Books

1. Psychiatry, psychiatric diagnosis, and psychiatric drugs

2. The pharmaceutical industry

3. Alternatives to medication, diagnosis, and hospitalization

4. Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal


 

Psychiatry, psychiatric diagnosis, and psychiatric drugs

A Straight Talking Intro to Psychiatric Diagnosis- Johnstone

A Straight Talking Introduction to Psychiatric Diagnosis
by Lucy Johnstone, PhD

This is a myth-busting new book, in this popular series, about psychiatric diagnosis and the flaws therein by a leading critical voice. Previous titles in the series have sold strongly to a mainstream audience as well as to students and practitioners.

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A Straight Talking Intro to Psychiatric Drugs- MoncrieffA Straight Talking Introduction to Psychiatric Drugs
by Joanna Moncrieff, MD

Psychiatric drugs and their use are amongst the most hotly debated issues in the 21st century. How they work, whether they are effective, how to understand the evidence, and explanations of the major categories of psychiatric drugs are all covered in this clearly written guide. The competing theories of drug action are also explained in easy-to-understand terms

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Anatomy of an Epidemic- Whitaker

Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America
by Robert Whitaker

In this astonishing and startling book, award-winning science and history writer Robert Whitaker investigates a medical mystery: Why has the number of disabled mentally ill in the United States tripled over the past two decades? Every day, 1,100 adults and children are added to the government disability rolls because they have become newly disabled by mental illness, with this epidemic spreading most rapidly among our nation’s children. What is going on?
 
Anatomy of an Epidemic challenges readers to think through that question themselves. First, Whitaker investigates what is known today about the biological causes of mental disorders. Do psychiatric medications fix “chemical imbalances” in the brain, or do they, in fact, create them? Researchers spent decades studying that question, and by the late 1980s, they had their answer. Readers will be startled—and dismayed—to discover what was reported in the scientific journals.

Then comes the scientific query at the heart of this book: During the past fifty years, when investigators looked at how psychiatric drugs affected longterm outcomes, what did they find? Did they discover that the drugs help people stay well? Function better? Enjoy good physical health? Or did they find that these medications, for some paradoxical reason, increase the likelihood that people will become chronically ill, less able to function well, more prone to physical illness?

This is the first book to look at the merits of psychiatric medications through the prism of long-term results. Are long-term recovery rates higher for medicated or unmedicated schizophrenia patients? Does taking an antidepressant decrease or increase the risk that a depressed person will become disabled by the disorder? Do bipolar patients fare better today than they did forty years ago, or much worse? When the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) studied the long-term outcomes of children with ADHD, did they determine that stimulants provide any benefit?

By the end of this review of the outcomes literature, readers are certain to have a haunting question of their own: Why have the results from these long-term studies—all of which point to the same startling conclusion—been kept from the public?

In this compelling history, Whitaker also tells the personal stories of children and adults swept up in this epidemic. Finally, he reports on innovative programs of psychiatric care in Europe and the United States that are producing good long-term outcomes. Our nation has been hit by an epidemic of disabling mental illness, and yet, as Anatomy of an Epidemic reveals, the medical blueprints for curbing that epidemic have already been drawn up.

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Bias in Psychiatric Diagnosis- Caplan and CosgroveBias in Psychiatric Diagnosis
edited by Paula J. Caplan and Lisa Cosgrove

The public has a right to know that when they go to a therapist, they are almost certain to be given a psychiatric diagnosis, no matter how mild or normal their problems might be. It is unlikely that they will be told that a diagnosis will be written forever in their chart and that alarming consequences can result solely from having any psychiatric diagnosis. It would be disturbing enough if diagnosis was a thoroughly scientific process, but it is not, and its unscientific nature creates a vacuum into which biases of all kinds can rush. Bias in Psychiatric Diagnosis is the first book ever published about how gender, race, social class, age, physical disability, and sexual orientation affect the classification of human beings into categories of psychiatric diagnosis. It is surprising that this kind of book is not yet on the market, because it is such a hot topic, and the negative consequences of psychiatric diagnosis range from loss of custody of a child to denial of health insurance and employment to removal of one’s right to make decisions about one’s legal affairs. It is an unusually compelling book because of its real-life relevance for millions of people. Virtually everyone these days has been a therapy patient or has a loved one who has been. In addition, psychiatric diagnosis and biases in diagnosis are increasingly crucial portions of, or the main subject of, legal proceedings. This book should sit next to every doctor’s PDR, especially given the skyrocketing use of psychoactive drugs in toddlers, children, and adolescents, as well as in adults, and especially because receiving a psychiatric label vastly increases the chances of being prescribed one or more of these drugs.

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Crazy Like Us- Watters

Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche
by Ethan Watters

The most devastating consequence of the spread of American culture across the globe has not been our golden arches or our bomb craters, but our bulldozing of the human psyche itself. American-style depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anorexia have begun to spread around the world like contagions, and the virus is us. Traveling from Hong Kong to Sri Lanka to Zanzibar to Japan, acclaimed journalist Ethan Watters witnesses firsthand how Western healers often steamroll indigenous expressions of mental health and madness and replace them with our own. In teaching the rest of the world to think like us, we have been homogenizing the way the world goes mad.

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Creating Mental Illness- HorwitzCreating Mental Illness
by Alan V. Horwitz

In this surprising book, Allan V. Horwitz argues that our current conceptions of mental illness as a disease fit only a small number of serious psychological conditions and that most conditions currently regarded as mental illness are cultural constructions, normal reactions to stressful social circumstances, or simply forms of deviant behavior.

“Thought-provoking and important. . .Drawing on and consolidating the ideas of a range of authors, Horwitz challenges the existing use of the term mental illness and the psychiatric ideas and practices on which this usage is based. . . . Horwitz enters this controversial territory with confidence, conviction, and clarity.”—Joan Busfield, American Journal of Sociology

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Decolonizing Global Mental Health- Mills

Decolonizing Global Mental Health: The psychiatrization of the majority world
by China Mills, PhD

Decolonizing Global Mental Health is a book that maps a strange irony. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Movement for Global Mental Health are calling to ‘scale up’ access to psychological and psychiatric treatments globally, particularly within the global South. Simultaneously, in the global North, psychiatry and its often chemical treatments are coming under increased criticism (from both those who take the medication and those in the position to prescribe it).

The book argues that it is imperative to explore what counts as evidence within Global Mental Health, and seeks to de-familiarize current ‘Western’ conceptions of psychology and psychiatry using postcolonial theory. It leads us to wonder whether we should call for equality in global access to psychiatry, whether everyone should have the right to a psychotropic citizenship and whether mental health can, or should, be global. As such, it is ideal reading for undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as researchers in the fields of critical psychology and psychiatry, social and health psychology, cultural studies, public health and social work.

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De-medicalizing Misery- Rapley et al

De-Medicalizing Misery: Psychiatry, Psychology and the Human Condition
edited by Mark Rapley, Joanna Moncrieff and Jacqui Dillon

Psychiatry and psychology have constructed a mental health system that does no justice to the problems it claims to understand and creates multiple problems for its users. Yet the myth of biologically-based mental illness defines our present. This book rethinks madness and distress reclaiming them as human, not medical, experiences.

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Doctoring the Mind- BentallDoctoring the Mind: Is Our Current Treatment of Mental Illness Really Any Good
by Richard Bentall, PhD

Toward the end of the twentieth century, the solution to mental illness seemed to be found. It lay in biological solutions, focusing on mental illness as a problem of the brain, to be managed or improved through drugs. We entered the “Prozac Age” and believed we had moved far beyond the time of frontal lobotomies to an age of good and successful mental healthcare. Biological psychiatry had triumphed.

