Saving Normal: An Insider's Revolt against Out-of-Control Psychiatric Diagnosis, DSM-5, Big Pharma, and the Medicalization of Ordinary Life by Allen, M.D. Frances M.D. |, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Saving Normal: An Insider's Revolt Against Out-of-Control Psychiatric Diagnosis, DSM-5, Big Pharma, and the Medicalization of Ordinary Life

Saving Normal: An Insider's Revolt Against Out-of-Control Psychiatric Diagnosis, DSM-5, Big Pharma, and the Medicalization of Ordinary Life

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by Allen, M.D. Frances M.D.
     
 

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From "the most powerful psychiatrist in America" (New York Times) and "the man who wrote the book on mental illness" (Wired), a deeply fascinating and urgently important critique of the widespread medicalization of normality

Anyone living a full, rich life experiences ups and downs, stresses, disappointments, sorrows, and setbacks. These challenges

Overview

From "the most powerful psychiatrist in America" (New York Times) and "the man who wrote the book on mental illness" (Wired), a deeply fascinating and urgently important critique of the widespread medicalization of normality

Anyone living a full, rich life experiences ups and downs, stresses, disappointments, sorrows, and setbacks. These challenges are a normal part of being human, and they should not be treated as psychiatric disease. However, today millions of people who are really no more than "worried well" are being diagnosed as having a mental disorder and are receiving unnecessary treatment. In Saving Normal, Allen Frances, one of the world's most influential psychiatrists, warns that mislabeling everyday problems as mental illness has shocking implications for individuals and society: stigmatizing a healthy person as mentally ill leads to unnecessary, harmful medications, the narrowing of horizons, misallocation of medical resources, and draining of the budgets of families and the nation. We also shift responsibility for our mental well-being away from our own naturally resilient and self-healing brains, which have kept us sane for hundreds of thousands of years, and into the hands of "Big Pharma," who are reaping multi-billion-dollar profits.

Frances cautions that the new edition of the "bible of psychiatry," the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5 (DSM-5), will turn our current diagnostic inflation into hyperinflation by converting millions of "normal" people into "mental patients." Alarmingly, in DSM-5, normal grief will become "Major Depressive Disorder"; the forgetting seen in old age is "Mild Neurocognitive Disorder"; temper tantrums are "Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder"; worrying about a medical illness is "Somatic Symptom Disorder"; gluttony is "Binge Eating Disorder"; and most of us will qualify for adult "Attention Deficit Disorder." What's more, all of these newly invented conditions will worsen the cruel paradox of the mental health industry: those who desperately need psychiatric help are left shamefully neglected, while the "worried well" are given the bulk of the treatment, often at their own detriment.

