Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill

Mad in America Bad Science Bad Medicine and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill 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 pos
  • Title: Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill
  • Author: Robert Whitaker
  • ISBN: 9780738207995
  • Page: 385
  • Format: Paperback
  • 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 possibly worse than asylum patients did in the early nineteenth century With a muckraker s passion, Whitaker argues that modern treatments for the severely mentally ill are jusIn 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 possibly worse than asylum patients did in the early nineteenth century With a muckraker s passion, Whitaker argues that modern treatments for the severely mentally ill are just old medicine in new bottles, and that we as a society are deeply deluded about their efficacy Tracing over three centuries of cures for madness, Whitaker shows how medical therapies have been used to silence patients and dull their minds He tells of the eighteenth and nineteenth century practices of spinning the insane, extracting their teeth, ovaries, and intestines, and submerging patients in freezing water The cures in the 1920s and 1930s were no less barbaric as eugenic attitudes toward the mentally ill led to brain damaging lobotomies and electroshock therapy Perhaps Whitaker s most damning revelation, however, is his report of how drug companies in the 1980s and 1990s skewed their studies in an effort to prove the effectiveness of their products Based on exhaustive research culled from old patient medical records, historical accounts, numerous interviews, and hundreds of government documents, Mad in America raises important questions about our obligations to the mad, what it means to be insane, and what we value most about the human mind.
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    2 thoughts on “Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill

    1. Robert Whitaker, a journalist, writes primarily about medicine and science He is the author of four books Mad in America, The Mapmaker s Wife, On the Laps of Gods and Anatomy of an Epidemic.His newspaper and magazine articles on the mentally ill and the pharmaceutical industry have garnered several national awards, including a George Polk Award for medical writing and a National Association of Science Writers Award for best magazine article.A series he cowrote for the Boston Globe on the abuse of mental patients in research settings was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1998.

    2. this is a grim but i think mandatory history of psychiatry in america it seems to me that, at this time, the people we can truly trust when it comes to exploring mental health culture are investigative journalists this book is not kind to psychiatry, and i think this is exactly as it should be whitaker documents painstakingly every assertion he makes and shows us a discipline that was born wrongly and retains to this day the misguidedness of its roots i don t know about other countries there are [...]

    3. A historical account of how the mentally ill have been treated, with an emphasis on the treatment in America.Rarely does a title describe a book so well The treatment of the mentally ill has been marred by bad science throughout historically plagued with abominable practices such as whipping and bloodletting, even in its golden hour in the 20th century, the mentally ill were being described as a degenerate strain of humanity, social wastage defective germ plasm and in keeping with eugenics, that [...]

    4. Well this was just jaw dropping Not only a study of how schizophrenia has been treated and managed in the US, but also views it through a sociological historical political lens There are some treatments here straight out of one of the Saw movies, and it frustrates me that the treatment of mental health conditions has gone backwards in so many regards Who do we blame for this The book points the finger at drug companies once again, it s all about money But I suppose as long as consumers go on buy [...]

    5. Such an important book, that looks at how we have treated mentally ill folks through the centuries An inside look at psychiatry s dirty secrets, and an exploration of where science, corporate interests drug companies, doctors and the mentally ill individuals intersect and interact Whitaker has been demonized as a heretic for daring to question the efficacy of studies supporting the drugs we are increasingly ingesting and wonders why if they are effective relapse rates increase for those medicate [...]

    6. There are so many things that I could say about this book, but I will simply say this Just read it And after you read it, watch the film Food Inc for good measure.

    7. This book was referenced by the author of Shutter Island It tells the history of mental treatment in America from the Quakers who tried to cure madness with gentle treatment to the drugs prescribed today Some of it is frightening and terrible Towards the end the author focused solely on schizophrenia and the drugs used to treat it I would have found it interesting if other psychiatric issues were addressed, but perhaps they re too many to mention The author feels there is a vast conspiracy betw [...]

    8. A very interesting and shocking account of how psychiatry, specifically the treatment of schizophrenia has changed over the years This is a very important book about how the limitations in science and how the society has contributed to the mistreatment of the mentally ill.Horrifying was the treatment of the mentally ill back in the day Bleeding to the point of fainting induced vomiting swinging chairs bath of surprise drowning to the point of near death removal of the uterus, ovaries and intest [...]