Except maybe it hadn’t. Starting with surprising evidence from the World Health Organization that suggests that people recover better from mental illness in a developing country than in the first world, Doctoring the Mind asks the question: how good are our mental healthcare services, really? Richard P. Bentall picks apart the science that underlies our current psychiatric practice. He puts the patient back at the heart of treatment for mental illness, making the case that a good relationship between patients and their doctors is the most important indicator of whether someone will recover.

Arguing passionately for a future of mental health treatment that focuses as much on patients as individuals as on the brain itself, this is a book set to redefine our understanding of the treatment of madness in the twenty-first century.

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Drug-Induced Dementia- JacksonDrug-Induced Dementia: A Perfect Crime
by Grace E. Jackson, MD

Under the influence of declining birth rates, expanding longevity, and changing population structures around the world, the global prevalence of senile dementia is expected to increase more than four-fold within the next forty years. Within the United States alone, the number of affected individuals over the age of 65 is expected to rise exponentially from 8 million cases (2% of the entire population in the year 2000), to 18 million retirees (roughly 4.5% of the national census in the year 2040). Although they are striking, these statistics quite likely underestimate the scope of the coming epidemic, as they fail to consider the impact of under-diagnosis, early-onset disease, and the potential for a changing incidence of illness in the context of increasingly toxic environments. In the face of this imminent crisis, concerned observers have called for policies and practices which aim to prevent, limit, or reverse dementia. Drug-Induced Dementia: A Perfect Crime is a timely resource which reveals why and how medical treatments themselves – specifically, psychopharmaceuticals – are a substantial cause of brain degeneration and premature death. A first-of-its-kind resource for patients and clinicians, the book integrates research findings from epidemiology (observational studies of patients in the “real world”), basic biology (animal experiments), and clinical science (neuroimaging and autopsy studies) in order to demonstrate the dementing and deadly effects of psychiatric drugs. Highlighted by more than 100 neuroimages, slides of tissue specimens, and illustrations, the book uniquely describes: (1) the societal roots of the problem (target organ toxicity, regulatory incompetence, and performativity); (2) the subtypes and essential causes of dementia; (3) the patterns, prevalence, and causes of dementia associated with antidepressants, antipsychotics, anxiolytics, mood stabilizers, and stimulants; and (4) the actions and reforms which patients, providers, and policy.

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Drugging our Children- OlfmanDrugging Our Children: How Profiteers Are Pushing Antipsychotics on Our Youngest, and What We Can Do to Stop It
edited by Sharna Olfman, PhD and Brent Dean Robbins, PhD

Since 2001, there has been a dramatic increase in the use of antipsychotics to treat children for an ever-expanding list of symptoms. The prescription rate for toddlers, preschoolers, and middle-class children has doubled, while the prescribing rate for low-income children covered by Medicaid has quadrupled. In a majority of cases, these drugs are neither FDA-approved nor justified by research for the children’s conditions.

This book examines the reasons behind the explosion of antipsychotic drug prescriptions for children, spotlighting the historical and cultural factors as well as the role of the pharmaceutical industry in this trend; and discusses the ethical and legal responsibilities and ramifications for non-MDs—psychologists in particular—who work with children treated with antipsychotics.

Contributors explain how the pharmaceutical industry has inserted itself into every step of medical education, rendering objectivity in the scientific understanding, use, and approvals of such drugs impossible. The text describes the relentless marketing behind the drug sales, even going as far as to provide coloring and picture books for children related to the drug at issue. Valuable information about legal recourse that families and therapists can take when their children or patients have been harmed by antipsychotic drugs and alternative approaches to working with children with emotional and behavioral challenges is also provided.

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Mad in America- WhitakerMad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill
by Robert Whitaker

People labeled with schizophrenia in the United States currently fare worse than patients in the world’s poorest countries. In Mad in America, medical journalist Robert Whitaker argues that modern treatments for the “severely mentally ill” are just old medicine in new bottles, and that we as a society are deeply deluded about their efficacy. The widespread use of lobotomies in the 1920s and 1930s gave way in the 1950s to electroshock and a wave of new drugs. In what is perhaps Whitaker’s most damning revelation, Mad in America examines how drug companies in the 1980s and 1990s skewed their studies to prove that new antipsychotic drugs were more effective than the old, while keeping patients in the dark about dangerous side effects.

A haunting, deeply compassionate book—now revised with a new introduction—Mad in America raises important questions about our obligations to the mad, the meaning of “insanity,” and what we value most about the human mind.

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Mad Matters- LeFrancois et alMad Matters: A Critical Reader in Canadian Mad Studies
Edited by Brenda A. LeFrancois, PhD, Robert J. Menzies, PhD, and Geoffrey Reaume, PhD

In 1981, Toronto activist Mel Starkman wrote: “An important new movement is sweeping through the western world…. The ‘mad,’ the oppressed, the ex-inmates of society’s asylums are coming together and speaking for themselves.”

Mad Matters is the first Canadian book to bring together the writings of this vital movement, which has grown explosively in the years since. With contributions from scholars in numerous disciplines, as well as activists and psychiatric survivors, it presents diverse critical voices that convey the lived experiences of the psychiatrized and challenges dominant understandings of “mental illness.” The connections between mad activism and other liberation struggles are stressed throughout, making the book a major contribution to the literature on human rights and anti-oppression.

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Mad Science- Kirk and GomoryMad Science: Psychiatric Coercion, Diagnosis, and Drugs
by Stuart A. Kirk, DSW, Tomi Gomory, PhD, and David Cohen, PhD

*Winner of an honorable mention from the Society for Social Work and Research for Outstanding Social Work Book Award

Mad Science argues that the fundamental claims of modern American psychiatry are based on misconceived, flawed, and distorted science. The authors address multiple paradoxes in American mental health research, including the remaking of coercion into scientific psychiatric treatment, the adoption of an unscientific diagnostic system that controls the distribution of services, and how drug treatments have failed to improve the mental health outcome.

When it comes to understanding and treating mental illness, distortions of research are not rare, misinterpretation of data is not isolated, and bogus claims of success are not voiced by isolated researchers seeking aggrandizement. This book’s detailed analysis of coercion and community treatment, diagnosis, and psychopharmacology reveals that these characteristics are endemic, institutional, and protected in psychiatry. They are not just bad science, but mad science.

This book provides an engaging and readable scientific and social critique of current mental health practices. The authors are scholars, researchers, and clinicians who have written extensively about community care, diagnosis, and psychoactive drugs. This paperback edition makes Mad Science accessible to all specialists in the field as well as to the informed public.

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Madness Contested- ColesMadness Contested: Power and Practice
edited by Steven Coles, Sarah Keenan, and Rob Diamond

A critical review of how the mentally ill are treated both by the Mental Health Services and society, followed by alternatives to the current treatment of mental health based on views from nurses, service users, psychiatrists, psychologists, practitioners, and academics. This should be read by all those with an interest in mental health care.

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Madness Explained- BentallMadness Explained: Psychosis and Human Nature
by Richard P. Bentall, PhD

Today most of us accept the consensus that madness is a medical condition: an illness, which can be identified, classified and treated with drugs like any other.

In this ground breaking and controversial work Richard Bentall shatters the myths that surround madness. He shows there is no reassuring dividing line between mental health and mental illness. Severe mental disorders can no longer be reduced to brain chemistry, but must be understood psychologically, as part of normal behaviour andhuman nature.

Bentall argues that we need a radically new way of thinking about psychosis and its treatment. Could it be that it is a fear of madness, rather than the madness itself, that is our problem?

