Anatomy of an Epidemic

Robert Whitaker

reviewed by Mira de Vries

Finally someone is speaking out about the consequences of massive psychiatric drugging. Ever more people are being lured into the drug trap. Once started, very few people ever succeed at quitting them. Those who stay on the drugs suffer irreversible, disabling damage to their central nervous systems. With one in eight people on these drugs, the word "epidemic" in this respect is an understatement.

Not only is psychiatric meddling catastrophic for its victims, but it takes a terrible economic toll on all of society which is first forced to fund disabling so many people, and subsequently continues to be forced to fund the lifelong support and care of the so disabled.

Whitaker has done his homework well. He presents his case by confronting medical science with its own research results, which can lead to no other conclusion than that psychiatry's bag of chemical tricks is only endlessly harmful.

Unfortunately, in the final chapter he makes the two mistakes that he avoided so well in his book Mad in America. The first is that he tries to sound moderate by claiming that "there is a place for drugs in psychiatry's toolbox" thereby invalidating everything he wrote in all the previous chapters. The only possible valid use of psychiatric drugs is in tempering a withdrawal delirium, which would not be necessary if the drugs had never been administered in the first place. His second mistake is that he tries to propose an alternative in the example of psychiatric practice in Lapland, where, according to his description, the approach is more psychosocial with fewer drugs. But the evidence he himself presents indicates that fewer drugs is not enough, only no drugs is enough, and the efficacy of psychobabble remains unpersuasive. The book would have been better without the last chapter, except for the well-deserved tribute to attorney Jim Gottstein.

Nevertheless, if you're thinking of taking a psychiatric drug or giving one to your child, please read this book first.

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