Review: Mad in AmericaEditorial Review - Kirkus Reviews
An absorbing, sometimes harrowing history of the medical treatment of the mentally ill in the US, from its roots in England—think Bedlam—to the present, and a scorching indictment of the status quo. Whitaker, a science reporter for the Boston Globe, does a bang-up job of showing how treatment of the mad has reflected society's changing political views and philosophical values. He recounts how the 18th-century European view that the mentally ill were beasts to be subdued and tamed led to fearfully harsh treatment, whereas in the early 19th century, the Quaker perspective that the mentally ill were fellow human beings deserving of empathy, resulted in humane therapy emphasizing gentle kindness and the comforts of a good home. In the 20th century, the eugenics movement in the US, which saw the mentally ill as hereditary defectives without rights, led to brain-damaging therapies—insulin coma, metrazol-induced seizure, electroshock, and prefrontal lobotomy—that were applied without the consent of patients and robbed them of the part of the mind that made them human. In the 1950s, chlorpromazine was introduced as a chemical lobotomy, useful for making disruptive patients sluggish and manageable. However, Whitaker points out, under the influence of pharmaceutical-industry marketing efforts, it and other neuroleptics came to be seen as safe and effective antischizophrenic drugs, a view that not only benefited drug companies financially but gave psychiatry the status of a scientific discipline and provided states a rationale for discharging medicated patients from overcrowded public mental hospitals. Whitaker argues that far from being effective, neuroleptics induce pathological conditions by causing irreversible brain damage. He cites World Health Organization studies showing that in countries where doctors do not keep their schizophrenic patients on neuroleptics—India, Niger, Colombia—recovery rates are dramatically higher than in the US. And according to the author, the hubris of the American medical community makes change unlikely. Sure packs a wallop.
User Review - Flag as inappropriate
Thought provoking but not as well researched as Edward M. Shorter's "A History of Psychiatry."
If you are only going to read one book on the history of psychiatry it should be Shorter's. I agree with the reviewer who noted that Whitaker's book will get you "all riled up"; as it does seem to be geared toward that conspiracy seeking audience. Given that, it will probably not come as any great surprise to you that Robert Whitaker (Farliegh Dickinson University, N.J.) is featured in the anti-psychiatry film "Psychiatry: Industry of Death." If you don't know the film it is financed, produced, and distributed by who else but the Church of Scientology; and we all know how they feel about psychiatry.
As you dive into Whitaker keep in mind that he is extremely critical of Psychiatry. I really think you should Edward M. Shorter instead...
User Review - Flag as inappropriate
Important to remember that this had been taking place for nearly 20 years prior to this date.
Review: Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally IllUser Review - Goodreads
I had to read this for school a few semesters ago. While Whitaker makes some very interesting and well researched points, I feel that this book just drags on about the same couple of issues. I think ...
Review: Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally IllUser Review - Anita - Goodreads
OMG. This is probably the best nonfiction book I've read this year. It's a mind-blowing, well-researched and very readable account of the treatment of mental illness in America. I've read lots on this ... Read full review
Review: Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally IllUser Review - Eddy Allen - Goodreads
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 ... Read full review
Review: Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally IllUser Review - Gabe Coon - Goodreads
this was a good informational book about neurotics and how they change the chemistry of the brain; and how the brain reacts to the medications taken. it is strange how in developing countries these ... Read full review
Review: Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally IllUser Review - Shadow3130aol.com - Goodreads
Amazing, yet, horrifying read that reveals the dark side of mental health treatment, including the evolve to the current day. EXTREMELY well-written that keeps you turning the pages and dropping your ... Read full review
Review: Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally IllUser Review - John Crane - Goodreads
This book is ten years old - but one that I SHOULD HAVE READ before I was allowed to teach psychology. The dopamine hypothesis for schizophrenia is a fraud. How many students have I taught this ... Read full review
Review: Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally IllUser Review - Jessica C. - Goodreads
I'm completely over taken with the amount of information and its reliability. I studied psychology at Pitt, before I hit my breaking point. Do you know how many components can contribute to a nineteen ... Read full review