The Emperor's New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth

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Random House, Oct 13, 2009 - Business & Economics - 240 pages
15 Reviews

Everyone knows that antidepressant drugs are miracles of modern medicine. Professor Irving Kirsch knew this as well as anyone. But, as he discovered during his research, there is a problem with what everyone knows about antidepressant drugs. It isn't true.

How did antidepressant drugs gain their reputation as a magic bullet for depression? And why has it taken so long for the story to become public? Answering these questions takes us to the point where the lines between clinical research and marketing disappear altogether.

Using the Freedom of Information Act, Kirsch accessed clinical trials that were withheld, by drug companies, from the public and from the doctors who prescribe antidepressants. What he found, and what he documents here, promises to bring revolutionary change to the way our society perceives, and consumes, antidepressants.

The Emperor's New Drugs exposes what we have failed to see before: depression is not caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain; antidepressants are significantly more dangerous than other forms of treatment and are only marginally more effective than placebos; and, there are other ways to combat depression, treatments that don't only include the empty promise of the antidepressant prescription.

This is not a book about alternative medicine and its outlandish claims. This is a book about fantasy and wishful thinking in the heart of clinical medicine, about the seductions of myth, and the final stubbornness of facts.

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Review: The Emperor's New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth

User Review  - Jenny - Goodreads

I started this book skeptical. Antidepressants are nothing but placebos? Really? How do I justify that with all the people I know whose life and mental health have been changed for the better due to ... Read full review

Review: The Emperor's New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth

User Review  - Matt Kimball - Goodreads

As I've been reading The Emperor's New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth, I've found that when I mention the book and its ideas to friends, those ideas generate a healthy amount of skeptical ... Read full review

About the author (2009)

Irving Kirsch is a lecturer in medicine at the Harvard Medical School and a professor of psychology at Plymouth University, as well as professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Hull, and the University of Connecticut. He has published eight books and numerous scientific articles on placebo effects, antidepressant medication, hypnosis, and suggestion. His work has appeared in Science, Science News, New Scientist, New York Times, Newsweek, and BBC Focus and many other leading magazines, newspapers, and television documentaries.

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