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Cracked: Why Psychiatry is Doing More Harm Than Good [Paperback]

James Davies
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
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Book Description

6 Mar 2014
Why is psychiatry such big business? Why are so many psychiatric drugs prescribed - 47 million antidepressant prescriptions in the UK alone last year - and why, without solid scientific justification, has the number of mental disorders risen from 106 in 1952 to 374 today? The everyday sufferings and setbacks of life are now 'medicalised' into illnesses that require treatment - usually with highly profitable drugs. Psychological therapist James Davies uses his insider knowledge to illustrate for a general readership how psychiatry has put riches and medical status above patients' well-being. The charge sheet is damning: negative drug trials routinely buried; antidepressants that work no better than placebos; research regularly manipulated to produce positive results; doctors, seduced by huge pharmaceutical rewards, creating more disorders and prescribing more pills; and ethical, scientific and treatment flaws unscrupulously concealed by mass-marketing. Cracked reveals for the first time the true human cost of an industry that, in the name of helping others, has actually been helping itself.

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Cracked: Why Psychiatry is Doing More Harm Than Good + Doctoring the Mind: Why psychiatric treatments fail + Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America
Price For All Three: £26.32

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Icon Books Ltd (6 Mar 2014)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 1848316542
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848316546
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 15,920 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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'[Cracked] should be read by every doctor ... by everyone in politics and the media, not to mention any concerned citizen.' -- Peter Hitchens Mail on Sunday 'Chilling reading' -- Will Self Guardian 'Davies's book is a potent polemic' -- Bryan Appleyard Sunday Times 'If, in the world of psychiatry, the DSM is Holy Scripture, Cracked is set to become a heretical text.' -- Robert Crampton The Times Magazine 'A profoundly disturbing look at the world of Big Pharma ... This is an important book for anyone who has an interest in mental health.' Daily Mail 'Builds a disturbing picture of a profession that is in thrall to pharmaceutical companies' -- Michael Mosley BBC Focus 'An eye-opening and persuasive work' Publishers Weekly '[A] diligent study' Financial Times 'A well-written book ... a positive contribution to the debate about whether psychiatry can become a more open practice.' Therapy Today 'Disturbing and uncompromising' Kirkus Reviews 'A very controversial, fascinating and powerful read ... full of balanced and reasonable arguments. I would strongly urge all mental health professionals, those in the caring professions as well anybody interested in mental health to read this book.' The Psychologist 'An engrossing book, full of interviews with patients and professionals' GP Magazine 'I couldn't put the book down. It is totally engaging, as controversial as it is compelling, and as erudite as it is enjoyable ... The book deserves to be a bestseller and should be read by every mental health professional' International Review of Logotherapy and Existential Analysis I, personally, applaud a work that can shine a light into the murky corners of dubious practice' -- Alan Pope Sitegeist 'This is an excellent book...[it] careens, almost literally, from one psychiatric outrage to the next ... I strongly recommend this book.' -- Dr Phil Hickey Behaviourism and Mental Health 'This thought-provoking book will make people think twice before sitting on a psychiatrist's couch or filling a prescription' Booklist This is a very well-written book - intellectually sound, but written in an accessible way ... It should be read by all mental health professionals, by all politicians and policy makers charged with shaping future mental health provision' -- Dr Neil Thompson Social Justice Solutions 'You will be illuminated and often shocked and certainly made to think more about how you view the children in your care. Every teacher should read it' International School Magazine

About the Author

James Davies obtained his PhD in medical and social anthropology from the University of Oxford. He is also a qualified psychotherapist (having worked in the NHS), and a senior lecturer in social anthropology and psychology at the University of Roehampton, London. He has delivered lectures at many universities, including Harvard, Brown, CUNY, Oxford and London, and has written articles about psychiatry for the New Scientist, Therapy Today and the Harvard Divinity Bulletin. He is author of The Importance of Suffering: the value and meaning of emotional discontent (Routledge, 2011). He lives with his wife and daughter in Shepherd's Bush, London.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
I liked this book - the author is clearly very knowledgeable and he writes in a balanced, even handed way. This book is not just a joust against the 'evils' of modern Big Pharm but is also a considered account of the nature and success of modern medical Psychiatry. You will probably only be reading this book if you already 'smell a rat', but on the small chance you are an admirer of modern medicine and its treatment of mental disorders, and you feel warm and friendly to the pharmaceutical industry, be prepare for some uncomfortable reading. Perhaps the most telling take-away from the book - if you or a loved one are offered or told you 'need' anti-depressants or neuroleptic drugs then - well, pause and have a good think.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and readable 5 July 2013
By booky
Cracked opens the lid on the closed world of psychiatry and lets us take a look inside. What we find may well shock the reader. Drug trial data being buried in order to make drugs appear to be more effective than they really are, drug companies exploiting peer review publications, doctors taking large sums of money from big pharma to push drugs that don't work, and spurious claims about the biological causes of mental illness.

None of this is really new. This has been written abut previously, but the author brings together this information in a readable form for non medical professionals.

