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Cracked: The Unhappy Truth about Psychiatry Hardcover – 1 Aug 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 118 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 372 pages
  • Publisher: Pegasus Books; 1 edition (Aug. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1605984736
  • ISBN-13: 978-1605984735
  • Product Dimensions: 15.7 x 2.8 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 667,377 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Rich in valuable insights, well written, and thoroughly resourced.Essential reading for anyone who is interested in the philosophical, historical, social, and political implications of the construction of psychoanalysis in the twentieth century.

James Davies offers a highly original and insightful approach. Drawing from anthropology, philosophy, and psychology, Davies weaves a rich narrative that deserves to be widely read.--Dead Alistair Ross, Oxford University


'[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) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: 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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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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OK, as somebody who is qualified in science, I already knew large long-term studies demonstrated that anti-depressants were by and large useless.

I already knew that psychiatry 'medicalises' normal spectrum behaviours.

However, I did learn a lot from this book:

1) That the medical model of schizophrenia is not proven
2) That placebo ECT studies (where an electric shock is administered in people with severe depression) have demonstrated a larger placebo effect
3) That ECT is extremely damaging to the brain

amongst others.

Chapter 12 was the most shocking chapter for me where he convincingly demonstrates the huge cultural influences in mental health problems through the anorexia 'epidemic' in Japan, a country which saw a huge upsurge in this problem, which prior had been largely a western issue, after masses of media coverage of a single death from it. The most shocking part of the chapter was the correlation of self-harm with references to it in popular culture (please spare me the correlation doesn't equal causation phoney argument and review the history of epidemiology).

The book reads very well, and should be read by all doctors as Peter Hitchens says.

The one aspect I feel the book could have improved was giving a bigger role to the evidence around schizophrenia. He does talk about it, even has an appendix on it, but does not go into the depths he does for depression and behavioural disorders. In fact, his description of how people who hear voices fare in countries where there isn't any stigma was extremely interesting.

So, where does this leave my impressions of psychiatry?
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