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The Emperor's New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth Paperback – 3 Sep 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Bodley Head (3 Sept. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847920837
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847920836
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.4 x 21.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 128,058 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"A beautifully written, profoundly important book that is sure to shake up the psychiatric establishment and pharmaceutical industry... This book is long overdue and I hope that people will pay attention. Kudos to Dr. Kirsch!" (David D. Burns M.D., author of Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy)

"Irving Kirsch brilliantly documents a grim scandal of regulatory and clinical failures concerning antidepressants but also holds out hope" (David Healy, author of Let Them Eat Prozac: The Unhealthy Relationship Between the Pharmaceutical Industry and Depression)

"A terrific account of how optimism, greed and scientific incompetence have misled us about the nature of depression and the drugs we throw at it" (Druin Burch, author of Taking the Medicine)

"Wide scope, smooth delivery, and mastery of the data" (www.popularscience.co.uk)

"A fascinating and disturbing book" (Literary Review)

Book Description

A journey of discovery and an exposé of the pharmaceutical industry.

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Irving Kirsch is a well-known authority on hypnotic suggestion and the psychology of the placebo effect. He has published dozens of peer-reviewed articles in mainstream scientific research journals and is the author of several well-received books, and a contributor to chapters in many co-authored volumes. He is currently professor of psychology at the University of Hull. Kirsch's basic goal in this book seems to have been to take the complexity of scientific and statistical debate and present it in plain English in an accessible "popular science" style, so that as many people as possible are able to process the information. In all honesty, I think he has done an absolutely admirable job. He's a genuine expert in this area and yet this book could be read in an afternoon. If some parts are a little tricky, I think that's just the subject matter, I really can't imagine someone doing a better job of explaining the concepts to the layman. The evidence Kirsch presents is undeniably compelling, and has been subjected to critical scrutiny in peer-reviewed scientific journals. He's basically blowing the whistle on an "open secret", or as one commentator put it the pharmaceutical industry's "dirty little secret". If you take antidepressants (of any kind, Kirsch's analysis of the data shows there's not much difference in their effects) or you prescribe these drugs, or you're a researcher, psychological therapist, or just an interested member of the public, I strongly recommend reading this book. It manages to strike the perfect balance between readability and serious scientific debate.

Donald Robertson, author of,
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Quite a disturbing book,in its undermining of the 'depression business' and it is a very big business. Very well written demolition job of the chemical imbalance theories. He examines the evidence for anti depressants forensically and finds some worrying signs of science being side tracked by profit. He raises important points about the power of placebo's and unlike many psychologists admits the talking therapies are just as dependant on the placebo effect as the tablets are.Raises a lot of important questions about the mental illness industry and modern evidence based practice.
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Interesting. Very interesting. But should I take his word for it? That's the crux, really. Kirsch says that anti-depressants don't work and he cites studies, reviews and articles which he says backs up his claims. But for me to verify this I would have to read all of those citations AND I would have to read all of the literature that disputes their findings. Not only that, but Kirsch's appraisal and interpretation of the evidence may be biased. He is, after all, a psychologist, and so has a vested interested in finding evidence to support psychotherapies. You should bear that in mind from the beginning.

Having said that, I am indebted to him for illuminating the clinical trial process and all the chicanery that can go on before, during and after it. This text truly confirms the old adage of lies, darned lies and statistics. The manipulation of data is really mind boggling in its subtlety and deviousness. On that basis alone we should view all clinical trials with a pinch of salt. I also learned an awful lot about the placebo effect (or "meaning response") from this book. You might think you know all about the placebo effect already: someone takes a dummy pill and if they think it's real it will work almost as good as the real thing. Well, according to Kirsch it works AS well. But the whole meaning response, like clinical trials in which it is a regular feature, is many layers of subtlety, which the author helps to gently peel away and examine. Thanks again, Irving.

This book could be a seminal work in changing doctors' and patients' opinion about the prescription of anti-depressants. It reminds me in many ways of
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An intriguing thought provoking book. Speaking as someone suffering from Bi Polarity, it was a long time, and many different drugs ago that I became convinced that Psycho Pharmaceuticals did absolutely no good for my condition. I have tried most of the prescrition drugs believe me. I had at some point bought into the chemical imbalance myth but having read the basis for the existence of that idea I am no longer even convinced by that now.

So is the hypothesis of this book sound - at the end of the day you can eiither buy into it, ignore or go out and do the Meta-analysis yourself. It's just refreshing having somebody pushing something other than chemicals down your neck.

My recommendation is read it and make up your own mind.

Pro's: it's excellent, with compelling argumenents abnd worrying stories about the giant Pharma Industries...

Con's: To be fair it beats taking sleeping tablets to get you off to sleep .....
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