Masterfully charting the history of psychiatric fads throughout history, Frances argues that whenever we arbitrarily label another aspect of the human condition a "disease," we further chip away at our human adaptability and diversity, dulling the full palette of what is normal and losing something fundamental of ourselves in the process. Saving Normal is a call to all of us to reclaim the full measure of our humanity.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Wary of liberties being taken by the psychiatric community with its definition of “normal,” Frances (Essentials of Psychiatric Diagnosis) goes on a sobering foray through mental disorders and the social institutions that have defined and redefined them. These recalibrations will be promulgated, most prominently, by the soon-to-be-published DSM-5. Frances, who served as the chairperson for DSM-IV, explains that the new version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (widely known as the “bible of psychiatry”) has been recklessly expanded and rejiggered, to the point that nearly anything can now be pegged as an aberration. Such “diagnostic inflation” entails the obvious risks of unnecessary and/or excessive treatment, but perhaps even more pernicious is its grander effects on what society—not just specialists—deem normal. Despite Frances’s years of professional experience, his analysis is sometimes scattered with historical and cultural asides that, while interesting, do not clarify the trajectory and impact of the DSM. Still, few are as well-equipped as Frances to map the dynamic field of psychiatry, and his rendering of its shifting contours is timely, crucial, and insightful—as are his solutions for navigating it. Agent: Carrie Kania, Conville and Walsh Literary Agency (U.K.). (May)
Josh Bazell
“Saving Normal is a clear, convincing, and essential discussion of the twin epidemics facing modern psychiatry: under-treatment of the truly ill and overtreatment of the basically well. It holds immense potential to improve patients’ lives.”
Lisa Appignanesi
“Saving Normal is a riveting and important book, written with great flair and precise passion. ... This is a book every psychiatrist, every general practitioner, every student swallowing meds—in fact everyone—needs to read. ”
Marcia Angell
“An extraordinarily candid and important book. ... Allen Frances has written a fascinating... account of the apparent explosion in psychiatric disorders in the United States.
MARCIA ANGELL
“An extraordinarily candid and important book. Allen Frances has written a fascinating account of the apparent explosion in psychiatric disorders in the United States.
Dr. LISA APPIGNANESI
Saving Normal is a riveting and important book, written with great flair and precise passion. This is a book every psychiatrist, every general practitioner, every student swallowing meds—in fact everyone—needs to read.”
CNN.com
“Frances is largely credited with spearheading the anti-DSM-5 efforts.”
JOSH BAZELL
Saving Normal is a clear, convincing, and essential discussion of the twin epidemics facing modern psychiatry: under-treatment of the truly ill and overtreatment of the basically well. It holds immense potential to improve patients’ lives.”
Booklist (starred review)
“With Solomon-like wisdom, Frances justly doles out blame and offers reasonable remedies. His decree: don’t medicalize human difference; celebrate it.”
Dwight Garner
“Frances delves deeply into the history of mental illness, makes his arguements crisply, and has good personal stories to tell. He’s articulate and learned. ... He’s in favor of not medicating, and thus muffling, all the offbeat pain and beauty out of existance. ... [A] piece of intellectual skywriting.”
Metapsychology
“Allen Frances’s book is fascinating. ... Entertaining.”
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists
“Authoritative. ... Valuable. ... This is a detailed, nicely constructed account by a highly qualified and well-connected psychiatrist with intimate knowledge of the process. The book is clearly written and surprisingly easy reading.”
Kirkus Reviews
Frances weighs in with a no-holds-barred critique of the newly revised Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. As the DSM IV Task Force leader, the author does not duck responsibility for the problematic nature of the manual, which he describes as a "cultural icon" and "perennial best seller." Not anticipating the diagnostic creep, "we failed to predict or prevent three new false epidemics of mental disorder in children--Autism, Attention Deficit Disorder, and Childhood Bipolar Disorder." In the author's view, too often clinicians adopt labels from the manual to cover up their own sloppy and even faddish diagnoses. He predicts that the situation will worsen with the new edition. Once considered a rare disease, "CBD [childhood bipolar disorder] has become the most inflated bubble in all psychiatric diagnosis." Frances anticipates that the DSM V's inclusion of Asperger's in the autism spectrum will cause problems, possibly leading to a reduction of special school programs that help students with Asperger's at one end of the spectrum, and disability benefits for the extremely disabled at the other. While accepting his own and fellow psychiatrists' failure to predict the problem of label creep, the author ascribes most responsibility to pharmaceutical companies, which have "hijacked the medical profession" and created "a feeding frenzy of over-diagnosis, over-testing, and over-treatment." He attributes the current obesity epidemic to side effects of modern antipsychotics, and he charges drug companies with complicity in promiscuously pushing antipsychotics on patients with "garden-variety" anxiety or shyness and broadening the definition of childhood bipolar disease to encompass temper tantrums and moodiness. In a partial effort of exculpation and mea culpa, Frances explains that his team began work in the "pre-Prozac days of 1987." A valuable assessment for clinicians and potential patients.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062229250
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
05/14/2013
Pages:
314
Sales rank:
766,993
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

Meet the Author

Allen Frances, M.D., was the chair-man of the DSM-IV Task Force and part of the leadership group for DSM-III and DSM-III-R. He is professor emeritus and former chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Duke University School of Medicine.

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Saving Normal: An Insider's Revolt against Out-of-Control Psychiatric Diagnosis, DSM-5, Big Pharma, and the Medicalization of Ordinary Life 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Now I can prove myself through the words of a professional.
jlthompson More than 1 year ago
Makes you think twice about the diagnosis that you get from the doctor and the medication you take.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago