Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill [NOOK Book]

Overview


Schizophrenics 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 ...
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Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill

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Overview


Schizophrenics 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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Editorial Reviews

American Scientist
Whitaker does not employ the exaggerated prose of the antipsychiatry movement...Serious and well-documented.
Baltimore Sun
The book's lessons about the medical dangers of greed, ego and sham are universal and couldn't be more timely.
Mother Jones
Passionate, compellingly researched polemic, as fascinating as it is ultimately horrifying.
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
People should read this excellent book and learn which questions to ask—before filling that "miracle" prescription.
Seattle Times
[Whitaker] does an intelligent and bold job.
Philadelphia Inquirer
[Mad in America] is mandatory reading and raises valid issues.
New Scientist
A humdinger of a book...an important book that every psychiatrist should be compelled to read.
In These Times
The most important bit of mental health muckraking since Deutsch's The Shame of the States was published in 1948.
Publishers Weekly
Tooth removal. Bloodletting. Spinning. Ice-water baths. Electroshock therapy. These are only a few of the horrifying treatments for mental illness readers encounter in this accessible history of Western attitudes toward insanity. Whitaker, a medical writer and Pulitzer Prize finalist, argues that mental asylums in the U.S. have been run largely as "places of confinement facilities that served to segregate the misfits from society rather than as hospitals that provided medical care." His evidence is at times frightening, especially when he compares U.S. physicians' treatments of the mentally ill to medical experiments and sterilizations in Nazi Germany. Eugenicist attitudes, Whitaker argues, profoundly shaped American medicine in the first half of the 20th century, resulting in forced sterilization and other cruel treatments. Between 1907 and 1927, roughly 8,000 eugenic sterilizations were performed, while 10,000 mentally ill Americans were lobotomized in the years 1950 and 1951 alone. As late as 1933, there were no states in which insane people could legally get married. Though it covers some of the same territory as Sander Gilman's Seeing the Insane and Elaine Showalter's The Female Malady, Whitaker's richer, more detailed book will appeal to those interested in medical history, as well as anyone fascinated by Western culture's obsessive need to define and subdue the mentally ill. Agent, Kevin Lang. (Feb.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
From The Critics
Investigative journalist Whitaker tells the story of the treatment of schizophrenia in the United States from 1900 up until the present day. While many would recognize his tales of forced lobotomies, electroshock therapies, and other past "treatments" to be shameful reminders of an ignorant past, Whitaker saves his greatest outrage for the practices of the present. Noting the disturbing facts that outcomes for schizophrenics are worse today than they were 25 years ago and that outcomes are worse in the industrialized nations than they are in the developing world, he argues that the current regime of anti-psychotics (called "atypicals") is not based on good science and has been pushed by companies more concerned with raking in profits than with concern for patients. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Kirkus Reviews
An absorbing, sometimes harrowing history of the medical treatment of the mentally ill in the US, from its roots in England-think Bedlam-to the present, and a scorching indictment of the status quo.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786723799
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 12/14/2001
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 239,006
  • File size: 567 KB

Meet the Author


Robert Whitaker‘s articles on the mentally ill and the drug industry have won several awards, including the George Polk Award for medical writing and the National Association of Science Writers’ Award for best magazine article. He is also the author of The Mapmaker’s Wife and The Lap of the Gods. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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Table of Contents

Preface to the Revised Edition xiii

Acknowledgments xvii

Part 1 The Original Bedlam (1750-1900)

1 Bedlam in Medicine 3

2 The Healing Hand of Kindness 19

Part 2 The Darkest Era (1900-1950)

3 Unfit to Breed 41

4 Too Much Intelligence 73

5 Brain Damage as Miracle Therapy 107

Part 3 Back to Bedlam (1950-1990s)

6 Modern-Day Alchemy 141

7 The Patients' Reality 161

8 The Story We Told Ourselves 195

9 Shame of a Nation 211

10 The Nuremberg Code Doesn't Apply Here 233

Part 4 Mad Medicine Today (1990s-Present)

11 Not So Atypical 253

Epilogue 287

Afterword to the Revised Edition 293

Notes 305

Index 337

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 12 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(3)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

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1 Star

(3)

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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2011

    Not even remotely accurate.

    Medications work. This journalist has made himself an advocate for anti medication desperados by using skewed statistics and non scientifically proven research. This is pathetic media hype. For every mentally ill person this book has harmed, I weep.

    3 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2012

    Slow reading repiticious.

    I haven't finished the book took a break. I hope it speeds up a little and is not so repiticious. There are some good facts however.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2013

    Saudi Arabia is Free of Mental Illness Because There are Nomad P

    Saudi Arabia is Free of Mental Illness Because There are Nomad People There.

    Recently I checked this book out of the library for research into the ethnography my partners and I are conducting on the non-family caretakers of mentally ill and/or disabled minors in our area, and it was surprisingly relevant to our decidedly narrow topic. We decided to focus on two people in specific; a psychotherapist at Children’s Hospital and a special education teacher at our school. They spoke at length of the benefits to both themselves and the children with whom they work, but we didn’t obtain any background information on the treatment of the mentally ill/disabled. This book was a rather dry read, and I had to force myself to read through a few sections. However, it was very informative and I learned about a distinctly unmentioned chapter in history. The dry descriptions of the devices, medicines and management of the mentally ill in this book were handled with the utmost professionalism and not once did I feel as though the author was trying to illicit a negative reaction towards either the patients or the doctors. Mad in America’s entire purpose was to enlighten the reader on the situations of the mentally ill over the span of three centuries. The statistics the author provided only solidified his points and kept the book from sounding bigoted and one-sided. I would give this book 4 stars because even though it was a dry read, once it fully had my attention I was engrossed in learning all the details about a rare topic in today’s society. 

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  • Posted May 23, 2012

    This book was required reading for my master's level class on me

    This book was required reading for my master's level class on mental health. I found the book very easy to read and very factual. I have done a lot of reading my own about the history of psychiarty, asylums and various treatment practices. If you are interested on the subject I sugest reading up on Walter Freeman and Benjamin Rush. Two very facinating individuals.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2012

    Fascinating

    This book reviews the research on psychiatric drugs, and the news is not good. Well written, well-cited, it gives insight into the power of corporate marketing and what is wrong with our health care system today.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2011

    Eye opening

    Very well written painting a differnt painting that is that usually seen, nor told

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2011

    ok

    not the best, but still AMAZING amount of info. good for teachers everywhere!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2012

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    Posted October 4, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2011

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