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MMaking Us Crazy- Hutchins and Kirkaking Us Crazy: DSM: The Psychiatric Bible and the Creation of Mental Disorder
by Herb Kutchins, and Stuart A. Kirk

What makes a person crazy? Nowadays it’s the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV). For many mental health professionals, the DSM is an indispensable diagnostic tool, and as the standard reference book for psychiatrists and other psychotherapists everywhere, it has had an inestimable influence on the way we view other human beings. Deciding what we consider sane and normal, and reflecting the prejudices and values of each generation, it’s not surprising that the DSM has become a battleground. But things have taken a strange turn. The fight is no longer about who escapes DSM labeling, but rather, how a person can qualify for a diagnosis. Now, mental health professionals must label their clients as pathological in order for them to be reimbursed by their insurance companies. This disturbing trend toward making us crazy when we are simply grappling with everyday concerns has even worse public implications. In Making Us Crazy, Professors Kutchins and Kirk reveal how the DSM is used to assassinate character and slander the opposition, often for political or monetary gain. None of this misuse bodes well for the future of mental health. Even children are being overdiagnosed and given drugs they don’t need. Making Us Crazy is the long-needed antidote to the claims made about the DSM. Kutchins and Kirk argue that the DSM is not the scientifically based reference work it purports to be, but rather a collection of current phobias and popular mores.

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Manufacturing Depression- GreenbergManufacturing Depression: The Secret History of a Modern Disease
by Gary Greenberg

Am I depressed or just unhappy? In the last two decades, antidepressants have become staples of our medicine cabinets—doctors now write 120 million prescriptions annually, at a cost of more than 10 billion dollars. At the same time, depression rates have skyrocketed; twenty percent of Americans are now expected to suffer from it during their lives. Doctors, and drug companies, claim that this convergence is a public health triumph: the recognition and treatment of an under-diagnosed illness. Gary Greenberg, a practicing therapist and longtime depressive, raises a more disturbing possibility: that the disease has been manufactured to suit (and sell) the cure.

Greenberg draws on sources ranging from the Bible to current medical journals to show how the idea that unhappiness is an illness has been packaged and sold by brilliant scientists and shrewd marketing experts—and why it has been so successful. Part memoir, part intellectual history, part exposé—including a vivid chronicle of his participation in a clinical antidepressant trial—Manufacturing Depression is an incisive look at an epidemic that has changed the way we have come to think of ourselves.

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MMedication Madness- Bregginedication Madness: The Role of Psychiatric Drugs in Cases of Violence, Suicide, and Crime
by Peter Breggin, MD

In Medication Madness, psychiatrist Peter R. Breggin, M.D., describes how people taking psychiatric medication can experience abnormal behavioral reactions, including suicide, violence, emotional breakdowns, and criminal acts. Dr. Breggin explains his concept of “medication spellbinding”: individuals taking psychiatric drugs may have no idea whatsoever that their mental conditions are deteriorating and that their actions are no longer under control. He proves his argument by documenting dozens of cases from his practice and his consultations in legal cases.

Reading like a thriller, the book also examines how the FDA, the pharmaceutical industry, and the medical establishment continue to oversell the value of these drugs, and he provides information on how to safely stop taking psychiatric medications. Medication Madness is a compelling and frightening read as well as a cautionary tale about our reliance on medicine to fix what ails us.

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Naughty Boys- TimimiNaughty Boys: Anti-Social Behaviour, ADHD and the Role of Culture
by Sami Timimi, MD

Boys in the West are being labeled as having psychiatric disorders, behavior problems and special educational needs, and are receiving psychiatric drugs in ever-greater numbers. In this book, Sami Timimi argues that this crisis reflects a fundamental ambivalence that Western culture has toward children that affects boys in particular. Using material from diverse sources, the author shows how Western society’s political, social and economic value system works against families and children, and how positive alternatives can be found in non-Western traditions.

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Psychiatry and the Business of Madness- BurstowPsychiatry and the Business of Madness: An Ethical and Epistemological Accounting
by Bonnie Burstow, PhD

Psychiatry and the Business of Madness deconstructs psychiatric discourse and practice, exposes the self-interest at the core of the psychiatric/psychopharmacological enterprise, and demonstrates that psychiatry is epistemologically and ethically irredeemable. Burstow’s medical and historical research and in-depth interviews demonstrate that the paradigm is untenable, that psychiatry is pseudo-medicine, that the “treatments” do not “correct” disorders but cause them. Burstow fundamentally challenges our right to incarcerate or otherwise subdue those we find distressing. She invites the reader to rethink how society addresses these problems, and gives concrete suggestions for societal transformation, with “services” grounded in the community. A compelling piece of scholarship, impeccable in its logic, unwavering in its moral commitment, and revolutionary in its implications.

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Psychiatry Disrupted- LeFrancois et alPsychiatry Disrupted: Theorizing Resistance and Crafting the (R)Evolution

by Bonnie Burstow, PhD

There is growing international resistance to the oppressiveness of psychiatry. While previous studies have critiqued psychiatry, Psychiatry Disrupted goes beyond theorizing what is wrong with it to theorizing how we might stop it. Introducing readers to the arguments and rationale for opposing psychiatry, the book combines perspectives from anti-psychiatry and critical psychiatry activism, mad activism, antiracist, critical, and radical disability studies, as well as feminist, Marxist, and anarchist thought. The editors and contributors are activists and academics – adult education and social work professors, psychologists, prominent leaders in the psychiatric survivor movement, and artists – from across Canada, England, and the United States. From chapters discussing feminist opposition to the medicalization of human experience, to the links between psychiatry and neo-liberalism, to internal tensions within the various movements and different identities from which people organize, the collection theorizes psychiatry while contributing to a range of scholarship and presenting a comprehensive overview of resistance to psychiatry in the academy and in the community. A courageous anthology, Psychiatry Disrupted is a timely work that asks compelling activist questions that no other book in the field touches.

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Psychiatry Under the Influence- WhitakerPsychiatry Under The Influence: Institutional Corruption, Social Injury, and Prescriptions for Reform
by Robert Whitaker

Psychiatry Under the Influence investigates how the influence of pharmaceutical money and guild interests has corrupted the behavior of the American Psychiatric Association and academic psychiatry during the past 35 years. The book documents how the psychiatric establishment regularly misled the American public about what was known about the biology of mental disorders, the validity of psychiatric diagnoses, and the safety and efficacy of its drugs. It also looks at how these two corrupting influences encouraged the expansion of diagnostic boundaries and the creation of biased clinical practice guidelines. This corruption has led to significant social injury, and in particular, a societal lack of informed consent regarding the use of psychiatric drugs, and the pathologizing of normal behaviors in children and adults. The authors argue that reforming psychiatry will require the neutralization of these two corrupting influences—pharmaceutical money and guild interests—and the establishment of multidisciplinary authority over the field of mental health.

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Rethinking ADHD- TimimiRethinking ADHD: From Brain to Culture
edited by Sami Timimi, MD and Jonathan Leo, PhD

In the past decade, there have been an increasing number of authors who have written about ADHD from a critical perspective. These critiques have ranged from questioning the existence of the disorder and the way it is currently conceptualized in mainstream medicine to the safety and efficacy of popular drug treatment regimes for ADHD. However, each of these critical authors have focused on their own particular area of interest, be this culture, genetics, the influence of drug company marketing, the effects of medication, particular treatment regimes, and so on. This book brings together a variety of critical perspectives, with each contribution dealing with a particular issue from culture to genetics and drug companies to nutrition.

