Customer Review

72 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading, 5 Feb 2008
This review is from: The Myth of the Chemical Cure: A Critique of Psychiatric Drug Treatment (Hardcover)
This book is important and should be essential reading for all psychiatrists, politicians, service providers, and user groups. Why? Because Dr Joanna Moncreiff's central tenet is right, and the implications for service delivery are profound. There is little or no reliable evidence to suggest current drugs specifically treat an underlying biochemical abnormality. They are better seen as toxic or potentially toxic agents causing changes in brain function which may in some circumstances mask or alleviate symptoms. Rather than the current push within psychiatry to use available psychotrophic drugs to 'treat' as many people as possible, as early as possible, and to force extended compliance, the complete evidence base, in fact, suggests that use of drugs should be more limited and more cautious than it is at present, and that this would lead to better functional outcomes. This is counter-intuitive to many, which only serves to underline the importance of the book.
This book is psychiatry's Silent Spring. Joanna's book portends Scrambled Minds rather than a Silent Spring, but in both books we see illustrations of irresponsible behaviours and practices in the face of jaw dropping flaws and omissions in the evidence- base. Including the the planning, execution, interpretation, and dissemination of 'scientific' trials. The true nature of short term effect, long-term efficacy, safety, and cost/benefit is obscured by bad science and or the complexity of the issues involved.
Psychiatry is particularly vulnerable to systematic misreading and or distortion of the evidence-base because of the uncertainties surrounding diagnosis, mechanism of drug 'efficacy', identification of psychiatric and physical side-effects, and assessment of outcomes. The potential for habituation and or forced treatment, particularly long-term in the community, adds a unique ethical dimension. I have read much of the primary literature first hand, including the papers underpinning N.I.C.E guidelines, and Cochrane Reviews, and independently reached very similar conclusions to Joanna.
The book is closely argued and well referenced. Even if you disagree with some of it's overall premises, it is not legitimate to dismiss it. I urge you to read it if only as a prompt to a critical evaluation of the status quo, never a bad thing, and almost always an illuminating exercise .
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 29 May 2010 17:12:05 BDT
Donald Scott says:
Your review seems to be mirrored by so many others. Having read The Emperor's New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth by Prof Irving Kirsch last year, his views reflect Joanna Moncrieff's in so many ways. Yet nothing much seems to change from the patients point of view. Is it possible that the psychiatric profession is showing itself to be reluctant to reflect on the effect its members and their prescriptions for more meds are having within UK healthcare?

Could it be that there's a wake-up call when the general public and then politicians realise that, just like in the Banking Industry, their behaviour is creating more problems than it solves?

Thanks for the review... just bought the book, too!

Posted on 26 Dec 2010 17:49:17 GMT
J R says:
Good review, nice summary

Posted on 25 Feb 2012 22:18:29 GMT
The Creator says:
As father to a daughter suffering with psychosis and mania who has currently been detained in hospital, I have watched her deteriorate both mentally and physically due to a series of reckless and unjustified ''treatment'' . The thoughtless use of polypharmacy together with a negligent attitude towards essential health checks has been both jaw-dropping and frightening. The psycho-drugs do not work they just form an iron grip of chemical intoxication upon the brain. Psychiatrists ignore the damage being done, ignore family protestations and lack even the basic principles of ethical healthcare. What you have written is correct in my experience and this sort of information needs a wider public forum to manifest a change in mental healthcare.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Jul 2013 05:19:14 BDT
Last edited by the author on 28 Jul 2013 05:26:23 BDT
Saucy Jack says:
The greatest disparity in power lies at the interface between psychiatrist and patient-RD Laing. Ronnie was saying this years ago. His Philadelphia Association might be of help to your daughter. Drug companies are the second most powerful industry behind arms. Both built on mass deception and extremely powerful. Recently read Anatomy of an Epidemic. I skipped the chapter on what they are doing to kids. Couldn't stomach it. It is evil.
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