    9. I read this thanks to an uncle suffering not only from bi polar disorder, but also from the effects of many years of taking the various drugs associated with relief of his symptoms This was a great, albeit heartbreaking, story of how the mentally ill have been treated throughout history, the rise of the medical profession and psychiatry s place in that profession, and the rise of the pharmaceutical juggernaut When I see my uncle, I see someone who fell into a trap of looking for a miracle cure t [...]

    10. This work contains plenty of interesting facts about the advancements in the treatment of schizophrenics in particular in the U.S health care system That being said, the eventual condition of an all encompassing system in the world of treatment was for these unfortunate souls a nasty development It was enlightening to read that the treatment methods employed in the 19th century were much closely related to those we now consider most humane and effective The One Flew Over a Cuckoo s Nest era was [...]

    11. I am not sure how to rate this book honestly The author did very well at putting this book together However, I am not sure if I should like the book because I did not enjoy reading about the horrific treatment of people with mental illness But I am grateful to have this knowledge about how these people were treated It upsets me about what these people were put through, but on the other hand I am contemplating on whether or not I believe it was necessary in order to get to where we are today with [...]

    12. In the Preface to Mad in America, the author points to a startling fact, that over the past twenty five years, outcomes for people suffering with schizophrenia in the U.S have worsened More than 2 million Americans suffer with schizophrenia Many end up homeless, in prisons, or in and out of psychiatric hospitals Schizophrenia is estimated to cost the U.S than 45 billion annually These facts led Whitaker to ask, If the medications work so well, then why do schizophrenics fare so poorly in the Un [...]

    13. Although I consider myself fairly aware of the horrific historic and current state of mental health treatment in America, this book still left me shocked beyond words I tried to tell myself that the abuse described in the text was and is born from a lack of understanding about how to engage with and treat this population Yet, I could not keep myself from questioning how a society can act with so little compassion This text is a reminder that when we are angry about something, it is our job not o [...]

    14. This book gives an overview of some of the horrific treatments for the mentally ill in America s history It starts out with Benjamin Rush and his gyrator , moving all the way to pharmaceuticals in present day The eugenics movement of the 1930s is also covered although not in depth I have a fascination with the medical practices of the 18th and 19th centuries, and this work describes some shockers very well, indeed.

    15. A wake up call to get as far away from psychiatric medications, they cause problems than they help and leads to life long dependence on them not to mention needing to take insalubriuos meds to counter the health problem they create

    16. Basically the history of psychiatry in America Shocking and gruesome and incredibly useful I already think of psychiatrists as quacks, but I didn t know they had such a violent history of quackery Wow.

    17. An extremely interesting history of mental health in America, particularly noteworthy for its observations on how societal attitudes and economic factors influenced treatment.

    18. The book Mad in America by Robert Whitaker is not Mad Science but an account of how science has been manipulated to serve the needs of pharmaceutical companies, medical and psychiatric associations as well as the reputations of countless medical experts, all at the expense of thousands of patients health and wellbeing It s a disturbing read It makes the reader mad angry at how we, the laypeople, have been fed the myth of the broken brain that only medication can fix medications like SSRIs which [...]

    19. Mental illness is one of the most complex struggles I can conceive For the individual and society For start, even calling it an illness suggests that we understand it primarily as a biological process a subtle shift in terminology which may, ironically, impede recovery Whitaker focuses on the history of schizophrenia treatment in the United States Beginning with the moral treatment the Quakers used in respite homes and, subsequently, employed at Pennsylvania Hospital However, it did not take lon [...]

    20. This history of the treatment of madness in times leading up to our own backwards treatment of mental illness is a true wonder of scholarship and impartiality True, the author shows science to be largely a sham concocted by those who speak and act in the name of a science run amok, but he doesn t outright dismiss their findings he shows us the fairly obvious flaws and barbarism inherent in many acts perpertraited on the so called mad in the name of progress and for anyone interested in the subje [...]

