The Creation of Psychopharmacology / Edition 1

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Overview

David Healy follows his widely praised study, The Antidepressant Era, with an even more ambitious and dramatic story: the discovery and development of antipsychotic medication. Healy argues that the discovery of chlorpromazine (more generally known as Thorazine) is as significant in the history of medicine as the discovery of penicillin, reminding readers of the worldwide prevalence of insanity within living memory.

But Healy tells not of the triumph of science but of a stream of fruitful accidents, of technological discovery leading neuroscientific research, of fierce professional competition and the backlash of the antipsychiatry movement of the 1960s. A chemical treatment was developed for one purpose, and as long as some theoretical rationale could be found, doctors administered it to the insane patients in their care to see if it would help. Sometimes it did, dramatically. Why these treatments worked, Healy argues provocatively, was, and often still is, a mystery. Nonetheless, such discoveries made and unmade academic reputations and inspired intense politicking for the Nobel Prize.

Once pharmaceutical companies recognized the commercial potential of antipsychotic medications, financial as well as clinical pressures drove the development of ever more aggressively marketed medications. With verve and immense learning, Healy tells a story with surprising implications in a book that will become the leading scholarly work on its compelling subject.

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Editorial Reviews

Chronicle of Higher Education

[T]his sweeping history of medicine used to treat mental illness takes on the psychiatric and medical establishment...Healy does groundbreaking work...The Creation of Psychopharmacology details how psychiatric medication intersects with academic squabbles and popular culture.
— Janice Paskey

The Independent

David Healy is a respected historian of psychiatry who has written a book that should spark a major debate. He identifies current trends towards the abandonment of independent research into treatments for mental illness, the demand for Randomised Control Trials as the only acceptable measure of whether a treatment works, and the chilling control pharmaceutical companies now exert over psychiatry...This is an important and thought-provoking book...Healy's warning that, without a debate, we may be moving into an era when cosmetic psychiatry will be the new liposuction is worth heeding.
— Julie Wheelwright

Washington Times

This book is a good place to start if you want to get an overview of the role of drugs in the treatment of mental illness...[Healy] capture[s] an important current dilemma.
— Richard Restak

British Journal of Psychiatry

Psychiatrists and historians owe a debt to David Healy. Over the years he has conducted interviews with all the leading figures in psychopharmacology...Drawing on these interviews and his wide reading of the scholarly literature, Healy has now constructed a subtle and compelling narrative of the development of psychotropic drugs...Healy ambitiously relates the emergence of drugs to the wider culture and shows how the two have interacted...[He] has written a highly stimulating and original book, which is brimful of ideas and deserves to be read and debated throughout the psychiatric community and beyond.
— Allan Beveridge

Contemporary Psychology

[N]o one has described it more thoroughly, or elucidated the critical intersections between psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry more clearly.
— Morgan T. Sammons

