In an era when more people are taking psychiatric drugs than ever before, Joanna Moncrieff’s explosive book challenges the claims for their mythical powers. Drawing on extensive research, she demonstrates that psychiatric drugs do not ‘treat’ or ‘cure’ mental illness by acting on hypothesised chemical imbalances or other abnormalities in the brain. There is no evidence for any of these ideas. Moreover, any relief the drugs may offer from the distress and disturbance of a mental disorder can come at great cost to people’s physical health and their ability to function in day-to-day life. And, once on these drugs, coming off them can be very difficult indeed. This book is a wake-up call to the potential damage we are doing to ourselves by relying on chemical cures for human distress. Its clear, concise explanations will enable people to make a fully informed decision about the benefits and harms of these drugs and whether and how to come off them if they so choose.
‘This is a brilliant book. It offers an incisive, clear and evidence based appraisal of psychiatric drugs, arriving at just the right time to counter the growing controversy and confusion in this area. I could not think of a more respected and credible guide to take us through this tricky terrain. This book should be compulsory reading for anyone working in mental health. I would also recommend it for anyone holding a more personal interest in the subject.’ – –Dr James Davies, Reader in Social Anthropology & Mental Health, University of Roehampton, and author of Cracked: why psychiatry is doing more harm than good.