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on 22 October 2015
Excellent introduction and overview of psychiatric drugs. As a practising psychiatrist Joanna Moncrieff is not completely anti drugs but she is sceptical of their benefits and very critical of the orthodox psychiatric view that mental health difficulties are physical diseases and to be viewed and treated in the same way as obvious physical conditions. Psychiatric drugs therefore do not rectify physical abnormalities, see 'chemical imbalances', they are psychoactive and create changes in brain chemistry and associated emotional, behavoiural and psychological states. She references research and how flawed the evidence is and why. As a counsellor in private practice with an interest in existential philosophy I have found this book very useful.
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on 3 February 2017
Very good resource
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on 24 December 2014
Exceptional advice and background knowledge for users and non-users alike. Allows an informed choice not readily available elsewhere.
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on 14 August 2016
Very informative book found its content very illuminating.
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on 20 January 2015
very handy for a student mental health nurse. easy read.
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on 21 November 2015
Don't go on these drugs without reading this book! They produce a 'drug endured state' along with bad side effects.
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on 1 August 2011
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.

Particularly interesting were the two observations that: i) the neuroleptically aggressive approach to 'early intervention for psychosis' may be misleading since the research which finds early treatment leading to better outcome may be misinterpreting the fact that people who experience an acute (rather than protracted) onset (and who therefore present more quickly for treatment and accordingly have a shorter duration of untreated psychosis) tend to recover better anyway; ii) drug trials which compare staying on a drug with stopping taking it, and finding that more relapses occur in the second condition, may be mistaking an allegedly helpful 'disease-combatting' property of the drug for the rather different effect that suddenly stopping taking a psychoactive drug can create illness-mimicking or illness-causing withdrawal effects.

Chapters in the book consider 'anti-psychotics' (typically used for treating schizophrenic conditions), 'anti-depressants' (for depression), 'mood stabilisers' (for bipolar disorder), stimulants (for ADHD), benzodiazepines (for a range of problems), withdrawal, mechanism of drug action, drug- versus disease-centred models of medication and illness.
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on 1 March 2013
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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on 24 February 2012
good service, book based basically on case studies as opposed to a formulary of which I was expecting, neverthless a good read
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on 12 December 2012
The book is very easy to understand, easy reading, it's well worth the price. Good book for student nurses to buy
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