Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill

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Basic Books, Dec 14, 2001 - Psychology - 368 pages
In Mad in America, medical journalist Robert Whitaker reveals an astounding truth: Schizophrenics in the United States fare worse than those in poor countries, and quite possibly worse than asylum patients did in the early nineteenth century. Indeed, Whitaker argues, modern treatments for the severely mentally ill are just old medicine in new bottles and we as a society are deluded about their efficacy. Tracing over three centuries of "cures" for madness, Whitaker shows how medical therapies-from "spinning" or "chilling" patients in colonial times to more modern methods of electroshock, lobotomy, and drugs-have been used to silence patients and dull their minds, deepening their suffering and impairing their hope of recovery. Based on exhaustive research culled from old patient medical records, historical accounts, and government documents, this haunting book raises important questions about our obligations to the mad, what it means to be "insane," and what we value most about the human mind.
 

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User Review  - sergerca - LibraryThing

This was a very interesting book that I found after seeing the movie "Shutter Island" and became interested in the history of mental health treatments in America. The unimaginable pain described here ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - eenerd - LibraryThing

Well written and a nice read, which I found unusual for a book like this. Eye-opening and informative history of the treatment of the mentally ill in England and America; very interesting if you would ... Read full review

Contents

The Healing Hand of Kindness
19
The Darkest Era 19001950
39
Too Much Intelligence
73
Brain Damage as Miracle Therapy
107
Back to Bedlam 19501990s
139
The Patients Reality
161
The Story We Told Ourselves
195
Shame of a Nation
211
The Nuremberg Code Doesnt Apply Here
233
Mad Medicine Today 1990sPresent
251
Epilogue
287
Afterword to the Revised Edition
293
Notes
305
Index
337
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About the author (2001)

Robert Whitaker's articles on the mentally ill and the drug industry have won several awards, including the George Polk Award for medical writing and the National Association of Science Writers' Award for best magazine article. He is also the author of The Mapmaker's Wife and The Lap of the Gods. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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