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Rethinking Psychiatric DrugsRethinking Psychiatric Drugs: A Guide for Informed Consent
by Grace E. Jackson, MD

— Are patients aware of the fact that pharmacological therapies stress the brain in ways which may prevent or postpone symptomatic and functional recovery ? —

Rethinking Psychiatric Drugs: A Guide for Informed Consent is a critical appraisal of the medications which an estimated 20% of Americans consume on a regular (and sometimes involuntary) basis. It is the philosophically, epidemiologically, and scientifically supported revelation of how and why psychiatry’s drug therapies have contributed to a standard of care which frequently does more to harm than to cure. Extensively researched and documented, the book addresses: — the process by which psychiatric drugs reach the market — the history and philosophy of Evidence Based Medicine — the common flaws in research methodologies which negate the validity of the psychiatric RCT (Randomized Controlled Trial) — the problem of allostatic load (how drugs stress the body) — the history, long term effects, and utility of the drugs used to suppress symptoms of depression, psychosis, inattention and hyperactivity — the effectiveness of alternatives to medication Rethinking Psychiatric Drugs: A Guide for Informed Consent exposes the current crisis in medical ethics and epistemology, and attempts to restore to psychiatry an authentically informed consent to care.

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Schizophrenia- A Scientific Delusion- BoyleSchizophrenia: A Scientific Delusion?
by Mary Boyle

Schizophrenia: A Scientific Delusion?, first published in 1990, made a very significant contribution to the debates on the concepts of schizophrenia and mental illness. These concepts remain both influential and controversial and this new updated second edition provides an incisive critical analysis of the debates over the last decade. As well as providing updated versions of the historical and scientific arguments against the concept of schizophrenia which formed the basis of the first edition, Boyle covers significant new material relevant to today’s debates, including: The development of DSM-IV’s version of ‘schizophrenia’ Analysis of social, psychological and linguistic processes which construct ‘schizophrenia’ as a reasonable version of reality A detailed critical evaluation of recent alternatives to the concept of schizophrenia Schizophrenia: A Scientific Delusion? demonstrates that the need for analysis and debate on these issues is as great as ever and that we need to question how we think about and manage what we call “madness”.

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The Anti-Depressant Fact Book- BregginThe Anti-Depressant Fact Book: What Your Doctor Won’t Tell You About Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, and Luvox
by Peter R. Breggin, MD

Known as “the Ralph Nader of psychiatry,” Dr. Peter Breggin has been the medical expert in countless court cases involving the use or misuse of psychoactive medications. This unusual position has given him unprecedented access to private pharmaceutical research and correspondence files, information from which informs this straight-talking guide to the most prescribed and controversial category of American drugs: antidepressants. From how these drugs work in the brain to how they treat (or don’t treat) depression and obsessive-compulsive, panic, and other disorders; from the documented side and withdrawal effects to what every parent needs to know about antidepressants and teenagers, The Anti-Depressant Fact Book is up-to-the minute and easy-to-access. Hard-hitting and enlightening, every current, former, and prospective antidepressant-user will want to read this book.

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The Bitterest Pills- MoncrieffThe Bitterest Pills: The Troubling Story of Antipsychotic Drugs
by Joanna Moncrieff, MD

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.

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The Emperor's New Drugs- KirschThe Emperor’s New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth
by Irving Kirsch, PhD

Irving Kirsch has the world doubting the efficacy of antidepressants. Based on fifteen years of research, The Emperor’s New Drugs makes an overwhelming case that what the medical community considered a cornerstone of psychiatric treatment is little more than a faulty consensus. But Kirsch does more than just criticize: He offers a path society can follow to stop popping pills and start proper treatment.

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The Gene Illusion- JosephThe Gene Illusion – Genetic Research in Psychiatry and Psychology Under the Microscope
by Jay Joseph, Psy.D.

What are the forces shaping who we are, how we live, and how we act? Are we shaped primarily by our environment, or by our genes? These very old questions form the basis of the “nature-nurture” debate. Increasingly, we are told that research has confirmed the importance of genetic factors influencing psychiatric disorders, personality, intelligence, sexual orientation, criminality, and so on.

Jay Joseph’s timely, challenging book provides a much-needed critical appraisal of the evidence cited in support of genetic theories. His book shows that, far from establishing the importance of genes, family, twin and adoption research has been plagued by researcher bias, unsound methodology, and a reliance on unsupported theoretical assumptions. Furthermore, he demonstrates how this greatly flawed research has been used in support of conservative social and political agendas. This is particularly evident in Chapter 2, which contains the only in-depth critical review of the history of twin research ever published.

Much of the scientific evidence cited in support of genetic theories has been produced by the fields of behavior genetics and psychiatric genetics. It has been delivered to the public in numerous magazine and newspaper articles, as well as by the authors of several popular books. In particular, studies of twins (both reared together and reared apart) have been cited as providing conclusive evidence supporting the importance of genetic influences on psychological trait differences. The reared-apart twin studies performed by researchers at the University of Minnesota have been the subject of much attention, including stories of individual pairs of “reared-apart” identical twins who, it is claimed, displayed remarkable similarities upon being reunited. Joseph shows, however, that both systematic reared-apart twin studies, and stories about individual pairs, prove little if anything about the role of genes.

Schizophrenia is the most studied, and at the same time the most feared and misunderstood, of all psychiatric disorders. Two chapters are devoted to problems with genetic research in this area. One of these chapters reviews schizophrenia adoption research, which includes the well-known and frequently cited Danish-American and Finnish investigations. Another chapter looks into the alleged genetic basis of criminal behavior — an idea more popular today than at any time in the past 60 years. Additional chapters look into other areas of current interest in genetics, such as IQ, the heritability concept, and molecular genetic research. Regarding the latter, in Chapter 10 Joseph concludes that it is unlikely that genes for the major psychiatric disorders exist.

In contrast to the bleak view of humans and their future held by people claiming that heredity is of overriding importance, there exists a radically different perspective. Faulty genes are not the cause of human suffering or socially disapproved behavior. Rather, the likely causes are well-known and well-documented psychologically harmful events and environments.

This book is essential reading for anyone seeking an alternative to the increasingly popular, yet mistaken view that “genes are destiny.”

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The Meaning of Mind- SzaszThe Meaning of Mind: Language, Morality, and Neuroscience
by Thomas Szasz, MD

In this brilliantly original and highly accessible work, Thomas Szasz demonstrates the futility of analyzing the mind as a collection of brain functions.

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The Missing Gene- Joseph

The Missing Gene: Psychiatry, Heredity, And the Fruitless Search for Genes
by Jay Joseph, Psy.D.

What causes psychiatric disorders to appear? Are they primarily the result of people s environments, or of their genes? Increasingly, we are told that research has confirmed the importance of genetic influences on psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, autism, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
This timely, challenging book provides a much-needed critical appraisal of the evidence cited in support of genetic theories of psychiatric disorders, which hold that these disorders are caused by an inherited genetic predisposition in combination with environmental agents or events. In fact, the field of psychiatric genetics is approaching the crisis stage due to the continuing failure, despite years of concerted worldwide efforts, to identify genes presumed to underlie most mental disorders.

The belief that such genes exist is based on studies of families, twins, and adoptees. However, the author shows that these studies provide little if any scientifically acceptable evidence in support of genetics. In fact, researchers initial “discoveries” are rarely replicated. As this becomes more understood, and as fruitless gene finding efforts continue to pile up, we may well be headed towards a paradigm shift in psychiatry away from genetic and biological explanations of mental disorders, and towards a greater understanding of how family, social, and political environments contribute to human psychological distress. Indeed, Kenneth Kendler, a leading twin researcher and psychiatric geneticist for over two decades, wrote in a 2005 edition of The American Journal of Psychiatry that the “strong, clear, and direct causal relationship implied by the concept of a gene for … does not exist for psychiatric disorders.  Although we may wish it to be true, we do not have and are not likely to ever discover genes for psychiatric illness.”

The author devotes individual chapters to ADHD, autism, and bipolar disorder. Looking specifically at autism, despite the near-unanimous opinion that it has an important genetic component, the evidence cited in support of this position is stunningly weak. It consists mainly of family studies, which cannot disentangle the potential influences of genes and environment, and four small methodologically flawed twin studies whose results can be explained by non-genetic factors. Not surprisingly, then, years of efforts to find “autism genes” have come up empty.

