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

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

3.6 16
by Robert Whitaker
     
 

ISBN-10: 0738207993

ISBN-13: 9780738207995

Pub. Date: 03/27/2003

Publisher: Basic Books

A riveting social and medical history of madness in America, from the seventeenth century to today.

In Mad in America, medical journalist Robert Whitaker reveals an astounding truth: Schizophrenics in the United States currently fare worse than patients in the world's poorest countries, and quite possibly worse than asylum patients did in the early

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Overview

A riveting social and medical history of madness in America, from the seventeenth century to today.

In Mad in America, medical journalist Robert Whitaker reveals an astounding truth: Schizophrenics in the United States currently fare worse than patients in the world's poorest countries, and quite possibly worse than asylum patients did in the early nineteenth century. With a muckraker's passion, 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. Tracing over three centuries of "cures" for madness, Whitaker shows how medical therapies have been used to silence patients and dull their minds. He tells of the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century practices of "spinning" the insane, extracting their teeth, ovaries, and intestines, and submerging patients in freezing water. The "cures" in the 1920s and 1930s were no less barbaric as eugenic attitudes toward the mentally ill led to brain-damaging lobotomies and electroshock therapy. Perhaps Whitaker's most damning revelation, however, is his report of how drug companies in the 1980s and 1990s skewed their studies in an effort to prove the effectiveness of their products. Based on exhaustive research culled from old patient medical records, historical accounts, numerous interviews, and hundreds of government documents, Mad in America raises important questions about our obligations to the mad, what it means to be "insane," and what we value most about the human mind.

Author Biography: 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. A series he co-wrote for the Boston Globe was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1998. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780738207995
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
03/27/2003
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
5.48(w) x 8.24(h) x 0.95(d)

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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Mad in America 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After reading Mad In America and discussing it with friends, I realized how difficult it is to change strongly held beliefs about psychiatry in general and the safety and effectiveness of so-called miracle drugs. Regardless of the SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE, believers in worthless, dangerous and ineffective psych drugs and other treatments are like religious zealots: no amount of evidence will convince them that they've been conned by snake oil salesmen with impressive credentials and nothing to back up their claims but fraudulent research and heart-felt testimonials. I was once a true believer myself and it was a blow to my ego to admit that I my fundamental beliefs about psychiatric care was founded on marketing hype masquerading as science. Anyone who discounts Whitaker's findings needs to do more reading about the corruption of scientific research 'Dr. Marcia Angell', the FDA and meaningless psychiatric diagnoses.