Artificial Happiness: The Dark Side of the New Happy Class

by Ronald W. Dworkin (Author)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly
In this impassioned but hard-to-swallow treatise, Dworkin, an M.D. and senior
fellow at the Hudson Institute, laments the rise among primary care physicians
of the "ideology" that "unhappiness [is] a disease" to be treated with "external
cures" from psychotropic drugs to "obsessive" exercise. This view, he argues,
has led doctors to push antidepressants onto patients at an explosive rate.
Dworkin argues that primary care doctors initiated and conquered a turf war with
psychiatrists in which antidepressants are their main source of power. The
author shows how placebo science, the desire for happy patients and a desire for
more personal doctoring led to a rise in dubiously beneficial alternative health
practices. He belittles the 1980s buzzword "stress" with its accompanying surge
of mind-body activities and denigrates the moral deficit he perceives to be
underlying a widespread obsession with fitness culture. He also argues that
"many Americans are only superficially religious, outwardly professing belief in
God while crossing over to medicine for help when life grows really difficult."
Dworkin's thesis is provocative but its sweeping claims, heavy reliance on the
term "ideology" to describe doctors' motivations and his confrontational
approach undermine the book's power to persuade.

From Booklist
Anesthesiologist and political philosopher Dworkin believes the American public
may be headed straight to hell in a psychopharmaceutical handbasket. Drawing
together numerous threads of medical occurrence and social change during the
last half-century, he weaves a tapestry that portends disaster as millions of
children are treated with mood- and thought-altering drugs before they can
develop personal moral compasses. It's one thing for adults to pop pills to feel
better about issues they feel powerless to alter, he says, and quite another to
medicate youngsters rather than teach them how to effect positive change in
their lives. He lays basic responsibility for the problem at the feet of
primary-care physicians and a de facto mental-health system in which they,
rather than psychiatrists, are treating roughly half the nation's mentally ill
and medicating for mental illness at more than double the rate that
psychiatrists do. But not only psychotropic drugs are implicated. Add
alternative medicine and the fitness revolution, and the picture painted by
Dworkin's thoughtful evaluation darkens further.

Product Details

Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Carroll & Graf (April 27, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0786719338



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