Anatomy of an Epidemic

Anatomy of an Epidemic

One would think that mental illness would be declining with the advent of pharmacological treatment. After all we have so many psych medications that I can’t keep up with all the names anymore.  We have access to support groups, private therapy, self help books, social workers and psychiatrists. Let’s not leave out the millions of prescriptions written by primary care providers for depression, anxiety and PTSD.  Yet, over the past 50 years of this psychopharmacological revolution the number of mentally ill that are deemed permanently disabled has skyrocketed.

The author, Mr Whitaker, is an investigative journalist who questions the claims that there is a chemical imbalance in the brains of people with bipolar, schizophrenia and depression.  He brings to light studies that show that today’s patients who are diagnosed with some mental illness and treated with medications to correct these so-called imbalances are more likely to become chronically mentally ill than to recover.  The Investigative Journalists and Editors Association awarded Robert Whitaker the 2010 book award for best investigative journalism.

This book, along with several others I will recommend in future posts, changed the way that I practice. I know that there are much better ways to help people who are diagnosed with mental illness.  I learned  that there are many cultures that have a much healthier approach to mental illness than we do in the United States and the United Kingdom.  I listened to the audio version of this book during my long commutes but I have now ordered the print version to as a reference.

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