Instead, experiments with radiotagged molecules proved the existence of neurotransmitter and receptors in the human brain, leading to a host of amine-based theories of madness. Brains are essentially chemical organs, and by adjusting chemical activity through drugs, they can be restored to sanity. The new practice and theory of psychopharmacology demanded new ways of regulating and using drugs. The thalidomide crisis lead to the amendments to the Food and Drug Act which established that drugs could only be given by prescription as a treatment for well-defined illnesses.
The amendments, along with new funding priorities in the NIH, established the randomized clinical trial as the gold standard of efficacy. Heely argues that RCTs are in fact highly flawed instruments for psychiatry, in that their need for objective and portable results relies on symptomatic scales that do not translate to improved patient quality of life.
Drugs may vary in effectiveness between patients with different biologies or temperaments, data which is not captured by RCTs. Additionally, the regulatory environment surrounding medicine means that from a business standpoint, the most sensible policy is to increase the number of people suffering from a given mental illness.
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The immense amount of money flowing from patients to pharmaceutical companies to doctors see White Coat, Black Hat—Elliot has effectively corrupted science. Finally, according to Heely, current theories about the brain are no more well-grounded than Freudian psychodynamics. The idea that a single neurotransmitter path is linked to a defined illness or its cure is not supported by the powerful action of drugs which work on many neural systems, or the way in which a single drug might cure multiple disorders Prozac is actually not very good at treating classical depression.
It works much better on OCD. Heely leads me to three major questions. First, if we are not going to rely on RCT, what other methods do we have for knowing how to match treatments to diseases to symptoms? The idea of how science should operate, and what counts as science, and thorny and complex.
The Creation of Psychopharmacology by David Healy
Second, how will the current biological paradigm be replaced? Psychoanalysis was destroyed because it overstepped its bounds without bringing consummate benefits; patients felt oppressed rather than helped. Heely proposes that genetics and brain imaging will upend the biological paradigm, but after 10 years I am doubtful. Thirdly, what is the appropriate place of psychiatric drugs in society? Who should be responsible for their use, and what counts as a treatable condition?
Healy's prose is extraordinarily dull to read, and although he gets his facts straight in the first half of the book, in the second half he gets some facts wrong and displays a clear anti-psychiatry bias.
He presents such harmful ideas as suggesting antidepressants shouldn't be taken because without depressed people there wouldn't be art or spirituality. Do not trust the facts in this book, and do not listen to his bias.
It is harmful and offensive both to people with mental health issues and to Healy's prose is extraordinarily dull to read, and although he gets his facts straight in the first half of the book, in the second half he gets some facts wrong and displays a clear anti-psychiatry bias. It is harmful and offensive both to people with mental health issues and to those who work to help them. Check out my full review. Feb 23, Beth rated it it was amazing Shelves: for-school.
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This book draws together most of the major threads in the histories of psychiatry, psychopharmacology, and drug development. One of the best histories I have read recently. Once pharmaceutical companies recognized the commercial potential of antipsychotic medications, financial as well as clinical pressures drove the development of ever more aggressively marketed medications. With verve and immense learning, Healy tells a story with surprising implications in a book that will become the leading scholarly work on its compelling subject. Strangers in a Strange Land.
The Doctoring of Madness before Chlorpromazine. Explorations in a New World. Psychiatry outside the Walls. Twisted Thoughts and Twisted Molecules. A chemical treatment was developed for one purpose, and as long as some theoretical rationale could be found, doctors administered it to the insane patients in their care to see if it would help.
Sometimes it did, dramatically. Why these treatments worked, Healy argues provocatively, was, and often still is, a mystery.
Nonetheless, such discoveries made and unmade academic reputations and inspired intense politicking for the Nobel Prize. Once pharmaceutical companies recognized the commercial potential of antipsychotic medications, financial as well as clinical pressures drove the development of ever more aggressively marketed medications.
The Creation of Psychopharmacology
With verve and immense learning, Healy tells a story with surprising implications in a book that will become the leading scholarly work on its compelling subject. Healy does groundbreaking work The Creation of Psychopharmacology details how psychiatric medication intersects with academic squabbles and popular culture.
He identifies current trends towards the abandonment of independent research into treatments for mental illness, the demand for Randomised Control Trials as the only acceptable measure of whether a treatment works, and the chilling control pharmaceutical companies now exert over psychiatry This is an important and thought-provoking book Healy's warning that, without a debate, we may be moving into an era when cosmetic psychiatry will be the new liposuction is worth heeding. Over the years he has conducted interviews with all the leading figures in psychopharmacology Drawing on these interviews and his wide reading of the scholarly literature, Healy has now constructed a subtle and compelling narrative of the development of psychotropic drugs Healy ambitiously relates the emergence of drugs to the wider culture and shows how the two have interacted Sammons Contemporary Psychology Help Centre.