    21. 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 year old girl whom gave up swimming, she had a scholarship at her first college the only thing that really mattered in her life She used drugs and alcohol recklessly, she missed all of her classes because bulimia when she wanted to photograph her puke as an art form , got results than say, psycholog [...]

    22. What did I think I think the abuse that the mentally ill have suffered over the years is repulsive I bookmarked and highlighted many passages to share with my circle To ignore the hell in which the mentally ill dwell is to turn your back on humanity I can think of no worse life than that of a person who sought help and basically got turned into a vegetable for my troubles And that is the least of the worries of those placed on neuroleptics or the wonder drugs of today I am totally not knocking m [...]

    23. Whitaker tells a chilling history of psychiatric medication in the United States that reminds us that we aren t nearly as advanced as we might like to think Our advances have been in making our brutality only appear to be humane Now instead of attacking someone s brain with an ice pick, we charge them 900 a month for the privilege of using pharmaceutical ice picks on their own brain.Of all the healthcare discussions our country needs to have, figuring out how to get medicine out of the profit m [...]

    24. Details the treatment of mental illness for the past several hundred years Interesting sometimes shocking to read about some of the approaches that have been tried I think one of the author s purposes was to make the psychopharmacological treatments of the last few decades seem just as ineffective and brutal as those from the past Somewhat interesting, but got really boring academic when it got to lobotomy drug treatments.

    25. Mad in America Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill, by Robert Whitaker, Basic Books, 2010 Revised Edition Originally published in 2002 Mad in America is a searing indictment of our failure to relieve the suffering of the mentally ill and their families In the interest of fair disclosure, I am a psychologist and have spent much of my life studying mental illness, teaching about it, counseling, and writing, mainly in the areas of Death and Dying and other f [...]

    26. This was a difficult book to read Like Anne Frank, I tend to believe that people are really good at heart I assume they have the best intentions After all, they were doing the best they could with what they knew, right This book challenged that conviction I kept envisioning people I love who struggle with various mental illnesses being subjected to the inhumane actions that too often passed for treatment in the past near starvation diets, electroshock therapy, drugged into a drooling vegetative [...]

    27. Great read Whitaker digests a huge body of historical and scientific literature to produce this tragic, compelling story of schizophrenia in America.The case Whitaker builds suggests that the majority of psychiatric patients in the United States have, for the past 50 years, been subjected to treatment that is detrimental to their recovery, as well as immoral and abusive You ll question any faith you have in the moral infallibility of doctors You ll be enraged at the corrupt, pseudo scientific st [...]

    28. I thought it was a great book,and it was an inspiration for my own new book, Mental Health, Inc that comes with an endorsement from Robert Whitaker Here s a blog post giving an overview of the book, author_blog and my appearance today on John Fugelsang s Sirius XM show tell me anything, about five minutes in dropbox s g3uvf5p25xvHere s John Fugelsang referencing my book on his Facebook page and posting a link to my Newsweek article about an abusive Christian boot camp type facility for teens tha [...]

    29. Holy cow Talk about cognitive dissonance I ve spent years of my life, since high school in fact, believing that mental illnesses are chemical imbalances in the brain and that we have drugs to treat them Evidence presented herein disputes that and states that we may be worse off precisely because we are treating the mentally ill with medications Some studies presented suggest that people on antipsychotics recover at the same rate as people in the old days when they were treated with ice water bat [...]

    30. Fabulously interesting evaluation of mental health treatment from the earliest days of chained crazies through moral therapy, fear treatments, water treatments, lobotomy, pills and This is a nice complement to the author s recent Anatomy of an Epidemic, but while that book questions the current science as Science, this one questions the humane ness as well as effectiveness of current and former treatments The role of cost in health care and the someone else s problem switcheroo of taxing bodie [...]

    31. One of the most Important books I ve read this year At times disturbing, heartbreaking, maddening pun intended , but I m so glad I read it Intricately researched, and written with loads of compassion and common sense My boiled down takeaway If you or a loved one have a psychotic break or are diagnoses with psychosis or schizophrenia, DO NOT take conventional antipsychotics neuroleptics ie Thorazine, Haldol halperidol, Prolixin or the newer atypical antipsychotics, no matter what they tell you Fo [...]

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