This is NOT a hatchet job on psychiatry by some scientologist. Here we have a well researched and laid out argument of what is wrong with psychiatry and how we can put it right by basing treatment decisions on the best available evidence. The author does not argue that ALL drug interventions are bad for patients, but that drugs should not be the default treatment choice.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wool Pulled Justifiable Rage Disorder 30 May 2013
By Lady Fancifull TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
Why has the prescription of antidepressant medicine roughly tripled in less than 20 years? Is it that we are indeed becoming sicker, that we are all becoming more and more stressed and psychologically unwell, is it merely that doctors and psychiatrists are much more skilled at diagnosing psychiatric conditions than they used to be, or is it that we are now medicalising (drugging) what is normal about the variety of day to day human experiences, which at times can be sorrowful, challenging or confusing?

This brilliantly clear, cogently argued, shocking and timely book by psychotherapist and anthropologist James Davies rendered me almost incoherent with rage, exposing as it did something which many of us have been aware of, but maybe have not had the tools or ability to follow to a conclusion. James Davies has those tools and abilities; he thoughtfully, knowledgeably, skilfully connects all the dots together, uncovering the horrendous duplicity, collusion and sheer unscientific snake oil peddling visited upon us by Big Pharma, in the field of mental health.

I can't urge the reading of this book strongly enough. Anyone who cares about what it means to be a fully human being, and especially anyone involved in any way in the caring professions needs to be aware of what Davies lays clear about the mental health industry. For industry it surely is.

With a carefully constructed series of explanations, revelations and arguments Davies delivers telling knock out punches to the House of Trick Cards of current mainstream psychiatry. The major punches involve

1) The increasing categorisation of VIRTUALLY ANY EMOTIONAL STATE so that it falls within a category of disorder - thus opening the way to the development of chemical coshes.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, compelling book on psychiatry 10 May 2013
It was seeing a review in The Times magazine that made me buy this book and I found that Davies makes a convincing case - it's an intriguing and revealing read, hard to put down as it's so well written and fast-paced. It must be a book that psychiatrists certainly don't want you to read! It's absolutely fascinating and I'd totally recommend it.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 10 May 2013
By Jean T
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I haven't been able to put this down since my copy arrived earlier this week. The interviews with the leaders of psychiatry are fascinating - it is amazing that Davies managed to secure interviews with all of these people, from Senators in America to several Presidents and ex-Presidents of Psychiatric Associations. It was so interesting to hear Robert Spitzer, the modern founder of psychiatry, admitting that there are no biological markers to most of these disorders. I was also shocked to read of the scant science behind the creation of these disorders - and not from Davies but from the mouths of the people who created them and were on the Taskforce for the DSM! The material on the close links with Big Pharma and psychiatry is appalling - I heard Davies on the radio yesterday discussing this with a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist said this does not happen in the UK but Davies then showed that this very psychiatrist had also received money from several pharmaceutical companies! Davies shows in the book how rife this is in England so I disagree with the previous review that this is only a problem in America - policy change, please! This is an excellent book, which is vividly written. I'm off to order my copy of Davies' previous book now, The Importance of Suffering!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Knowledge is power. 3 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Well researched and eminently readable for the non specialist. I felt that the author, while doing a great job of debunking psychiatry and reminding us that mental torment and anguish is in fact often a normal response to stress and distress, was wisely restrained in his criticisms of current practice as no doubt there are many excellent and thoroughly wise mental health professionals out there..... But how can we judge?

I guess, when all's said and done, what shocks me most is not the drug companies burying of unfavourable research, or even their deliberate targetting of new consumers. After all they are ultimately out to SELL a lot of drugs not matter what altruistic motives they purport to have. No what shocks me is how large numbers of highly academic medical professionals can apparently have allowed themselves to become so immersed in the medical/biological understanding of the brain that they seem to be unable to even consider other ways of thinking. Closed minds....? Now isn't that why many people consult psychiatrists? .........Because the sufferers brains seem to have got stuck in one particular groove for one reason.?

We all want instant solutions these days including instant mental health. I guess no one is allowed to prescribe simply rest and TLC these days. After all what would be the employers response to this? No better by far to put the sufferer on Prozac or it's imitators, and get them back into being an economically viable member of society ASAP! who cares if their true personality is debased. Still I think the tide is turning. More people are being offered "talking therapies"

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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I bought this for a present and it was appreciated
Published 1 day ago by fidge11
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for the public and all doctors and politicians
An excellent read with well evidenced facts.
Is a useful source of reference for discussions with Psychiatrists and health workers re treatment rather than medication. Read more
Published 26 days ago by chris ambrose
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Must read
Published 29 days ago by Serena Chumber
5.0 out of 5 stars It is a great read by a thoughtful and very experienced author
This is a very sensible piece of writing describing clearly the fundamental flaws in the science of mental health today. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Hear this, it's da truf!
Published 1 month ago by Andy The Saintly Chief
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
although it could have been interesting the author is unfortunately not a gifted writer
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A well written and informative account bravely dealing with controversy within the world of prescription drugs.
Published 2 months ago by Hilary H.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 3 months ago by Sandali Jayasena
5.0 out of 5 stars cracked
Everyone should read this book, a real eye opener.
Published 3 months ago by miss wendy isaac
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone should read this book
This will mke your hair stand on end! It shows that the diagnosis of specific mental illness is very subjective and arbitrary and virtually all research on the drugs used in... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jean Morton-Williams
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