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

Sold by Harper Collins
20
Free sample

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.

Read more

About the author

Allen Frances, MD, is professor emeritus and former chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Duke University School of Medicine. Dr. Frances was the chairman of the DSM-IV Task Force and a member of the leadership group for DSM-III and DSM-III-R. He is the author of the award-winning international bestseller Saving Normal and the reference work Essentials of Psychiatric Diagnosis. He lives in San Diego, California.

Read more
4.3
20 total
Loading...

Additional Information

Publisher
Harper Collins
Read more
Published on
May 14, 2013
Read more
Pages
352
Read more
ISBN
9780062229274
Read more
Features
Read more
Language
English
Read more
Genres
Medical / Psychiatry / General
Psychology / General
Psychology / Mental Health
Read more
Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
Read more
Eligible for Family Library

Reading information

Smartphones and Tablets

Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.

Laptops and Computers

You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.

eReaders and other devices

To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.
Now with bonus material, including a new foreword and afterword with updated research

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? Researchers spent decades studying that question, and by the late 1980s, they had their answer. Readers will be startled—and dismayed—to discover what was reported in the scientific journals.
 
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? Did they discover that the drugs help people stay well? Function better? Enjoy good physical health? Or did they find that these medications, for some paradoxical reason, increase the likelihood that people will become chronically ill, less able to function well, more prone to physical illness?
 
This is the first book to look at the merits of psychiatric medications through the prism of long-term results. Are long-term recovery rates higher for medicated or unmedicated schizophrenia patients? Does taking an antidepressant decrease or increase the risk that a depressed person will become disabled by the disorder? Do bipolar patients fare better today than they did forty years ago, or much worse? When the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) studied the long-term outcomes of children with ADHD, did they determine that stimulants provide any benefit?
 
By the end of this review of the outcomes literature, readers are certain to have a haunting question of their own: Why have the results from these long-term studies—all of which point to the same startling conclusion—been kept from the public?
 
In this compelling history, Whitaker also tells the personal stories of children and adults swept up in this epidemic. Finally, he reports on innovative programs of psychiatric care in Europe and the United States that are producing good long-term outcomes. Our nation has been hit by an epidemic of disabling mental illness, and yet, as Anatomy of an Epidemic reveals, the medical blueprints for curbing that epidemic have already been drawn up.
“Unravel[s] the national psyche that brought our politics to this moment.” — Evan Osnos, The New Yorker

A landmark book, from “one of the world’s most prominent psychiatrists” (The Atlantic): Allen Frances analyzes the nation, viewing the rise of Donald J. Trump as darkly symptomatic of a deeper societal distress that must be understood if we are to move forward. Equally challenging and profound, Twilight of American Sanity “joins a small shelf of essential titles—Arlie Hochschild’s Strangers in Their Own Land is another—that help explain why and how the Trump presidency happened” (Kirkus).

It is comforting to see President Donald Trump as a crazy man, a one-off, an exception—not a reflection on us or our democracy. But in ways I never anticipated, his rise was absolutely predictable and a mirror on our soul. … What does it say about us, that we elected someone so manifestly unfit and unprepared to determine mankind’s future? Trump is a symptom of a world in distress, not its sole cause. Blaming him for all our troubles misses the deeper, underlying societal sickness that made possible his unlikely ascent. Calling Trump crazy allows us to avoid confronting the craziness in our society—if we want to get sane, we must first gain insight about ourselves. Simply put: Trump isn’t crazy, but our society is. —from TWILIGHT OF AMERICAN SANITY

More than three years in the making: the world's leading expert on psychiatric diagnosis, past leader of the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM (“the bible of psychology”), and author of the influential international bestseller on the medicalization of ordinary life, Saving Normal, draws upon his vast experience to deliver a powerful critique of modern American society’s collective slide away from sanity and offers an urgently needed prescription for reclaiming our bearings. Widely cited in recent months as the man who quite literally wrote the diagnostic criteria for narcissism, Allen Frances, M.D., has been at the center of the debate surrounding President Trump’s mental state—quoted in Evan Osnos’s May 2017 New Yorker article (“How Trump Could Get Fired”) and publishing a much-shared opinion letter in the New York Times (“An Eminent Psychiatrist Demurs on Trump’s Mental State”). Frances argues that Trump is "bad, not mad"--and that the real question to wrestle with is how we as a country could have chosen him as our leader. Twilight of American Sanity is an essential work for understanding our national crisis.

