read online pdf Mad In America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally IllAuthor Robert Whitaker –

Although I consider myself fairly aware of the horrific historic and current state of mental health treatment in America, this book still left me shocked beyond words I tried to tell myself that the abuse described in the text was and is born from a lack of understanding about how to engage with and treat this population Yet, I could not keep myself from questioning how a society can act with so little compassion This text is a reminder that when we are angry about something, it is our job not only to speak out, but to take action and begin working toward change. This book was referenced by the author of Shutter Island It tells the history of mental treatment in America from the Quakers who tried to cure madness with gentle treatment to the drugs prescribed today Some of it is frightening and terrible Towards the end the author focused solely on schizophrenia and the drugs used to treat it I would have found it interesting if other psychiatric issues were addressed, but perhaps they re too many to mention The author feels there is a vast conspiracy between pharmaceutical manufacturers and psychiatrists to keep the mental population medicated He does offer evidence to support his view I don t doubt there were and continue to be abuses of drugs I think I would have found his information believable if he hadn t painted both doctor and chemists so completely evil. In Mad In America, Medical Journalist Robert Whitaker Reveals An Astounding Truth Schizophrenics In The United States Currently Fare Worse Than Patients In The World S Poorest Countries, And Quite Possibly Worse Than Asylum Patients Did In The Early Nineteenth Century With A Muckraker S Passion, Whitaker Argues That Modern Treatments For The Severely Mentally Ill Are Just Old Medicine In New Bottles, And That We As A Society Are Deeply Deluded About Their Efficacy Tracing Over Three Centuries Of Cures For Madness, Whitaker Shows How Medical Therapies Have Been Used To Silence Patients And Dull Their Minds He Tells Of The Eighteenth And Nineteenth Century Practices Of Spinning The Insane, Extracting Their Teeth, Ovaries, And Intestines, And Submerging Patients In Freezing Water The Cures In The S And S Were No Less Barbaric As Eugenic Attitudes Toward The Mentally Ill Led To Brain Damaging Lobotomies And Electroshock Therapy Perhaps Whitaker S Most Damning Revelation, However, Is His Report Of How Drug Companies In The S And S Skewed Their Studies In An Effort To Prove The Effectiveness Of Their Products Based On Exhaustive Research Culled From Old Patient Medical Records, Historical Accounts, Numerous Interviews, And Hundreds Of Government Documents, Mad In America Raises Important Questions About Our Obligations To The Mad, What It Means To Be Insane, And What We Value Most About The Human Mind There are so many things that I could say about this book, but I will simply say this Just read it And after you read it, watch the film Food Inc for good measure. I read this thanks to an uncle suffering not only from bi polar disorder, but also from the effects of many years of taking the various drugs associated with relief of his symptoms This was a great, albeit heartbreaking, story of how the mentally ill have been treated throughout history, the rise of the medical profession and psychiatry s place in that profession, and the rise of the pharmaceutical juggernaut When I see my uncle, I see someone who fell into a trap of looking for a miracle cure to resolve his behavioral problems Now he is overweight, diabetic, and totally lacking in the motivation to take control of his own life He goes in and out of the hospital due to falls and car crashes His marriage was unsustainable due to his behaviors Some of this is just the way he is, but some of it may be due to the medicines that he s taken over the years Unfortunately the book gives me no confidence in our government or our medical community to put the patient ahead of personal greed Sigh. A very interesting and shocking account of how psychiatry, specifically the treatment of schizophrenia has changed over the years This is a very important book about how the limitations in science and how the society has contributed to the mistreatment of the mentally ill.Horrifying was the treatment of the mentally ill back in the day Bleeding to the point of fainting induced vomiting swinging chairs bath of surprise drowning to the point of near death removal of the uterus, ovaries and intestines tooth extraction hydrotherapy induced malaria electric shock therapy insulin coma therapy metrazol convulsive therapy frontal lobotomy were all used to treat mental illnesses Even the medical therapy with its many adverse effects is far from perfect The eugenics chapter was particularly horrifying to read about The mentally ill were seen as unfit to breed, segregated and sterilized in Germany even killed Mental illness was seen to be especially common among immigrants and the lower class They were seen as waste contributing defective genes