2011: In this astonishing and startling book, award-winning science and history writer Robert Whitaker investigates a medical mystery: Why has the number of disabled mentally ill in the United States tripled over the past two decades? Every day, 1,100 adults and children are added to the government disability rolls because they have become newly disabled by mental illness, with this epidemic spreading most rapidly among our nation’s children. What is going on?
Anatomy of an Epidemic challenges readers to think through that question themselves. First, Whitaker investigates what is known today about the biological causes of mental disorders. Do psychiatric medications fix “chemical imbalances” in the brain, or do they, in fact, create them? Then comes the scientific query at the heart of this book: During the past fifty years, when investigators looked at how psychiatric drugs affected long–term outcomes, what did they find?
1994: Prozac, Xanax, Halcion, Haldol, Lithium. These psychiatric drugs–and dozens of other short-term “solutions”–are being prescribed by doctors across the country as a quick antidote to depression, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other psychiatric problems. But at what cost?
In this searing, myth-shattering exposé, psychiatrist Peter R. Breggin, M.D., breaks through the hype and false promises surrounding the “New Psychiatry” and shows how dangerous, even potentially brain-damaging, many of its drugs and treatments are. He asserts that: psychiatric drugs are spreading an epidemic of long-term brain damage; mental “illnesses” like schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety disorder have never been proven to be genetic or even physical in origin, but are under the jurisdiction of medical doctors; millions of schoolchildren, housewives, elderly people, and others are labeled with medical diagnoses and treated with authoritarian interventions, rather than being patiently listened to, understood, and helped.