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A Straight Talking Introduction to Psychiatric Drugs (Straight Talking Introductions) [Paperback]

Joanna Moncrieff , Richard Bentall , Pete Sanders
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

19 May 2009 Straight Talking Introductions
Psychiatric drugs and their use are amongst the most hotly debated issues in the 21st century. How they work, whether they are effective and how to understand the evidence, and explanations of the major categories of psychiatric drugs are all covered in this clearly written guide. The competing theories of drug action are also explained in easy-to-understand terms. Here, Joanna Moncrieff arms you with some of the information you'll need to make informed choices about psychiatric drugs. She provides an honest account of the uses of medication, when it is advised and what effects it may have. The book concludes with gives practical advice on the right questions to ask if you are prescribed medication for mental health problems and what happens on withdrawal of medication.

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A Straight Talking Introduction to Psychiatric Drugs (Straight Talking Introductions) + The Myth of the Chemical Cure: A Critique of Psychiatric Drug Treatment + Doctoring the Mind: Why psychiatric treatments fail
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Product details

  • Paperback: 142 pages
  • Publisher: PCCS Books (19 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906254176
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906254179
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 10.8 x 17 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 26,100 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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This straightforward book is one that should be read by anyone currently taking, or thinking about taking, a psychotropic drug; anyone prescribing them and anyone party to their use. It offers a radically different and sobering view as to what the drugs do compared with the views on offer elsewhere. --David Healy,Professor of Psychological Medicine, University of Wales School of Medicine, Cardiff.

About the Author

Joanna Moncrieff is a Senior Lecturer in psychiatry at University College London and a practising consultant psychiatrist. She has written articles critical of various psychiatric drug treatments, including lithium, antidepressants and neuroleptics. She has also written about the adverse influence of the pharmaceutical industry on psychiatry. She is one of the founders and the co-chair person of the Critical Psychiatry Network, a group of psychiatrists who are critical of biological models of psychiatric distress and opposed to increasing coercion of psychiatric patients.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading. 25 Sep 2009
Joanna Moncrieff is a published psychiatrist, a senior lecturer at University College London and a founding member of the Critical Psychiatry Network. Her experience and commitment to providing information for those taking or prescribing psychiatric medication is evident right from the beginning of this book. Although it's a little book the comprehensive and intelligible manner in which it is written presents the reader with an extensive amount of relevant information. Information which is sometimes unseen for a variety of reasons by the patient.

Moncrieff details how psychiatric medications work and devotes a quite interesting chapter on drug trials and how the results are interpreted. She examines : Neuroleptics, Anti-depressants, Lithium, Stimulants and the ubiquitous Benzodiazepines. The consequences of a drug centered approach to psychiatric care is explained, as is the process of withdrawal.

I found this book to be both informative and interesting and Moncrieff provides food for thought for patients and indeed healthcare professionals. However I would have liked a bit more information on the subject of withdrawal, and thought there was room to expand on that particular chapter. I wonder how many people would knowingly start on this type of medication if all the relevant information was provided, not the scaremongering of certain others but unbiased and educational facts. Why are some drugs allowed to be marketed as a " magic cure " when all they do is put us in a state of dullness where we become emotionally blunted. I wonder do some of these drugs actually hinder our recovery and make the road back a little longer, steeper and with more pitfalls ?
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars useful, clear, brief, straightforward 1 Aug 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This clearly written little book documents what little is known about the psychoactive effects of the main drugs used in clinical psychiatry. As a clinical psychologist rather than a medic I cannot comment on the medical accuracy or potential bias of Dr Moncrieff's work. What I can say is that the book was very helpful in helping me understand the effects on my patients of the medications they take, i.e. what to expect by way of sedation, side effects and withdrawal effects.

Dr Moncrieff starts by outlining her drug-centred versus disease-centred approach to psychiatric medication. In practice this means questioning the idea that psychiatric disturbances are neurochemical imbalances which can be treated by the relevant 'anti' medication (e.g. antidepressant, antipsychotic). Once freed from this widespread, disease-oriented, lens we are freed up to consider psychiatric drugs as we would any other psychoactive drug: as compounds which may be sometimes be useful for (in particular) their sedating effects.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Knowledge if Power 7 July 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A Straight Talking Introduction to Psychiatric Drugs (Straight Talking Introductions)If you, like me, are currently locked in a power struggle with your local NHS psychiatrist over whether you or someone you care for will benefit from withdrawing from medication this book is for you. Joanna Moncrieff has added the voice of a respected British psychiatrist to that of American Dr Peter Breggin to make the research-based case for withdrawal. Like him she believes that psychiatric medications achieve their effects by suppressing normal brain function rather than by correcting chemical imbalances, and that the long-term use of neuroleptics is not justified by the evidence. Covering neuroleptics, antidepressants, mood-stabilisers, stimulants and benzodiazepines, this book is aimed at patients, relatives and carers and explains medication pros and cons in plain words. Knowledge is power. Thank you Joanna.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Dr Joanna Moncrieff makes the reading of medical jargon extremely interesting and easy. Her well informed views highlight an extremely informative book.
Dr Moncrieff also outlines the safe use of psychiatric drugs over the short term, and emphasises the right of the patient to be able to successfully cease
psychiatric medication with the help of professional advisors. Altogether a very refreshing change from the usual rubber stamp approach of the National Health Service in the UK.
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