between the medical profession and the pharmaceutical industry.. The falsehood behind the statistical studies and the subsequent results published as if having the expert's approval . The innocent victims who think the ads to be gospel truths . Oh the shame of it ! We are reminded of the old saying " Statistics can prove anything ". Bravo ! It takes a lot of guts to come out into the open through his book with facts like this - even though the author himself belongs to the same profession. The lifeless souls that come out of such drug treatment bereft of their personality - the products of mind altering drugs. In the corporate world the evil nexus that existed between the auditors and the clients was substantially eliminated by laws like Sarbanes Oxley etc. But what about this ? Is there any way to tackle this problem at all ? Mind you, the issues at stake are much more serious - one of human health. But sadly no laws exist. Our bodies have become the profit machines for the pharmaceutical industries. Though the author admits that many drugs are really miracle cures . But still the situation is dicey. To realize that all this is happening under the guise of paracticability. The betrayal of the Hippocratic oath - the oath that the doctors have to take once they enter this profession . Can it be termed the hypocritical oath ? Going by this book, there are sufficient grounds for saying so. If the author had written it in a form of novel, this could be a Dickensonian classic.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 14, 2010 3:15:47 PM PDT
k Saba says:
I heard that author on the radio. He talked about how he became a salesman for the pharmaceutical companies and how he regretted it. He thinks we need to focus more on talk therapy, although he still prescribes drugs, although he admits we don't know how they work --It is not about serotonin.
Congress will not do a good job regulating this. The psychological community will need to hold itself accountable. Congress is fulled with idiots.

For two excellent books on depression I would highly recommend, Depression is Contagious and Depression is a Choice.

Posted on Jul 14, 2010 9:25:59 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 14, 2010 9:38:31 PM PDT
M. Derby says:
"The lifeless souls that come out of such drug treatment bereft of their personality - the products of mind altering drugs."

Your concern (however overwrought) has been noted.

My personality has not yet been entirely corroded or effaced due to mirtazapine, buproprion or Cymbalta. Evidently. Because if I'm not taking one of those medications, then I must frequently struggle against the urge to kill myself.

The psychiatric profession are not infallible, and (as in this book) their links with the pharmaceutical industry ought to receive scrutiny.

Nor am I an uncritical proponent of the wonders of antidepressants. I know of no mental illness caused solely by "chemical imbalances." Nor do I know of any medications which--by precisely targeting one small aspect of brain chemistry, while having no other effects--cure depression entirely and permanently.

Honest psychiatrists will concede the human brain (whether regarded reductionistically, or at higher levels) is baffling in its complexity. Also that the specificity of a drug for acting on a particular neurotransmitter is no guarantee of its efficacy, nor its lack of side-effects.

For many years I believed antidepressants were worthless. That was before I found the ones which truly help me.

They don't solve all my problems. But their benefits were dramatic, and offered potential hope. Which was something I never expected to experience again, not since age ten or eleven: feeling hopeful!

My psychiatrist--one of the better ones, and I've met some of the worst--doesn't merely dole out prescriptions to four patients per hour. He listens; he cares. Sometimes he's helped me when I've been fighting to stay alive.

Must we make the perfect the enemy of the good?

How about mutual agreement: that we don't all respond equally well to the same regimen, and that patients should be more free to choose what they need? Regardless of cost or other economic factors, and regardless of political or ideological dogma.

I look forward to reading Dr. Carlat's book.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2010 7:46:05 AM PDT
k Saba says:
You assume a lot about me. The author, Dr Michael Yapko, who writes, Depression is Contagious, mentions in his book how people think often others think that others are thinking negative thoughts about them, also doesn't think that antidepressants are also not always bad. I am not making any one an enemy, especially not you.
I suggest you look at this book I am working on a book review on Dr. Yako's book. He has a lot of wisdom and practical advice in his book.
Take care,

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 22, 2010 9:04:19 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 22, 2010 12:06:57 PM PDT
M. Derby says:
"making the perfect the enemy of the good": these are not my original words, Mr. Saba. A common phrase, one in which the word "enemy" is not to be regarded literally.

If I must spell it out, this is what I meant. Antidepressants are not perfect (as I already stated). We can be attentive to delicate issues raised by their use, without simply deciding they are bad bad bad. It is not rare for depression to be fatal; therefore we should not withhold all pharmacological treatment from those who need it.

(Incidentally I recognize how analogous arguments can be used to justify ECT, which routinely causes life-destroying brain damage and memory loss. Not surprising for what began as a method of punishment and social control, and has only in recent years begun to be proffered as "therapeutic." I don't believe this invalidates my line of thought, but should perhaps also be taken into account.)

Yes...initially, I did make certain assumptions: though these were regarding the review (from which I took the quote which preceded my response).

Then I took a deep breath, decided I was being petty, and rewrote my comment: to focus on my experience, and to avoid anything which I thought could be even remotely interpreted as a personal attack.

It would appear that even polite disagreement can be interpreted thus. An unfortunate outcome, perhaps, of the often acrimonious tone of Internet communication with its illusion of anonymity.

At the time I wrote my first comment, I hadn't paid a great deal of attention to what you had written. If you felt I had been addressing you, my apologies; my intention had been to respond to the review.
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