About the Book Anatomy of an Epidemic

The book "Anatomy of an Epidemic" delves into a perplexing medical enigma: what is the reason behind the substantial increase in the number of individuals, both adults and children, who have become disabled due to mental illness in the last fifty years? Presently, over four million Americans receive government disability benefits for mental health issues, and this figure is steadily rising. Each day, 850 adults and 250 children who suffer from mental illness join the government's disability list. This begs the question of what is happening.

The Mystery

It's often said that the modern era of psychiatry commenced with the incorporation of Thorazine into asylum medicine back in 1955. This led to what we call the "psychopharmacological revolution," where psychiatry purportedly discovered efficacious drugs for treating various mental disorders. In 1988, the first of the "second-generation" psychiatric drugs, Prozac, emerged, and these new medications were deemed another therapeutic breakthrough. Nevertheless, despite this "psychopharmacological revolution" that has unfolded over the past 50 years, the number of individuals disabled by mental illness has skyrocketed.

In 1955, there were 355,000 adults in state and county mental hospitals diagnosed with psychiatric conditions.Over the following thirty years, which were identified as the period of first-generation psychiatric medications, the count of individuals who were mentally ill and disabled surged to 1.25 million. Prozac entered the market in 1988, and over the next two decades, the number of mentally ill disabled individuals surged to more than four million adults by 2007. Moreover, the prescribing of psychiatric drugs to children and teenagers became prevalent during this era (1987-2007). Consequently, the number of youths in the United States receiving government disability benefits for mental illness surged from 16,200 in 1987 to 561,569 in 2007 (a 35-fold increase).

Anatomy of an Epidemic

The Investigation

The significant rise in disability cases over the last half-century begs a straightforward query: Could the rampant use of psychiatric drugs be contributing to this epidemic, for whatever reason? The book of Robert Whitaker "Anatomy of an Epidemic" delves into this matter by concentrating on long-term outcome studies found in the research literature. Do these studies illustrate a care paradigm that aids individuals in recovering and maintaining wellness over an extended period? Alternatively, do they illustrate a care paradigm that increases the probability of those diagnosed with mental disorders becoming chronically unwell?

R. Whitaker, the acclaimed author of "Anatomy of an Epidemic," has written another fascinating book titled "On The Laps of Gods." This book explores the intersection of madness and creativity, and the impact of mental illness on the lives and works of some of history's most renowned artists and thinkers. Through insightful analysis and vivid storytelling, Whitaker presents a compelling case for rethinking our cultural attitudes towards mental illness. Visit our site for Book Reviews Robert Whitaker works, including "Anatomy of an Epidemic".