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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A balanced, condensed but thorough review of Psychiatry and its approach to drugs
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...
Published 19 months ago by Amazon Customer

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read
First half of the book is quite compelling but as it works its' way through to the conclusions it got a bit bogged down and I had already seen where the author was going. As a retired mental health professional I agreed with a great deal of it, especially in relation to over reliance on psychopharmacology and the medical model and the burgeoning in the number of...
Published 9 months ago by eanrut


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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A balanced, condensed but thorough review of Psychiatry and its approach to drugs, 29 May 2013
By 
Amazon Customer (Ascot, Berkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Cracked: Why Psychiatry is Doing More Harm Than Good (Paperback)
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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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and readable, 5 July 2013
This review is from: Cracked: Why Psychiatry is Doing More Harm Than Good (Paperback)
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Knowledge is power., 3 July 2013
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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"

.... As someone who has recently walked the very difficult road with a relative who became seriously unbalanced for a while due largely to stress but who is now thankfully well on the road to recovery without recourse to drugs or worse, I can testify that not only is recovery possible but that the person may emerge the stronger for their ordeal. But patience, tolerance, forgiveness and unconditional love are the key....... These are qualities that are sadly out of fashion. The carer also needs non judgemental friends with broad shoulders if they are not to crack up themselves under the strain. The brain it seems is like any other organ of the body. Put it under too much stress and it will start to perform badly. No one would suggest to someone who's ankle was broken that pain killers will solve the problem ,... No the ankle needs to be immobilised and rested so the body can do its healing job. Why do we imagine our brains are somehow different...?

All in all an important and timely book deserving of a very wide readership.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wool Pulled Justifiable Rage Disorder, 30 May 2013
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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. This categorisation - the `Bible' used to denote syndromes, the DSM (currently DSM 5), is NOT the result of huge studies and research itself, yet it gets used as if it were the result of close scientific analyses. The result of the sort of sordid, limiting tickboxy thinking, turning us all into robots who can be managed out of our normal human pain is the crass thinking that says, for example, if after a bereavement, sleep appetite and general mood are affected for more than 2 weeks, anti-depressants may be helpfully prescribed. Crazy, insidious, crass. We have become so afraid of our suffering that the answer becomes `cosh it, flat line what it is to be in any way human'

2) Trials - various meta analysis studies have shown that antidepressants are BARELY more effective, in mild to moderate depression, to placebo. Drug companies have disquietingly low bars to climb over, in order to `prove' their products effectiveness. Davies uncovers the secrecy, the UNPUBLISHED drug trials that go against the findings Big Pharma wants and the manipulation of results. More than this, how drug companies positively USE that most powerful of tools - PLACEBO ITSELF to manipulate their own results higher - for example, the colour, the name, the advertising of the pharmaceutical - many of the effects that might be assumed to be the result of the chemistry of the drug `better than placebo' - are in fact DUE to the use of placebo!

3) There has been a change in thinking from the 60s and 70s, where psychiatric drugs were seen as altering mood (in the same way as any mind altering drug, including alcohol and street drugs alter moods) A shift occurred to thinking of psychiatric drugs as `curative'. This might not seem an important shift - however it goes along with the idea that much uncomfortable, difficult human emotion is now being seen as potentially aberrant and classifiable as a `disease' - as in the DSM - shyness becomes `social phobia'.

Medical naming encourages thinking about human beings in all their complexity as broken, and needing mending - and opens the door to the over-prescription. In fact, as one astute expert (among the many) Davies consults, points out tersely, this thinking of these drugs as `cures' is erroneous, as unlike most physiological disease there just is no hard evidence to support the biology of a lot of what is now being treated as `disease' through these medications - which alter mood. They do not `cure' shyness, (or, lets medicalise it as social phobia) any more than a glass of wine `cures' shyness - both change ways of perceiving the world, that is all.

4) Who bites the hand that feeds? There is a huge cover-up, smoke and mirrors going on in the world of funding `research' into psychiatric medicine whether in academic institutions, or with clinicians. And, gentle reader, there is even less transparency over this in the UK than there is in the States, where under the Obama administration, spearheaded by a particularly truth-and-justice campaigning Senator, Senator Grassley, some efforts to bring the Pharma hyena under the spotlight are beginning to bear fruit. But not here, where there is murk a plenty. Perhaps though, the fact that fully 56% of the panel member luminaries involved in writing the DSM-IV bible had 1 or more financial associations with the pharmaceutical industry, should begin to rip the wool from over our eyes. And, for those writing/creating the diagnostic categories, which would or course be primarily treated by pharmaceuticals, - 88% of DSM-IV panel members had drug company financial ties.from Big Pharma. And things don't have appeared to have changed for the better in terms of `arms length' involvement with the writing of the now current DSM-V.