Edward Shorter
David Healy is one of the founding historians of psychopharmacology, first with his three-volume series of interviews with the first generation of psychopharmacologists, and secondly with his brilliant book, The Antidepressant Era. Now Healy crowns these achievements with this breathtakingly original and important history of the antipsychotics, psychiatry's flagship drugs. In their short lifespan they have revolutionalized psychiatry, converting it from a medical specialty based on psychotherapy to one based on biochemistry. Yet as Healy's analysis shows, commerce has been as influential as science in this transformation--perhaps more so. For its originality, readability, and wisdom, The Creation of Psychopharmacology is the most important contribution to the history of psychiatry since Ellenberger's The Discovery of the Unconscious.
Chronicle of Higher Education - Janice Paskey
[T]his sweeping history of medicine used to treat mental illness takes on the psychiatric and medical establishment...Healy does groundbreaking work...The Creation of Psychopharmacology details how psychiatric medication intersects with academic squabbles and popular culture.
The Independent - Julie Wheelwright
David Healy is a respected historian of psychiatry who has written a book that should spark a major debate. He identifies current trends towards the abandonment of independent research into treatments for mental illness, the demand for Randomised Control Trials as the only acceptable measure of whether a treatment works, and the chilling control pharmaceutical companies now exert over psychiatry...This is an important and thought-provoking book...Healy's warning that, without a debate, we may be moving into an era when cosmetic psychiatry will be the new liposuction is worth heeding.
Washington Times - Richard Restak
This book is a good place to start if you want to get an overview of the role of drugs in the treatment of mental illness...[Healy] capture[s] an important current dilemma.
British Journal of Psychiatry - Allan Beveridge
Psychiatrists and historians owe a debt to David Healy. Over the years he has conducted interviews with all the leading figures in psychopharmacology...Drawing on these interviews and his wide reading of the scholarly literature, Healy has now constructed a subtle and compelling narrative of the development of psychotropic drugs...Healy ambitiously relates the emergence of drugs to the wider culture and shows how the two have interacted...[He] has written a highly stimulating and original book, which is brimful of ideas and deserves to be read and debated throughout the psychiatric community and beyond.
Contemporary Psychology - Morgan T. Sammons
[N]o one has described it more thoroughly, or elucidated the critical intersections between psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry more clearly.
Chronicle of Higher Education
[T]his sweeping history of medicine used to treat mental illness takes on the psychiatric and medical establishment...Healy does groundbreaking work...The Creation of Psychopharmacology details how psychiatric medication intersects with academic squabbles and popular culture.
— Janice Paskey
The Independent
David Healy is a respected historian of psychiatry who has written a book that should spark a major debate. He identifies current trends towards the abandonment of independent research into treatments for mental illness, the demand for Randomised Control Trials as the only acceptable measure of whether a treatment works, and the chilling control pharmaceutical companies now exert over psychiatry...This is an important and thought-provoking book...Healy's warning that, without a debate, we may be moving into an era when cosmetic psychiatry will be the new liposuction is worth heeding.
— Julie Wheelwright
Washington Times
This book is a good place to start if you want to get an overview of the role of drugs in the treatment of mental illness...[Healy] capture[s] an important current dilemma.
— Richard Restak
Contemporary Psychology
[N]o one has described it more thoroughly, or elucidated the critical intersections between psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry more clearly.
— Morgan T. Sammons
British Journal of Psychiatry
Psychiatrists and historians owe a debt to David Healy. Over the years he has conducted interviews with all the leading figures in psychopharmacology...Drawing on these interviews and his wide reading of the scholarly literature, Healy has now constructed a subtle and compelling narrative of the development of psychotropic drugs...Healy ambitiously relates the emergence of drugs to the wider culture and shows how the two have interacted...[He] has written a highly stimulating and original book, which is brimful of ideas and deserves to be read and debated throughout the psychiatric community and beyond.
— Allan Beveridge
Library Journal
The standard historical view of psychiatry claims that the invention of chlorpromazine (a.k.a. Thorazine) in 1952 ushered in biologically based "scientific" psychiatry. Healy (The Antidepressant Era) claims that earlier psychiatry was also scientifically based and had some notable successes, such as the treatment of catatonia with shock therapy. Healy's second theme is that because the success of psychiatric drugs, the choice of treatment options is largely dependent on the financial preferences of the pharmaceutical industry. For example, the author argues that "randomized controlled trials" of drugs are favored by the pharmaceutical industry because they allow products to be marketed to a wide audience, but what is desperately needed is more research on the effects of medications on more specific types of patients. While this theme has certainly been sounded before (T.R. Luhrmann's Of Two Minds is an accessible discussion of the pitfalls of drug-based psychiatry), the detailed history of the development of psychiatric drugs and the "culture" surrounding them makes this book unique. For academic libraries. Mary Ann Hughes, Neill P.L., Pullman, WA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674015999
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 9/15/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 1,466,566
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

David Healy is Reader in Psychological Medicine at the University of Wales College of Medicine.
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Table of Contents

Introduction

1. Strangers in a Strange Land

2. The Doctoring of Madness before Chlorpromazine

3. Explorations in a New World

4. Psychiatry outside the Walls

5. Twisted Thoughts and Twisted Molecules

6. Positive and Negative

7. The Sorcerer's Apprentice

8. Democracy

Notes

Acknowledgments

Index

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