The Bitterest Pills The Troubling Story of Antipsychotic Drugs

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-09-15
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
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Antipsychotic (neuroleptic) drugs have become some of the biggest blockbusters of the early 21st century, increasingly prescribed not just to people with 'schizophrenia' or other severe forms of mental disturbance but for a range of more common psychological complaints. This book challenges the accepted account that portrays antipsychotics as specific treatments that target an underlying brain disease and explores early views that suggested, in contrast, that antipsychotics achieve their effects by inducing a state of neurological suppression. Professional enthusiasm for antipsychotics eclipsed this understanding, exaggerated the benefits of antipsychotics and minimized or ignored evidence of their toxic effects. The pharmaceutical industry has been involved in expanding the use of antipsychotics into territory where it is likely that their dangers far outweigh their advantages.

Author Biography

JOANNA MONCRIEFF is Senior Clinical Lecturer at the Mental Health Sciences Unit, University College London, UK, and a practicing consultant psychiatrist. She is a well-known critic of the contemporary thinking on the nature and uses of psychiatric drugs, and on the role of the pharmaceutical industry. She is a founding member and co-chair person of the Critical Psychiatry Network, a group of campaigning psychiatrists who question the biomedical consensus in psychiatry. Joanna has published extensively in academic journals, including journals of psychiatry, sociology and history of medicine. She has written for the general public, including a column in Open Mind magazine, articles for the BBC online and a short guide to Psychiatric Drugs (see below). Her previous books include: The Myth of the Chemical Cure; A Straight Talking Introduction to Psychiatric Drugs; De-Medicalizing Misery (co-edited).

Table of Contents

1. Cure or Curse?
2. Chlorpromazine
3. Magic Bullets
4. Building a House of Cards
5. The Phoenix Rises
6. Looking Where the Light is
7. The Patient's Dilemma
8. Antipsychotics as Chemical Cosh
9. Old and New Drug-Induced Problems
10. The First Tentacles
11. The Antipsychotic Epidemic
12. All is Not as it Seems

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