I am not saying (nor is Davies) that all these senior clinicians and medical academicians are corrupt, merely that neutrality becomes hard to achieve when your income is dependent on a particular company who are hoping your findings will support the excellence of their product, and even to demonstrate a need for their product

I received this book as an ARC - of course, given what I have said in point 4, you may feel that my judgement is compromised. I would argue that a lowly amateur reviewer lucky enough to get offered bookie freebies through third parties does not in any way equate to some stars of the psychiatric industry who receive millions for the sterling work they do in supporting the claims of specific drugs and manufacturers. A look at some of my reviews on Amazon will show that if I think a particular book is poor I will indeed say so.

This one though gets my gold standard bookie trial award. Properly researched, properly cited, free from duplicitous cover-up. Unlike the industry is exposes.It deserves to be a best seller - indeed, needs to be so - its material is provocative, prescient, and vital to know.

I have one cavil - my ARC was a digital copy. Now I don't know if this will be any different than the standard digitise prepared for sale, but the digitisation on my ARC was poor - a lot of the useful charts and graphs do not appear and footnotes get chopped and inexplicably appear in the middle of other pages. If I were buying this book, I would definitely choose hard, over digitised, copy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Readable, insightful, but not without flaws, 4 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Cracked: Why Psychiatry is Doing More Harm Than Good (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this book. As someone on quite a lot of medication, it affirmed quite a lot of my own experience of dealing with psychiatrists who seem to know it all, until you see another one who tells you the exact opposite with equal high-handed authority!

But some points, such as the pharmaceutical industry's payment of doctors is labored, while what for me was the book's most interesting discussion - the fact that there are significantly better outcomes for many mental illnesses in developing countries where drugs are not widely prescribed - only got a three paragraph mention right at the end.

I'd particularly single out Chapter 6, 'Mental oddities and the pills that cause them,' as flawed. After going into great detail on placebo effects in previous chapters, Dr Davies then lends great authority to comments from a review of just 38 patients and a quote from a bloke talking about how his wife, 'isn't quite the same,' on TV's Kilroy.

Presumably if people given sugar pills can mistake them for anti-depressants, people actually on medication can also report all kinds of side effects that aren't actually real. In fact, these placebo side effects and people blaming pills for other ailments are quite widely documented and one reason why just about every medication package now comes with a gigantic list of ailments that have been attributed to the medication (When was the last time you took a pill that didn't warn you that it might give you diarrhea? Do they all really do this, or is it just that people get upset stomachs all the time and blame the pills, rather than the dodgy takeaway they at the night before...)

I don't want to seem overly negative - this is a four star review after all - but authors need to apply the same rigor to evidence that supports their hypothesis as they do to picking apart the arguments behind 'conventional wisdom.'
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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
By 
C. Luxford (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Cracked: Why Psychiatry is Doing More Harm Than Good (Paperback)
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
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This review is from: Cracked: Why Psychiatry is Doing More Harm Than Good (Paperback)
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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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbiased and fair, 10 May 2013
This review is from: Cracked: Why Psychiatry is Doing More Harm Than Good (Paperback)
I found this book utterly fascinating and very fair. It was very well researched, of course psychiatrists will probably be unhappy with this critique but I sincerely hope they take notice of the points made for the good of their patients.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read It Read It!!!, 12 Oct 2013
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No wonder the world is so messed up, where everyday emotions are now turned in to conditions and treated with medication. The chemical cosh on a massive scale, where the big Pharmaceuticals are raking in millions, where psychiatrists promote the latest drug to increase there salary.
Now when someone dies and a relative is going through the natural process of bereavement and makes the mistake of going to their GP, just to talk about how they feel, will more than likely be given anti depressants!
Please read this book and when you do tell other about it, this needs to stop.
What has surprised me since the this book was published, with articles in newspapers informing those who perhaps would not have heard about it. No one from the NHS here in the UK or the health service in America has challenged it it's content, not a peep.
Greed is driving this!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really Good Book!, 12 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Cracked: Why Psychiatry is Doing More Harm Than Good (Paperback)
For any one who is has suffered with depression,this book by James Davies is well worth reading.This book is a real eye opener.
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Cracked: Why Psychiatry is Doing More Harm Than Good
Cracked: Why Psychiatry is Doing More Harm Than Good by James Davies (Paperback - 9 May 2013)
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