Robert Whitaker’s 2010 book Anatomy of an Epidemic is written with attitude. Even if only half of the hypothesis developed in Whitaker’s examination of the effects psychiatric drugs on adults and children is accurate, this book is an essential and illuminating read.
Whitaker leaves no doubt that the prescribing of an antidepressant drugs for both adults and children is of epidemic proportions in America. He makes the case that there is no scientific evidence that mental disorders are caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. The pharmaceutical industry continues to promote “magic bullets” designed to alter the brain’s chemical balance, treating mental illness as a disease.
Research compiled by Whitaker documents that the long-term effects of the use of antidepressants cause permanent brain damage rather than provide any definable cure. He questions the entire efficacy of the use of drug therapy in the treatment of mental illness. He advances a conspiracy theory between the drug manufacturers and the marketing of the “magic bullets” to patients desperate for answers for themselves and their children.
The most frightening conclusion proffered by Anatomy of an Epidemic is that long-term recovery rates for persons with mental disorders are better for those who have not been subjected to any form drug therapy.
Just like the book, ” In a Different Key, The Story of Autism ( See Gordonsgood Reads February posting), Anatomy of an Epidemic is an essential read for anyone concerned with examining a different narrative about the treatment of mental illness.
Robert Whitaker also authored Mad in America. He is a journalist and investigative reporter who has specialized in the area of mental health. His numerous articles and books have been the recipients of several awards including a Pulitzer finalist for investigative reporting.