Blaming the Brain: The Truth About Drugs and Mental Health

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, Feb 1, 2002 - Medical - 304 pages
2 Reviews
Over the last thirty years, there has been a radical shift in thinking about the causes of mental illness. The psychiatric establishment and the health care industry have shifted 180 degrees from blaming mother to blaming the brain as the source of mental disorders. Whereas experience and environment were long viewed as the root causes of most emotional problems, now it is common to believe that mental disturbances -- from depression and anxiety to schizophrenia -- are determined by brain chemistry. And many people have come to accept the broader notion that their very personalities are determined by brain chemistry as well.

In his award-winning, meticulously researched, and elegantly written history of psychosurgery, Great and Desperate Cures, Elliot Valenstein exposed the great injury to thousands of lives that resulted when the medical establishment embraced an unproven approach to mental illness. Now, in Blaming the Brain he exposes the many weaknesses inherent in the scientific arguments supporting the widely accepted theory that biochemical imbalances are the main cause of mental illness. Valenstein reveals how, beginning in the 1950s, the accidental discovery of a few mood-altering drugs stimulated an enormous interest in psychopharmacology, resulting in staggering growth and profits for the pharmaceutical industry. He lays bare the commercial motives of drug companies and their huge stake in expanding their markets. Prozac, Thorazine, and Zoloft are just a few of the psychoactive drugs that have dramatically changed practice in the mental health profession. Physicians today prescribe them in huge numbers even though, as several major studies reveal, their effectiveness and safety have been greatly exaggerated.

Part history, part science, part exposť, and part solution, Blaming the Brain sounds a clarion call throughout our culture of quick-fix pharmacology and our increasing reliance on drugs as a cure-all for mental illness. This brilliant, provocative book will force patients, practitioners, and prescribers alike to rethink the causes of mental illness and the methods by which we treat it.

  

What people are saying - Write a review

Review: Blaming the Brain: The Truth About Drugs and Mental Health

User Review  - Nahal - Goodreads

MUST READ! Read full review

Review: Blaming the Brain: The Truth About Drugs and Mental Health

User Review  - Dennis - Goodreads

Best book I've read on the subject. No axe to grind, just a clear-eyed view full of facts and history. Very enlightening. Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
Discoveries of Psychotherapeutic Drugs
9
Theories of Drug Action and Biochemical Causes of Mental Disorder
59
A Closer Look at the Evidence
95
The Interpretation of the Evidence
125
How the Pharmaceutical Industry Promotes Drugs and Chemical Theories of Mental Illness
165
Other Special Interest Groups
203
Reprise Conclusions and Reflections
221
Notes
243
Index
285
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

Bibliographic information