Do antidepressants work, or are they glorified dummy pills? How can we tell?

In Ordinarily Well, the celebrated psychiatrist and author Peter D. Kramer examines the growing controversy about the popular medications. A practicing doctor who trained as a psychotherapist and worked with pioneers in psychopharmacology, Kramer combines moving accounts of his patients’ dilemmas with an eye-opening history of drug research to cast antidepressants in a new light.

Kramer homes in on the moment of clinical decision making: Prescribe or not? What evidence should doctors bring to bear? Using the wide range of reference that readers have come to expect in his books, he traces and critiques the growth of skepticism toward antidepressants. He examines industry-sponsored research, highlighting its shortcomings. He unpacks the “inside baseball” of psychiatry—statistics—and shows how findings can be skewed toward desired conclusions.

Kramer never loses sight of patients. He writes with empathy about his clinical encounters over decades as he weighed treatments, analyzed trial results, and observed medications’ influence on his patients’ symptoms, behavior, careers, families, and quality of life. He updates his prior writing about the nature of depression as a destructive illness and the effect of antidepressants on traits like low self-worth. Crucially, he shows how antidepressants act in practice: less often as miracle cures than as useful, and welcome, tools for helping troubled people achieve an underrated goal—becoming ordinarily well.

“Unravel[s] the national psyche that brought our politics to this moment.” — Evan Osnos, The New Yorker

A landmark book, from “one of the world’s most prominent psychiatrists” (The Atlantic): Allen Frances analyzes the nation, viewing the rise of Donald J. Trump as darkly symptomatic of a deeper societal distress that must be understood if we are to move forward. Equally challenging and profound, Twilight of American Sanity “joins a small shelf of essential titles—Arlie Hochschild’s Strangers in Their Own Land is another—that help explain why and how the Trump presidency happened” (Kirkus).

It is comforting to see President Donald Trump as a crazy man, a one-off, an exception—not a reflection on us or our democracy. But in ways I never anticipated, his rise was absolutely predictable and a mirror on our soul. … What does it say about us, that we elected someone so manifestly unfit and unprepared to determine mankind’s future? Trump is a symptom of a world in distress, not its sole cause. Blaming him for all our troubles misses the deeper, underlying societal sickness that made possible his unlikely ascent. Calling Trump crazy allows us to avoid confronting the craziness in our society—if we want to get sane, we must first gain insight about ourselves. Simply put: Trump isn’t crazy, but our society is. —from TWILIGHT OF AMERICAN SANITY

More than three years in the making: the world's leading expert on psychiatric diagnosis, past leader of the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM (“the bible of psychology”), and author of the influential international bestseller on the medicalization of ordinary life, Saving Normal, draws upon his vast experience to deliver a powerful critique of modern American society’s collective slide away from sanity and offers an urgently needed prescription for reclaiming our bearings. Widely cited in recent months as the man who quite literally wrote the diagnostic criteria for narcissism, Allen Frances, M.D., has been at the center of the debate surrounding President Trump’s mental state—quoted in Evan Osnos’s May 2017 New Yorker article (“How Trump Could Get Fired”) and publishing a much-shared opinion letter in the New York Times (“An Eminent Psychiatrist Demurs on Trump’s Mental State”). Frances argues that Trump is "bad, not mad"--and that the real question to wrestle with is how we as a country could have chosen him as our leader. Twilight of American Sanity is an essential work for understanding our national crisis.

©2018 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersArtistsAbout Google
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.