This is an important book because theories based on genetic research are having a profound impact on both scientific and public thinking, as well as on social policy decisions. In addition, genetic theories influence the types of clinical treatments received by people diagnosed with psychiatric disorders. Yet, as the author demonstrates, these theories do not stand up to critical examination.

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The Myth of Mental Illness- SzaszThe Myth of Mental Illness: Foundations of a Theory of Personal Conduct
by Thomas Szasz, MD

The most influential critique of psychiatry ever written, Thomas Szasz’s classic book revolutionized thinking about the nature of the psychiatric profession and the moral implications of its practices. By diagnosing unwanted behavior as mental illness, psychiatrists, Szasz argues, absolve individuals of responsibility for their actions and instead blame their alleged illness. He also critiques Freudian psychology as a pseudoscience and warns against the dangerous overreach of psychiatry into all aspects of modern life.

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The Myth of the Chemical Cure- MoncrieffThe Myth of the Chemical Cure: A Critique of Psychiatric Drug Treatment
by Joanna Moncrieff, MD

This controversial book overturns the claim that psychiatric drugs work by correcting chemical imbalance, and analyzes the professional, commercial and political vested interests that have shaped this view. It provides a comprehensive critique of research on drugs including antidepressants, antipsychotics and mood stabilizers.

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The Selling of DSM- Kirk and HutchinsThe Selling of DSM: The Rhetoric of Science in Psychiatry (Social Problems and Social Issues)
by Stuart A. Kirk and Herb Kutchins

When it was first published in 1980, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Third Edition—univer­sally known as DSM-III—embodied a radical new method for identifying psychiatric illness. Kirk and Kutchins challenge the general understanding about the research data and the pro­cess that led to the peer acceptance of DSM-III. Their original and controversial reconstruction of that moment concen­trates on how a small group of researchers interpreted their findings about a specific problem—psychiatric reliability—to promote their beliefs about mental illness and to challenge the then-dominant Freudian paradigm.

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The War Against Children of Color- Breggin and BregginThe War Against Children of Color: Psychiatry Targets Inner City Youth
by Peter Breggin, MD

From the authors of the bestseller “Talking Back to Prozac” comes the definitive work exposing how mental health agencies and the government are using invalid science for social control rather than addressing the decline of families, schools and communities as well as escalating racism and poverty.

Dr. Peter Breggin and Ginger Ross Breggin inspired a national campaign against the proposed federal “Violence Initiative,” aimed at identifying inner city children with alleged defects that were said to make them more violent when they reached adulthood. Many of the research plans, still in operation, involve searching for a “violence gene,” finding “biochemical imbalances,” and intervening in the lives of schoolchildren with psychiatric drugs.

The Breggins describe this broad network of private and public programs–funded by the pharmaceutical industry as well as tax dollars–in the single-minded quest for a genetic or biological answer to the rising crime rate.

With several million youngsters already on Ritalin and other medications, diagnoses and treatments are replacing adult responsibility and social reform. The Breggins warn that the low priority of the rights and emotions of children is the real epidemic that must be addressed, and soon.

As an alternative, THE WAR AGAINST CHILDREN OF COLOR offers a host of measures for fulfilling the genuine needs of children without invasive treatments and stigmatizing labels.

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They Say You're Crazy- CaplanThey Say You’re Crazy: How The World’s Most Powerful Psychiatrists Decide Who’s Normal
by Paula J. Caplan, PhD

How are decisions made about who is normal? As a former consultant to those who construct the “bible of the mental-health professions,” the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), Paula Caplan offers and insider’s look at the process by which decisions about abnormality are made. Cutting through the professional psycho-babble, Caplan clearly assesses the astonishing extent to which scientific methods and evidence are disregarded as the handbook is developed. A must read for consumers and practitioners of the mental-health establishment, which through its creation of potentially damaging interpretations and labels, has the power to alter our lives in devastating ways.

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Toxic Psychiatry- BregginToxic Psychiatry: Why Therapy, Empathy and Love Must Replace the Drugs, Electroshock, and Biochemical Theories of the “New Psychiatry”
by Peter Breggin, MD

Prozac, Xanax, Halcion, Haldol, Lithium. These psychiatric drugs–and dozens of other short-term “solutions”–are being prescribed by doctors across the country as a quick antidote to depression, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other psychiatric problems. But at what cost?

In this searing, myth-shattering exposé, psychiatrist Peter R. Breggin, M.D., breaks through the hype and false promises surrounding the “New Psychiatry” and shows how dangerous, even potentially brain-damaging, many of its drugs and treatments are. He asserts that: psychiatric drugs are spreading an epidemic of long-term brain damage; mental “illnesses” like schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety disorder have never been proven to be genetic or even physical in origin, but are under the jurisdiction of medical doctors; millions of schoolchildren, housewives, elderly people, and others are labeled with medical diagnoses and treated with authoritarian interventions, rather than being patiently listened to, understood, and helped.

Toxic Psychiatry sounds a passionate, much-needed wake-up call for everyone who plays a part, active or passive, in America’s ever-increasing dependence on harmful psychiatric drugs.

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Tranquil Prisons- FabrisTranquil Prisons: Chemical Incarceration under Community Treatment Orders
by Erick Fabris

Antipsychotic medications are sometimes imposed on psychiatric patients deemed dangerous to themselves and others. This is based on the assumption that treatment is safe and effective, and that recovery depends on biological adjustment. Under new laws, patients can be required to remain on these medications after leaving hospitals. However, survivors attest that forced treatment used as a restraint can feel like torture, while the consequences of withdrawal can also be severe.

A brave and innovative book, Tranquil Prisons is a rare academic study of psychiatric treatment written by a former mental patient. Erick Fabris’s original, multidisciplinary research demonstrates how clients are pre-emptively put on chemical agents despite the possibility of alternatives. Because of this practice, patients often become dependent on psychiatric drugs that restrict movement and communication to incarcerate the body rather than heal it. Putting forth calls for professional accountability and more therapy choices for patients, Fabris’s narrative is both accessible and eye-opening.

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Unhinged- CarlatUnhinged: The Trouble with Psychiatry – A Doctor’s Revelations about a Profession in Crisis
by Daniel J. Carlat, MD

“In this stirring and beautifully written wake-up call, psychiatrist Daniel Carlat exposes deeply disturbing problems plaguing his profession, revealing the ways it has abandoned its essential purpose: to understand the mind, so that psychiatrists can heal mental illness and not just treat symptoms. As he did in his hard-hitting and widely read New York Times Magazine article “Dr. Drug Rep,” and as he continues to do in his popular watchdog newsletter, The Carlat Psychiatry Report, he writes with bracing honesty about how psychiatry has so largely forsaken the practice of talk therapy for the seductive—and more lucrative—practice of simply prescribing drugs, with a host of deeply troubling consequences.

Psychiatrists have settled for treating symptoms rather than causes, embracing the apparent medical rigor of DSM diagnoses and prescription in place of learning the more challenging craft of therapeutic counseling, gaining only limited understanding of their patients’ lives. Talk therapy takes time, whereas the fifteen-minute “med check” allows for more patients and more insurance company reimbursement. Yet DSM diagnoses, he shows, are premised on a good deal less science than we would think.

