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Cracked: The Unhappy Truth about Psychiatry Hardcover – August 1, 2013
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Davies, a social anthropologist and psychotherapist, takes on psychiatry and its bible, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), in the wake of the release of that book’s controversial fifth edition. Davies notes that psychiatry was once only for the “most distressed members of society.” No more. In 2011, Americans filled 254 million prescriptions for antidepressants, which, he writes, largely work because of the placebo effect, while some doctors who tout their benefits are consultants to drug companies. The number of mental disorders in the manual has increased from 106 in 1952 to 372 today, which has been referred to as “diagnosis inflation.” Davies’ hypothesis is that “psychiatry, by progressively lowering the bar for what counts as mental disorder, has recast many natural responses to the problems of living as mental disorders requiring psychiatric treatment.” He is so outspoken about his negative feelings that at a university gala, a cardiologist asked him if he was a Scientologist. This thought-provoking book will make people think twice before sitting on a psychiatrist’s couch or filling a prescription. --Karen Springen
“Rich in valuable insights, well written, and thoroughly resourced.Essential reading for anyone who is interested in the philosophical, historical, social, and political implications of the construction of psychoanalysis in the twentieth century.” (The European Journal of Psychotherapy)
“James Davies offers a highly original and insightful approach. Drawing from anthropology, philosophy, and psychology, Davies weaves a rich narrative that deserves to be widely read.” (Dead Alistair Ross, Oxford University)
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Top Customer Reviews
You need an outstanding psychiatrist to work with. This means you need to "shop" one, meeting with a variety, asking questions, so you can make a best choice. First, male or female clinician isn't as important as the personality. 1. are they immediately empathic, intuitive, and listen well, right off the bat? 2. Ask about contact. i.e.: should you be (hopefully infrequently, but it could happen) up-against-the-wall emotionally, something difficult happens, can you make contact with your shrink directly? In my opinion, the best agree with the caveat it has to be bad. 3. If an appointment is needed, how far ahead does scheduling work? Will you need to wait two weeks to get an appointment? In my opinion, a good shrink will work you in NEXT DAY...if you're seriously in trouble.
Medications are unfortunately stunningly tricky. Often prescribed are an SSRI (Prozav, Celexa, Effexor XR, etc.). These drugs assist the brain's ability to pick-up Serotonin being missed to improve mood. They typically can take 2.5 to 4 weeks to get into the bloodstream, and begin to work. If one isn't working, switching to another requires another 3-4 week chunk of time to wait fior signs of efficacy. Added, might be an anti-anxiety (anxiolytic) drug, typically a benzodiazepine (Xanax, Klonopin, even Valium (still), and many others, to provide immediate relied from feeling anxious. These are in your system in 20-30 minutes and help reduce the fight/flight panic sensations. Note prolonged use of "benzos" are currently seen as contributing to cognitive impairment and perhaps Alzheimer's like symptoms down the road. Despite that unpleasant thought...if you cannot function without your Xanax, you need to make a call, with your doctor, as what's best to do. Please don't forget you're the one hurting, and the psychiatrist you pay foir his/her services. Good communications are critical. Choose wisely as I said.
I'm a big believer in "Talking Therapy". Talking with a therapist AND meds, seem to be the ideal combination for many. Some can get by with just talking. Studies have shown...that the understandings, re-evaluations, stunning insights, perspective-changing dialogues...in a weekly therapeutic alliance, can make changes in brain chemistry, the same as medications can. It simply takes a lot longer via talk therapy. The difference being that understanding what ails you emotionally/psychologically, through talk therapy...yields changes that last a lifetime, as opposed to meds as long as you take them. A good therapist, you see weekly to spill your guts with, talk about the unthinkable in a safe, empathic environment, and the new understandings which come ftrom a long time association like this...can change your world the longer and harder you work. Therapy is not for sissies, or those who hold back. You have to open completely.
This book will help dispel the idea that you see a psychiatrist, get a "cocktail" of medications, feel better and you're done thinking.
Hope this offers some insight.
This briiliantly clear, cogently argued, shocking and timely book by psychotherapist and anthropologist James Davies rendered me almost incoherent with rage, exposing as it did something which many of us have been aware of, but maybe have not had the tools or ability to follow to a conclusion. James Davies has those tools and abilities; he thoughtfully, knowledgeably, skilfully connects all the dots together, uncovering the horrendous duplicity, collusion and sheer unscientific snake oil peddling visited upon us by Big Pharma, in the field of mental health.
I can't urge the reading of this book strongly enough. Anyone who cares about what it means to be a fully human being, and especially anyone involved in any way in the caring professions needs to be aware of what Davies lays clear about the mental health industry. For industry it surely is.