to the society And it was not just the mentally ill that were ill treated, even the black slave harboring any thought for freedom or someone having a dissenting political opinion was said to be insane I found the book to be a bit biased against the medical therapy and there was some repetition as the author was trying to stress the point he was trying to bring across I really wish he had written about the other mental illnesses as well and something positive, perhaps what the developing countries were doing right Are the medications when given in a low dose effective and what about when weaned off the medications Did the benefits far outweigh the adverse effects What of ECT used today All in all it was a very interesting read. I am not sure how to rate this book honestly The author did very well at putting this book together However, I am not sure if I should like the book because I did not enjoy reading about the horrific treatment of people with mental illness But I am grateful to have this knowledge about how these people were treated It upsets me about what these people were put through, but on the other hand I am contemplating on whether or not I believe it was necessary in order to get to where we are today with the mental health system The mental health system is MUCH different now, but there are still a lot of issues with it still I guess I will give it three stars The book was good, but the information was almost incomprehensible. This work contains plenty of interesting facts about the advancements in the treatment of schizophrenics in particular in the U.S health care system That being said, the eventual condition of an all encompassing system in the world of treatment was for these unfortunate souls a nasty development It was enlightening to read that the treatment methods employed in the 19th century were much closely related to those we now consider most humane and effective The One Flew Over a Cuckoo s Nest era was perhaps the worst 1950 to 1980 Overcrowding due to poor diagnoses, an utter dependence on big pharma zombie pills, and terribly incompetent staffing I love this type of non fiction And now I know all about Thorazine A historical account of how the mentally ill have been treated, with an emphasis on the treatment in America.Rarely does a title describe a book so well The treatment of the mentally ill has been marred by bad science throughout historically plagued with abominable practices such as whipping and bloodletting, even in its golden hour in the 20th century, the mentally ill were being described as a degenerate strain of humanity, social wastage defective germ plasm and in keeping with eugenics, that strangely flawed notion that refuses to go away, America s scientific elite, backed by the U.S Supreme Court, advocated policies that resulted in the mentally ill being prohibited from marrying, forcibly committed to state hospitals and sterilized against their will Society s complicity, even if it was due to the then overwhelming role of newspapers in shaping the public discourse, should not be ignored In 1935, 83 percent of all Californians favored eugenic sterilization of the mentally ill As a consequence, asylums were increasingly run as places of confinement facilities that served to segregate the misfits from society rather than as hospitals that provided medical care With the discovery that brain trauma could lead to altered behavior, another chapter in the saga of bad science and bad medicine began, with efforts made to willfullycause trauma in the form of a litany of treatments such as insulin coma therapy clinically inducing coma by injecting insulin, as many as 60 times in a few weeks Metrazol injections, which, in less than a minute, would make the patient arch into a convulsion so severe it could fracture bones, tear muscles and loosen teeth and electroshock therapy, which gained such widespread acceptance that it continues as a treatment even today All were crude methods, with no control over the region of the brain they affected or the extent to which the brain is traumatized, and yet all accepted heartily by the psychiatric profession as miracle treatments Worse, unfortunately, was to follow, in the form of lobotomy the deliberate inflicting of injury on the frontal lobes of the brain the area that gives us consciousness of the self, that allows us to experience ourselves and to project ourselves into the past, present and future..that allows us to care deeply about who we are and our fate..that stirs creative impulses, ambition, a capacity for love, and spiritual yearnings that makes us uniquely human as a cure for brain disease At its worst, lobotomy s greatest proponent, Walter Freeman would use an ice pick to poke a hole in the bony orbit above each eye and then insert it seven centimeters deep into the brain At that point, he would move behind the patient s head and pull up on the ice pick to destroy the frontal lobe nerve fibers With this new method, Freeman reasoned it wasn t necessary to sterilize the operating field and waste time with that germ crap The use of anesthesia could also