Writing from an insider’s perspective, with refreshing forthrightness about his own daily struggles as a practitioner, Dr. Carlat shares a wealth of stories from his own practice and those of others that demonstrate the glaring shortcomings of the standard fifteen-minute patient visit. He also reveals the dangers of rampant diagnoses of bipolar disorder, ADHD, and other “popular” psychiatric disorders, and exposes the risks of the cocktails of medications so many patients are put on. Especially disturbing are the terrible consequences of overprescription of drugs to children of ever younger ages. Taking us on a tour of the world of pharmaceutical marketing, he also reveals the inner workings of collusion between psychiatrists and drug companies.

Concluding with a road map for exactly how the profession should be reformed, Unhinged is vital reading for all those in treatment or considering it, as well as a stirring call to action for the large community of psychiatrists themselves. As physicians and drug companies continue to work together in disquieting and harmful ways, and as diagnoses—and misdiagnoses—of mental disorders skyrocket, it’s essential that Dr. Carlat’s bold call for reform is heeded.”

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Users and Abusers of Psychiatry- JohnstoneUsers and Abusers of Psychiatry: A Critical Look at Psychiatric Practice
by Lucy Johnstone, PhD

Users and Abusers of Psychiatry is a radically different, critical account of the day-to-day practice of psychiatry. Using real-life examples and her own experience as a clinical psychologist, Lucy Johnstone argues that the traditional way of treating mental illness can often exacerbate people’s original difficulties leaving them powerless, disabled and distressed.
In this completely revised and updated second edition, she draws on a range of evidence to present a very different understanding of psychiatric breakdown than that found in standard medical textbooks.
Users and Abusers of Psychiatry is a challenging but ultimately inspiring read for all who are involved in mental health – whether as professionals, students, service users, relatives or interested lay people.

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The pharmaceutical industry

Bad Pharma- GoldacreBad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients
by Ben Goldacre, MD

“Smart, funny, clear, unflinching: Ben Goldacre is my hero.” –Mary Roach, author of StiffSpook, and Bonk

We like to imagine that medicine is based on evidence and the results of fair testing and clinical trials. In reality, those tests and trials are often profoundly flawed. We like to imagine that doctors who write prescriptions for everything from antidepressants to cancer drugs to heart medication are familiar with the research literature about these drugs, when in reality much of the research is hidden from them by drug companies. We like to imagine that doctors are impartially educated, when in reality much of their education is funded by the pharmaceutical industry. We like to imagine that regulators have some code of ethics and let only effective drugs onto the market, when in reality they approve useless drugs, with data on side effects casually withheld from doctors and patients.

All these problems have been shielded from public scrutiny because they are too complex to capture in a sound bite. Ben Goldacre shows that the true scale of this murderous disaster fully reveals itself only when the details are untangled. He believes we should all be able to understand precisely how data manipulation works and how research misconduct in the medical industry affects us on a global scale.

With Goldacre’s characteristic flair and a forensic attention to detail, Bad Pharma reveals a shockingly broken system in need of regulation. This is the pharmaceutical industry as it has never been seen before.

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Confessions of an Rx Drug Pusher- OlsenConfessions of an Rx Drug Pusher
by Gwen Olsen

On December 2, 2004, Gwen Olsen’s niece Megan committed suicide by setting herself on fire-and ended her tortured life as a victim of the adverse effects of prescription drugs. Olsen’s poignant autobiographical journey through the darkness of mental illness and the catastrophic consequences that lurk in medicine cabinets around the country offers an honest glimpse into alarming statistics and a health care system ranked last among nineteen industrialized nations worldwide. As a former sales representative in the pharmaceutical industry for several years, Olsen learned firsthand how an unprecedented number of lethal drugs are unleashed in the United States market, but her most heartrending education into the dangers of antidepressants would come as a victim and ultimately, as a survivor.Rigorously researched and documented, Confessions of an Rx Drug Pusher is a moving human drama that shares one woman’s unforgettable journey of faith, forgiveness, and healing.

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Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime- Gotzsche

Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How Big Pharma Has Corrupted Healthcare
by Peter C. Gøtzsche, MD

In his latest ground-breaking book, Peter C Gøtzsche exposes the pharmaceutical industries and their charade of fraudulent behaviour, both in research and marketing where the morally repugnant disregard for human lives is the norm. He convincingly draws close comparisons with the tobacco conglomerates, revealing the extraordinary truth behind efforts to confuse and distract the public and their politicians. The book addresses, in evidence-based detail, an extraordinary system failure caused by widespread crime, corruption, bribery and impotent drug regulation in need of radical reforms. “The main reason we take so many drugs is that drug companies don’t sell drugs, they sell lies about drugs. This is what makes drugs so different from anything else in life…Virtually everything we know about drugs is what the companies have chosen to tell us and our doctors…the reason patients trust their medicine is that they extrapolate the trust they have in their doctors into the medicines they prescribe. The patients don’t realise that, although their doctors may know a lot about diseases and human physiology and psychology, they know very, very little about drugs that hasn’t been carefully concocted and dressed up by the drug industry…If you don’t think the system is out of control, please email me and explain why drugs are the third leading cause of death…If such a hugely lethal epidemic had been caused by a new bacterium or a virus, or even one-hundredth of it, we would have done everything we could to get it under control.”

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The Truth About the Drug Companies- AngellThe Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It
by Marcia Angell, MD

During her two decades at The New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Marcia Angell had a front-row seat on the appalling spectacle of the pharmaceutical industry. She watched drug companies stray from their original mission of discovering and manufacturing useful drugs and instead become vast marketing machines with unprecedented control over their own fortunes. She saw them gain nearly limitless influence over medical research, education, and how doctors do their jobs. She sympathized as the American public, particularly the elderly, struggled and increasingly failed to meet spiraling prescription drug prices. Now, in this bold, hard-hitting new book, Dr. Angell exposes the shocking truth of what the pharmaceutical industry has become–and argues for essential, long-overdue change.

Currently Americans spend a staggering $200 billion each year on prescription drugs. As Dr. Angell powerfully demonstrates, claims that high drug prices are necessary to fund research and development are unfounded: The truth is that drug companies funnel the bulk of their resources into the marketing of products of dubious benefit. Meanwhile, as profits soar, the companies brazenly use their wealth and power to push their agenda through Congress, the FDA, and academic medical centers.

Zeroing in on hugely successful drugs like AZT (the first drug to treat HIV/AIDS), Taxol (the best-selling cancer drug in history), and the blockbuster allergy drug Claritin, Dr. Angell demonstrates exactly how new products are brought to market. Drug companies, she shows, routinely rely on publicly funded institutions for their basic research; they rig clinical trials to make their products look better than they are; and they use their legions of lawyers to stretch out government-granted exclusive marketing rights for years. They also flood the market with copycat drugs that cost a lot more than the drugs they mimic but are no more effective.

The American pharmaceutical industry needs to be saved, mainly from itself, and Dr. Angell proposes a program of vital reforms, which includes restoring impartiality to clinical research and severing the ties between drug companies and medical education. Written with fierce passion and substantiated with in-depth research, The Truth About the Drug Companies is a searing indictment of an industry that has spun out of control.

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Alternatives to medication, diagnosis, and hospitalization


A Way Out of Madness- Mackler and MorrisseyA Way Out of Madness: : Dealing with Your Family After You’ve Been Diagnosed with a Psychiatric Disorder
edited by Daniel Mackler and Matthew Morrissey

Family conflict can wreak havoc on people diagnosed with psychiatric disorders. A Way Out of Madness offers guidance in resolving family conflict and taking control of your life. The book also includes personal accounts of family healing by people who were themselves psychiatrically diagnosed. Contributors include: Patch Adams, M.D., inspiration for the Robin Williams film; Joanne Greenberg, author, I Never Promised You a Rose Garden; David Oaks, director, MindFreedom International; Will Hall, co-founder, Freedom Center.

