The Emperor's New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth

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Overview


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 Emperor's New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth

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Overview


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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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

New Scientist
“[Kirsch’s] case that the drugs’ benefits are due to placebo and enhanced placebo effect is fascinating and demands urgent research…Clearly, it's time for a big rethink of what constitutes mental illness and about how to treat it.”

Literary Review (UK)
“[B]rilliantly subversive… a fascinating and disturbing book.”

Kelly Lambert, PhD, Professor of Psychology, Randolph-Macon College; President, International Behavioral Neuroscience Society; Author of Lifting Depression
“Considering the crude and nonspecific therapies that have been historically available for depression, the thought of a pill acting as an effective agent against the tumultuous symptoms of this disease was appealing to everyone in the mental health industry. But, as Irving Kirsch points out in this provocative and informative treatise, The Emperor’s New Drugs, this dream ultimately turned out to be a fairy tale. There was no prince of healing to provide the promised relief for patients. Kudos to Dr. Kirsch for his impressive scientific investigative reporting described in this book, forcing our attention away from the fairy tale and toward the reality of more effective treatment strategies for depression.”

David D. Burns, author of Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy
“A beautifully written, profoundly important book.”

Druin Burch, author of Taking the Medicine
“A terrific account of how optimism, greed and scientific incompetence have misled us about the nature of depression and the drugs we throw at it.”

Psychology Today
“[The Emperor’s New Drugs] absolutely dismantles the case for antidepressants as a pharmacologically effective treatment.”

Publishers Weekly
“Writing with a broad audience in mind, Kirsch expands on this important topic in a lively style with clear, cogent explanations of the science involved, and many examples of the differences between solid and flawed research. The result is a fascinating book with broad implications for science policy.”

St. Petersburg Times 

“Measured and laserlike in focus…The Emperor's New Drugs dismantles the case for antidepressants as a pharmacologically effective treatment.”

Charlotte Observer
“Kirsch…uses clear no-nonsense prose to marshal the extraordinary and convincing evidence needed to support his position.”

PopMatters.com
“[A] tightly argued book… given how resolutely the treatment of mental disease has shifted from therapy- to drug-based regimens, just about any good-faith effort to turn the focus of treatment back on actual human interaction seems well worth it.”
 

New YorkReview of Books
“[A] spare, remarkably engrossing book…Kirsch is a faithful proponent of the scientific method, and his voice therefore brings a welcome objectivity to a subject often swayed by anecdotes, emotions, or…self-interest.”

Robert Whitaker, American Journal of Psychology “[Irving Kirsch’s] published articles—and now this book—are having a profound impact on the field, and deservedly so. His research is careful, his logic is easy to follow, and his writing is clear, all of which make The Emperor’s New Drugs an engaging—and important—read. Americans typically turn to the drug cabinet for help with depression, and Kirsch’s book makes a convincing argument that psychotherapy would be a better choice.”

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

When he began a new research project on antidepressants and placebos (a "meta-analysis" of a large number of published studies), practicing psychotherapist and research psychologist Kirsch (How Expectancies Shape Experience) was surprised to uncover evidence that inadequate supervision by the FDA had allowed pharmaceutical companies to cherry-pick test results for publication and submission to the feds, suppressing unwanted outcomes; further, apparent evidence of active drugs' effectiveness when compared to placebos could often be attributed to patients correctly guessing which group they were in based on the side effects (or the lack thereof) they had come to expect in conjunction with anti-depressants. When his results were published in early 2008, Kirsch was surprised to find himself and his research the subject of front page newspaper stories, TV and radio coverage, and a vigorous debate in the medical community that continues to this day. Writing with a broad audience in mind, Kirsch expands on this important topic in a lively style with clear, cogent explanations of the science involved, and many examples of the differences between solid and flawed research. The result is a fascinating book with broad implications for science policy.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465022007
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 3/8/2011
  • Edition description: First Trade Paper Edition
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 699,726
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author


Irving Kirsch, Ph.D., a native of New York City, is a professor of psychology at the University of Hull, United Kingdom, as well as professor emeritus at the University of Connecticut. He lives in Hull, England.
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Table of Contents

Brand Names xi

Acknowledgements xiii

Preface 1

1 Listening to Prozac, but Hearing Placebo 7

2 The 'Dirty Little Secret' 23

3 Countering the Critics 54

4 The Myth of the Chemical Imbalance 81

5 The Placebo Effect and the Power of Belief 101

6 How Placebos Work 131

7 Beyond Antidepressants 149

Epilogue 177

Notes 182

Bibliography 194

Index 219

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Customer Reviews

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