be eliminatedTo quicken the process, he would drive picks into both eyes at once, rather than one at a timethereby shaving a few minutes off the operating time The practice was widely adopted across the world, and continued to be used until the 1980 s, despite poor results in one major California hospital, Stockton, twelve percent of the patients died from the surgery, mostly because of bleeding in the brain And even in the best cases, it left the patients incapable of leading fulfilling lives The person who had once painted pictures, written poetry, or composed music was now no longer ashamed to fetch and carry, to wait on tables or make beds or empty cans Why did such inhuman practices continue for so long Because there was bad science too, in judging the efficacy of the treatments For instance, At Winnebago State Hospital in Wisconsin, physicians used an outcomes scale for lobotomy that ranged from no change to slight improvement to being able to go home They didn t even allow for the possibility that patients might become worse Presumably, the situation of the mentally ill was so dire, that no outcome other than a positive one was possible One wonders in what category patients who died following the treatments were placed.The last part of the title emphasizes that the mistreatment of the mentally ill is enduring The current trend in psychiatry is for the prescription of neuroleptics drugs that essentially simulate the effects of prefrontal lobotomy without the surgery and which diminish the possibility that a person, distraught in mind and soul when first treated, could ever return to a healthy, non medicated life drugs such as haloperidol could produce a marked increase in violent behavior, even among those without any history of assault Little could the pulic have suspected that the madman of its nightmares, who kills without warning and for no apparent reason, was not always driven by an evil within but by a popular medication Here too, bad science has again been used in the form of symtom exacerbation experiments wherein a control group of patients is created byabruptlywithdrawing their current medication, which makes them fare worse than the group treated with the new drug.The author makes a long and convincing case of how the nexus of bad science and bad medicine has been forged stronger by a corporate greed for profit and by slack regulation that allows researchers conducting clinical drug trials to be funded by drug companies, thus perpetrating a moral hazard.In most countries, the mentally ill can still be committed to mental institutions without their consent and any rights the law provides them are rendered meaningless through a lack of vigilance and lax implementation The author contends that the outcomes of psychiatric care in the U.S are poorer than in developing countries like India, and this too highlights just how bad the situation everywhere really is for what little care is afforded to the mentally ill in a woefully ill funded public health infrastructure in India is grossly inadequate, and grim stories often come to light about the mistreatment of the mentally ill in the badly regulated private sector Some of the case studies presented in the book illustrate how the line between the sane and the not so sane is increasingly being drawn in a way that penalizes even slight suggestions of idiosyncratic behavior and taken in a broader context, this is a synecdoche of society s demands of conformity if you dress like a punk, put a turban on your head, a veil on your face or a tattoo on your back, you risk being labeled a subversive, your behavior considered deviant.Our ethics and attitudes have changed considerably in the recent past drawing and quartering would today be universally deplored, capital punishment itself is opposed by most, the prevention of cruelty to animals is sought, and yet we display a marked lack of empathy for those of us that like the very young, are the most vulnerable and should deserve it the most By highlighting the plight of those who fight a losing battle against their personal demons, this book does them an enormous service it will likely not make any bestseller lists, but it truly deserves to be widely read. Such an important book, that looks at how we have treated mentally ill folks through the centuries An inside look at psychiatry s dirty secrets, and an exploration of where science, corporate interests drug companies, doctors and the mentally ill individuals intersect and interact Whitaker has been demonized as a heretic for daring to question the efficacy of studies supporting the drugs we are increasingly ingesting and wonders why if they are effective relapse rates increase for those medicated, and why and American s are being diagnosed as mentally ill Much at odds with the APA and the major pharma companies Whitaker asks why it is that those mentally ill in developing countries do better long term than those mentally ill in the developed world do WHO studies Well worth a read, heart breaking, with enough positive side stories that shin a way forward for some, if not all affected.