Toxic Psychiatry: Why Therapy, Empathy and Love Must Replace the Drugs

by Peter Breggin (Author)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal
Breggin, director of the Center for the Study of Psychiatry and author of Psychi
atric Drugs: Hazards to the Brain (Springer Pub., 1983), describes his latest
book as "the culmination of a lifetime of scientific, educational, and reform
work." Breggin is anything but dispassionate: the "new psychiatry," he claims,
is a return to the bad old days when a person enduring a "psychospiritual
crisis" (a term Breggin favors over "mental illness") might be sent to a state
hospital, where he or she would receive treatment that was degrading and
harmful. Nowadays, he says, psychiatrists are in thrall to the pharmaceutical
industry; they have lost or never learned the art of the loving, caring,
humanistic "talking cure," and are doing more harm than good. Written in an
anecdotal style, with case examples, a hefty notes section, and supportive
evidence from various sources for his point of view, the book is best suited for
the sophisticated general reader. Psychotherapy Book Club selection.

From Kirkus Reviews
A psychiatric reformer takes aim and blasts away with both barrels. Breggin
(author of the novels The Crazy from the Sane, 1971, and After the Good War,
1972) launches a full-scale attack on the popular view that neuroses and
psychoses are diseases with biochemical and genetic causes best treated by
drugs--even by electroshock and incarceration. He advocates not pills but
psychotherapy, which ideally provides a ``caring, understanding
relationship--made safe by professional ethics and restraint.'' Treating mental
disorders as chemical imbalances to be corrected primarily by chemical
intervention is, he claims, an outrageous hazard to health, damaging the brains
of a high percentage of those subjected to it. Breggin notes that the medical
training of today's biopsychiatrists ill-equips them for any other approach:
They are taught to make diagnoses and prescribe medical treatments; their
communication skills are undeveloped, and they know little about the art of
listening to patients' problems. Their penchant for prescribing drugs, according
to Breggin, is encouraged by a too-cozy relationship between the medical
profession and the pharmaceutical industry, which generously funds research into
the biochemical and genetic basis of mental disorders, and whose claims for its
products are insufficiently scrutinized by either the FDA or the medical
profession. Breggin also has harsh words for health insurers that reimburse for
drugs and psychiatric hospitalization but not for psychotherapy and social
rehabilitation; coming under fire as well are schoolteachers who seek chemical
solutions to classroom discipline problems, and parents who are unwilling to
accept any blame for the psychological problems of their children. Although
Breggin's preference for nonmedical intervention is clear, he remains skeptical
about much of what's available today, warning that ``the buyer of psychotherapy
must be extremely cautious.'' A one-sided but forceful caveat emptor for anyone
seeking mental-health services.

Product Details

Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1 edition (August 15, 1994)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0312113668



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