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Alternatives Beyond Psychiatry- Stastny and LehmannAlternatives Beyond Psychiatry
edited by Peter Stastny and Peter Lehmann

The great book of alternatives to psychiatry around the world. (Ex-) users and survivors of psychiatry, therapists, psychiatrists, lawyers, social scientists and relatives report about their alternative work, their successes, their individual and collective experiences. The book highlights alternatives beyond psychiatry, current possibilities of self-help for individuals experiencing madness, and strategies toward implementing humane treatment.

These are some of the questions, which are addressed by the 61 authors (ex-) users and survivors of psychiatry, medical practitioners, therapists, lawyers, social scientists, psychiatrists and relatives from all continents: What helps me if I go mad? How can I find trustworthy help for a relative or a friend in need? How can I protect myself from coercive treatment? As a family member or friend, how can I help? What should I do if I can no longer bear to work in the mental health field? What are the alternatives to psychiatry? How can I get involved in creating alternatives? Assuming psychiatry would be abolished, what do you propose instead?

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Commonsense Rebellion- LevineCommonsense Rebellion: Taking Back Your Life from Drugs, Shrinks, Corporations, and a World Gone Crazy
by Bruce E. Levine, PhD

In recent years the mental health industry has been attacked for the invalidity of its illnesses, the unreliability of its diagnoses, the dangers of its treatments, and its corruption by drug companies. Commonsense Rebellion integrates those critiques and goes further.Nearly 1 in 4 American adults take psychiatric drugs, and Ritalin production has increased 800 percent since 1990. Yet the mental health industry laments the fact that two-thirds of us with diagnosable mental disorders do not seek treatment. This book argues that “institutional mental health’s” ever-increasing diseases, disorders, and drugs have diverted us from examining an important rebellion against an increasingly impersonal and coercive “institutional society” which worships speed, power, and technology. This has created fantastic wealth – at least for some – but its disregard for human autonomy, community, and diversity has come with a cost. Depression has reportedly increased tenfold since 1900, and suicide levels for teenage boys have tripled since 1960. Have human genetics and serotonin levels changed that much, or has society?

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Living With Voices- Romme et alLiving With Voices: 50 Stories of Recovery
edited by Marius Romme, Sandra Escher, Jacqui Dillon, Dirk Corstens, and Mervyn Morris

This book is a groundbreaking development in modern mental health because it recognises the importance of the first hand experience and argues that hearing voices is not a sign of madness but a reaction to serious problems in life.

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On Our Own- ChamberlinOn Our Own: Patient-Controlled Alternatives to the Mental Health System
by Judi Chamberlin

In 1966, in severe emotional distress after a miscarriage, 21-year-old Judi Chamberlin was involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital. Judi quickly discovered that as a patient it was nearly impossible to regain her freedom. She was told by hospital providers and administrators that she would never be able to live outside an institution.

Judi defied her prognosis and went on to help found what is known as the “psychiatric user, survivor and ex-patient movement.” She drew courage and inspiration from other social justice movements of the 1960s and 1970s, including civil rights, women’s liberation, and gay liberation.

Published originally in 1977, “On Our Own: Patient Controlled Alternatives to the MH System” presents a scathing critique of traditional mental health “treatment” that is still very relevant to today’s mental health care system. It makes a compelling case for “patient-controlled services” — viable and more humane alternatives to the institutions that destroy the confident independence of so many people. This is a work of great hope and optimism.

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Prozac Backlash- Glenmullen

Prozac Backlash: Overcoming the Dangers of Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, and Other Antidepressants with Safe, Effective Alternatives
by Joseph Glenmullen, MD

Roughly 28 million Americans — one in every ten — have taken Prozac, Zoloft, or Paxil or a similar antidepressant, yet very few patients are aware of the dangers of these drugs, nor are they aware that better, safer alternatives exist. Now Harvard Medical School’s Dr. Joseph Glenmullen documents the ominous long-term side effects associated with these and other serotonin-boosting medications. These side effects include neurological disorders, such as disfiguring facial and whole-body tics that can indicate brain damage; sexual dysfunction in up to 60 percent of users; debilitating withdrawal symptoms, including visual hallucinations, electric shock-like sensations in the brain, dizziness, nausea, and anxiety; and a decrease of antidepressant effectiveness in about 35 percent of long-term users. In addition, Dr. Glenmullen’s research and riveting case studies shed shocking new light on the direct link between these drugs and suicide and violence.

Written by a doctor with impeccable credentials, Prozac Backlash is filled with compelling, sometimes heartrending stories and is thoroughly documented with extensive scientific sources. It is both provocative and hopeful, a sound, reliable guide to the safe treatment of depression and other psychiatric problems.

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Rethinking Madness- WilliamsRethinking Madness: Towards a Paradigm Shift in Our Understanding and Treatment of Psychosis
by Paris Williams, PhD

As the recovery research continues to accumulate, we find that the mainstream understanding of schizophrenia and psychosis has lost nearly all credibility:

* After over 100 years and billions of dollars spent on research looking for schizophrenia and other related psychotic disorders in the brain, we still have not found any substantial evidence that these disorders are actually caused by a brain disease.
* We have learned that full recovery from schizophrenia and other related psychotic disorders is not only possible but is surprisingly common.
* We’ve discovered that those diagnosed in the United States and other “developed” nations are much less likely to recover than those in the poorest countries of the world; furthermore, those diagnosed with a psychotic disorder in the West today may fare even worse than those so diagnosed over 100 years ago.
* We’ve seen that the long-term use of antipsychotics and the mainstream psychiatric paradigm of care is likely to be causing significantly more harm than benefit, greatly increasing the likelihood that a transient psychotic episode will harden into a chronic psychotic condition.
* And we’ve learned that many people who recover from these psychotic disorders do not merely return to their pre-psychotic condition, but often undergo a profound positive transformation with far more lasting benefits than harms.

In Rethinking Madness, Dr. Paris Williams takes the reader step by step on a highly engaging journey of discovery, exploring how the mainstream understanding of schizophrenia has become so profoundly misguided. He reveals the findings of his own groundbreaking research of people who have fully recovered from schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, weaving the stories of these participants into the existing literature and crafting a surprisingly clear and coherent vision of the entire psychotic process, from onset to full recovery.

As this vision unfolds, we discover . . .

. . . common factors associated with onset, deepening, and recovery from psychosis
. . . a way to make some sense out of the anomalous experiences occurring within psychosis
. . . lasting transformations that often occur as a result of going through a psychotic process
. . . common lasting harms and benefits of the psychotic process
. . . ways to support those struggling with psychotic experiences while also coming to appreciate the important ways that these individuals can contribute to society
. . . a deeper sense of appreciation for the profound wisdom and resilience that lie within all of our beings, even those we may think of as being deeply disturbed
. . . that by gaining a deeper understanding of madness, we gain a deeper understanding of the core existential dilemmas with which we all must struggle, arriving at the unsettling realization of just how thin the boundary really is between madness and sanity

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Soteria- Mosher and Hendrix

Soteria: Through Madness to Deliverance

by Loren Mosher, MD, Voyce Hendrix and Deborah C. Fort

This book is the story of a place where young people diagnosed as “schizophrenic” found an environment where they were related to, listened to, and understood during their altered states of consciousness. Most recovered.

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Surviving America's Depression Epidemic- LevineSurviving America’s Depression Epidemic: How to Find Morale, Energy, and Community in a World Gone Crazy
by Bruce E. Levine, PhD

Millions of us have experienced periods of low morale, struggled to find cheer in the day-to-day world, and then found ourselves pacified into believing the smooth-talking spokesperson in yet another medication ad. We’ve all heard them, there’s no denying the fact that these ads have made each of us wonder: Do I suffer from depression? Would I be happier and healthier if I simply consulted my physician and requested (insert drug name here)?