With a carefully constructed series of explanations, revelations and arguments Davies delivers telling knock out punches to the House of Trick Cards of current mainstream psychiatry. The major punches involve
1) The increasing categorisation of VIRTUALLY ANY EMOTIONAL STATE so that it falls within a category of disorder - thus opening the way to the development of chemical coshes. This categorisation - the `Bible' used to denote syndromes, the DSM (currently DSM 5, is NOT the result of huge studies and research itself, yet it gets used as if it were the result of close scientific analyses. The result of the sort of sordid, limiting tickboxy thinking, turning us all into robots who can be managed out of our normal human pain is the crass thinking that says, for example, if after a bereavement, sleep appetite and general mood are affected for more than 2 weeks, anti-depressants may be helpfully prescribed. Crazy, insidious, crass. We have become so afraid of our suffering that the answer becomes `cosh it, flat line what it is to be in any way human'
2) Trials - various meta analysis studies have shown that antidepressants are BARELY more effective, in mild to moderate depression, to placebo. Drug companies have disquietingly low bars to climb over, in order to `prove' their products effectiveness. Davies uncovers the secrecy, the UNPUBLISHED drug trials that go against the findings Big Pharma wants and the manipulation of results. More than this, how drug companies positively USE that most powerful of tools - PLACEBO ITSELF to manipulate their own results higher - for example, the colour, the name, the advertising of the pharmaceutical - many of the effects that might be assumed to be the result of the chemistry of the drug `better than placebo' - are in fact DUE to the use of placebo!
3) There has been a change in thinking from the 60s and 70s, where psychiatric drugs were seen as altering mood (in the same way as any mind altering drug, including alcohol and street drugs alter moods) A shift occurred to thinking of psychiatric drugs as `curative'. This might not seem an important shift - however it goes along with the idea that much uncomfortable, difficult human emotion is now being seen as potentially aberrant and classifiable as a `disease' - as in the DSM - shyness becomes `social phobia'.
Medical naming encourages thinking about human beings in all their complexity as broken, and needing mending - and opens the door to the over-prescription. In fact, as one astute expert (among the many) Davies consults, points out tersely, this thinking of these drugs as `cures' is erroneous, as unlike most physiological disease there just is no hard evidence to support the biology of a lot of what is now being treated as `disease' through these medications - which alter mood. They do not `cure' shyness, (or, lets medicalise it as social phobia) any more than a glass of wine `cures' shyness - both change ways of perceiving the world, that is all.
4) Who bites the hand that feeds? There is a huge cover-up, smoke and mirrors going on in the world of funding `research' into psychiatric medicine whether in academic institutions, or with clinicians. And, gentle reader, there is even less transparency over this in the UK than there is in the States, where under the Obama administration, spearheaded by a particularly truth-and-justice campaigning Senator, Senator Grassley, some efforts to bring the Pharma hyena under the spotlight are beginning to bear fruit. But not here, where there is murk a plenty. Perhaps though, the fact that fully 56% of the panel member luminaries involved in writing the DSM-IV bible had 1 or more financial associations with the pharmaceutical industry, should begin to rip the wool from over our eyes. And, for those writing/creating the diagnostic categories, which would of course be primarily treated by pharmaceuticals, - 88% of DSM-IV panel members had drug company financial ties from Big Pharma. And things don't have appeared to have changed for the better in terms of `arms length' involvement with the writing of the now current DSM-V.
I am not saying (nor is Davies) that all these senior clinicians and medical academicians are corrupt, merely that neutrality becomes hard to achieve when your income is dependent on a particular company who are hoping your findings will support the excellence of their product, and even to demonstrate a need for their product
I received this book as an ARC - of course, given what I have said in point 4, you may feel that my judgement is compromised. I would argue that a lowly amateur reviewer lucky enough to get offered bookie freebies through third parties does not in any way equate to some stars of the psychiatric industry who receive millions for the sterling work they do in supporting the claims of specific drugs and manufacturers. A look at some of my reviews on Amazon will show that if I think a particular book is poor I will indeed say so.
This one though gets my gold standard bookie trial award. Properly researched, properly cited, free from duplicitous cover-up. Unlike the industry is exposes.It deserves to be a best seller - indeed, needs to be so - its material is provocative, prescient, and vital to know.
I have one cavil - my ARC was a digital copy. Now I don't know if this will be any different than the standard digitise prepared for sale, but the digitisation on my ARC was poor - a lot of the useful charts and graphs do not appear and footnotes get chopped and inexplicably appear in the middle of other pages.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm sick of reading crap like this that vilifies the medical profession because of corporate corruption.Read more