Before Prozac: The Troubled History of Mood Disorders in by Edward Shorter

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By Edward Shorter

Psychiatry this present day is a barren tundra, writes scientific historian Edward Shorter, the place medicinal drugs that do not paintings are used to regard illnesses that do not exist. during this provocative quantity, Shorter illuminates this dismal panorama, in a revealing account of why psychiatry is ''losing ground'' within the fight to regard depression.
certainly, the booklet appears at such culprits because the pharmaceutical undefined, which isn't vulnerable to marketplace medications as soon as the patent expires, resulting in the never-ending advent of new--but no longer inevitably better--drugs. however the center of the e-book makes a speciality of an unforeseen villain: the FDA, the very organisation charged with making sure drug defense and effectiveness. Shorter describes how the FDA allows businesses to check new items basically opposed to placebo. in case you can beat sugar drugs, you get your drug approved, even if it really is really higher than (or while reliable as) present drugs, hence sweeping from the cabinets medications which may be better yet have misplaced patent defense. The e-book additionally examines the FDA's early energy struggles opposed to the drug undefined, an influence-grab that had little to do with technological know-how, and which left barbiturates, opiates, and amphetamines all underprescribed, even though below cautious supervision they're larger at treating melancholy, with fewer unwanted effects, than the more moderen medicinal drugs within the Prozac family members. Shorter additionally castigates academia, exhibiting how varieties of melancholy, melancholia and nonmelancholia--''as diverse from one another as chalk and cheese''--became squeezed into one doubtful class, significant melancholy, which was once basically a political artifact born of educational infighting.
An excellent and troubling examine smooth psychiatry, Losing Ground is a e-book that's guaranteed to spark controversy for future years

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Extra resources for Before Prozac: The Troubled History of Mood Disorders in Psychiatry

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Has anything like the value of . . ”104 Beginning in 1942, Jacques Gottlieb at the University of Iowa had been working systematically with various combinations of Amytal and Benzedrine in schizophrenia and depression, injecting them one right after the other. ”105 Essentially, the investigators had invented the combo themselves. ”106 Where is the antidepressant today that is effective in 90 percent of the patients? ”107 But the finding was little followed up, for by this time the world was reeling in horror at the “dependence” that use of the two drug classes supposedly fostered with ease.

50 But how often were barbiturates in fact used for suicide? Before the Second World War, concern about the barbiturates’ potential use as suicide drugs was tempered by the fact that they were not as wildly overprescribed as they were in the postwar years. To be sure, murmurings about the dangers of these new “hypnotic drugs” were uttered at a meeting of the psychiatry section of the Royal Society of Medicine in December 1933, yet Ronald G. Gillespie, physician for psychological medicine at Guy’s Hospital in London, “strongly contested the views which had been put forward as to the danger of therapeutic doses of these drugs.

In the 1990s a New England psychiatrist was “treating a woman with severe, refractory depression and dissociative disorder. We tried everything. . ” Then the psychiatrist came across a reference in the literature to codeine, an alkaloid of opium, in the treatment of depression: The pharmacy easily prepared either codeine or placebo in identical capsules. We randomized it and in a double blind 16 before prozac fashion gave her either active drug or placebo for a week or so. Bottom line: after three months the results in this randomized, double blind, n = 1 ABAB design showed highly consistent efficacy with the codeine, as demonstrated by a strong drop in the HAMD [the Hamilton Depression Scale] and some dissociative scale.

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