The rate of clinical depression in the U.S. has increased more than tenfold in the last fifty years. Is this epidemic properly being addressed by the insurance, pharmaceutical, and governmental powers-that-be or exacerbated by a failing system focused on instant results and high profit margins? Dr. Bruce E. Levine, a highly respected clinical psychologist, argues the latter and provides a compelling alternative approach to treating depression that makes lasting change more likely than with symptom-based treatment through medication.

Surviving America’s Depression Epidemic delves into the roots of depression and links our increasingly consumer-based culture and standard-practice psychiatric treatments to worsening depression, instead of solving it. In an easy-to-understand narrative style, Dr. Levine prescribes antidotes to depression including the keys to building morale and selfhealing. Unlike short-term, drug-based solutions, these antidotes foster a long-term cycle where people rediscover passion and purpose, and find meaning in acting on their societal concerns.

A groundbreaking work, atypical of the shelf-loads of “pep-talk” based self help books on the market, Surviving America’s Depression Epidemic provides the knowledge and counsel of a practicing psychologist in a digestible format that will improve your future. A must read for guidance and pastoral counselors; non-dogmatic psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers; and those tired of the TV ads shilling for better living through chemistry.

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The Divided Self- R.D. LaingThe Divided Self: An Existential Study in Sanity and Madness
by R.D. Laing, MD

Dr. Laing’s first purpose is to make madness and the process of going mad comprehensible. In this, with case studies of schizophrenic patients, he succeeds brilliantly, but he does more: through a vision of sanity and madness as ‘degrees of conjunction and disjunction between two persons where the one is sane by common consent’ he offers a rich existential analysis of personal alienation.

The outsider, estranged from himself and society, cannot experience either himself or others as ‘real’. He invents a false self and with it he confronts both the outside world and his own despair. The disintegration of his real self keeps pace with the growing unreality of his false self until, in the extremes of schizophrenic breakdown, the whole personality disintegrates.

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The Politics of Experience- LaingThe Politics of Experience
by R.D. Laing, MD

R.D. Laing is at his most wickedly iconoclastic in this eloquent assault on conventional morality. Unorthodox to some, brilliantly original to others, The Politics of Experience goes beyond the usual theories of mental illness and alienation, and makes a convincing case for the “madness of morality.” Compelling, unsettling, consistently absorbing, The Politics of Experience is a classic of genuine importance that will “excite, enthrall, and disturb. No one who reads it will remain unaffected.” (Rollo May, Saturday Review)

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Thinking About Suicide- WebbThinking about Suicide: Contemplating and Comprehending the Urge to Die
by David Webb, PhD

The literature of suicidology has studiously ignored those who actually experience suicidal feelings. Webb suggests this is no accident but a very deliberate exclusion of this critically important first-person knowledge. Webb rejects the medical model that claims suicide is caused by some notional mental illness, and discusses the spiritual wisdom that released him from the persistent urge to die.

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Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal

Coming off Psychiatric Drugs- Lehmann et alComing Off Psychiatric Drugs: Successful Withdrawal from Neuroleptics, Antidepressants, Lithium, Carbamazepine and Tranquilizer
edited by Peter Lehmann

Successful coming down from psychiatric drugs primarily addresses treated people who want to withdraw on their own decision. It also addresses their relatives and therapists. Millions of people are taking psychiatric drugs, for example Haldol, Prozac or Zyprexa. To them, detailed accounts of how others came off these substances without once again ending up in the in the doctor’s office are of fundamental interest.

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Death Grip- SametDeath Grip: A Climber’s Escape from Benzo Madness
by Matt Samet

Death Grip chronicles a top climber’s near-fatal struggle with anxiety and depression, and his nightmarish journey through the dangerous world of prescription drugs. Matt Samet lived to climb, and craved the challenge, risk, and exhilaration of conquering sheer rock faces around the United States and internationally. But Samet’s depression, compounded by the extreme diet and fitness practices of climbers, led him to seek professional help. He entered the murky, inescapable world of psychiatric medicine, where he developed a dangerous addiction to prescribed medications—primarily “benzos,” or benzodiazepines—that landed him in institutions and nearly killed him.

With dramatic storytelling, persuasive research data, and searing honesty, Matt Samet reveals the hidden epidemic of benzo addiction, which some have suggested can be harder to quit than heroin. Millions of adults and teenagers are prescribed these drugs, but few understand how addictive they are—and how dangerous long-term usage can be, even when prescribed by doctors.

After a difficult struggle with addiction, Samet slowly makes his way to a life in recovery through perseverance and a deep love of rock climbing. Conveying both the exhilaration of climbing in the wilderness and the utter madness of addiction, Death Grip is a powerful and revelatory memoir.

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Dr. Shipko's Informed Consent for SSRI Antidepressants- ShipkoDr. Shipko’s Informed Consent for SSRI Antidepressants
by Stuart Shipko, MD

Dr. Shipko says, “I am writing this eBook to share the key information that I discuss with patients in consultation before starting or stopping a serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant. ‘Informed Consent’ is not intended to be a comprehensive book about these drugs, rather, it duplicates the information that I typically provide to my patients when I see them in consultation. If you are contemplating starting or stopping an SSRI antidepressant, then you will find this information helpful.”

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The Antidepressant Solution- GlenmullenThe Antidepressant Solution: A Step-by-Step Guide to Safely Overcoming Antidepressant Withdrawal, Dependence, and “Addiction”
by Joseph Glenmullen, MD

With the FDA’s warning that antidepressants may cause agitation, anxiety, hostility, and even violent or suicidal tendencies, these medications are at the forefront of national legal news. Harvard physician Joseph Glenmullen has led the charge to warn the public that antidepressants are overprescribed, underregulated, and, especially, misunderstood in their side and withdrawal effects. Now he offers a solution!

More than twenty million Americans — including over one million teens and children — take one of today’s popular antidepressants, such as Paxil, Zoloft, or Effexor. Dr. Glenmullen recognizes the many benefits of antidepressants and prescribes them to his patients, but he is also committed to warning the public of the dangers associated with overprescription. Dr. Glenmullen’s last book, Prozac Backlash, sounded the alarm about possible dangers. The Antidepressant Solution provides the remedy. It is the first book to call attention to the drugs’ catch-22: Although many people are ready to go off these drugs, they continue to take them because either the patient or the doctor mistakes antidepressant withdrawal for depressive relapse. The Antidepressant Solution offers an easy, step-by-step guide for patients and their doctors.

Written by the premier authority in the field, The Antidepressant Solution is an invaluable book for all those concerned with going through the process — from friends and family members to doctors and patients themselves.

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Xanax Withdrawal- ShipkoXanax Withdrawal
by Stuart Shipko, MD

XANAX WITHDRAWAL is for people who are considering stopping Xanax. When, how and what to expect when tapering and stopping Xanax is the focus of the book. Stuart Shipko, M.D., the author of Surviving Panic Disorder, is a psychiatrist for over 34 years with significant experience working with patients prescribed Xanax.

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Your Drug May Be Your Problem- Cohen and BregginYour Drug May Be Your Problem, Revised Edition: How and Why to Stop Taking Psychiatric Medications
by Peter Breggin, MD and David Cohen, PhD

When first published in 1999, Your Drug May Be Your Problem was ahead of its time. The only book to provide an uncensored description of the dangers involved in taking every kind of psychiatric medication, it was also the first and only book to explain how to safely stop taking them. In the time elapsed, there have been numerous studies suggesting or proving the dangers of some psychiatric medications and even the FDA now acknowledges the problems; more studies are under way to determine their long-term and withdrawal effects. In the meantime, this book continues to be ever relevant and helpful. Fully updated to include study results and new medications that have come to market, Your Drug May Be Your Problem will help countless readers exert control over their own psychiatric treatment.

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