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A history of psychiatry: from the era of the asylum to the age of Prozac

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

The view of psychiatry held by both insiders and the general public has changed considerably in the past few decades, in ways that Shorter (From the Mind into the Body, LJ 11/1/93) both acknowledges ... Read full review

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Certainly a useful text to support understanding the different approaches that have been utilised throughout and considered as legitimate in the past. Interestingly, today, we would never consider possession as an evidence based approach, however, I am aware that it is one that is covertly discussed among mental health workers in lunch rooms and corridors of all mental health workplaces and institutions that I have worked in. 

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I found this book to be very insightful and it built my foundation on the history of psychiatry. Needless to say it fills in some gaping holes left by introductory and intermediate psychology textbooks.
I noticed another reviewer refer to this work as Pop history, but I would defend Shorter (Professor at University of Toronto) as an academic in this case. His notations are meticulous and this is an example of scholarship; not pop lit.
That being said, there are certainly instances in this text where Shorter's interpretations and opinions concerning the philosophy of psychiatry shine through (I particularly liked his treatment of the Quaker 'Moral Treatment' and his criticisms of the medical model of psychiatry) but he's not exactly plotting with Tom Cruise and Scientologists.
Do you care about psychiatry? Are you considering a career in public health, mental health, medicine, or psychology? If so, reading this book is critical to building an understanding of mankind's struggle and ultimate inability to cure mental illness in the last 250 years. If you come into reading this book thinking that the solution to mental illness is simple and comes in pill form, you're in for a rude awakening. Even if you already know better than that, there is much to be gained by looking at the seemingly random history of psychiatry and the competing goals of curing vs. treating mental illness.
 

Review: A History of Psychiatry: From the Era of the Asylum to the Age of Prozac

User Review  - Rashad Raoufi - Goodreads

it ranges from the very boring fact attacks about dead germans to fasinating accounts of how psychiatry has evolved from bath treatments and enemas to prozac, its well researched and detailed which ... Read full review


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