The Creation of Psychopharmacology

The Creation of Psychopharmacology

4.1 (37 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 2 business days
When will my order arrive?


David Healy follows his widely praised study, The Antidepressant Era, with an even more ambitious and dramatic story: the discovery and development of antipsychotic medication. Healy argues that the discovery of chlorpromazine (more generally known as Thorazine) is as significant in the history of medicine as the discovery of penicillin, reminding readers of the worldwide prevalence of insanity within living memory.

But Healy tells not of the triumph of science but of a stream of fruitful accidents, of technological discovery leading neuroscientific research, of fierce professional competition and the backlash of the antipsychiatry movement of the 1960s. A chemical treatment was developed for one purpose, and as long as some theoretical rationale could be found, doctors administered it to the insane patients in their care to see if it would help. Sometimes it did, dramatically. Why these treatments worked, Healy argues provocatively, was, and often still is, a mystery. Nonetheless, such discoveries made and unmade academic reputations and inspired intense politicking for the Nobel Prize.

Once pharmaceutical companies recognized the commercial potential of antipsychotic medications, financial as well as clinical pressures drove the development of ever more aggressively marketed medications. With verve and immense learning, Healy tells a story with surprising implications in a book that will become the leading scholarly work on its compelling subject.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 480 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 29mm | 585.13g
  • Cambridge, Mass, United States
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • None
  • 0674015991
  • 9780674015999
  • 803,597

Table of contents

Introduction 1. Strangers in a Strange Land 2. The Doctoring of Madness before Chlorpromazine 3. Explorations in a New World 4. Psychiatry outside the Walls 5. Twisted Thoughts and Twisted Molecules 6. Positive and Negative 7. The Sorcerer's Apprentice 8. Democracy Notes Acknowledgments Index
show more

Review quote

[T]his sweeping history of medicine used to treat mental illness takes on the psychiatric and medical establishment...Healy does groundbreaking work...The Creation of Psychopharmacology details how psychiatric medication intersects with academic squabbles and popular culture. -- Janice Paskey Chronicle of Higher Education 20020125 David Healy is a respected historian of psychiatry who has written a book that should spark a major debate. He identifies current trends towards the abandonment of independent research into treatments for mental illness, the demand for Randomised Control Trials as the only acceptable measure of whether a treatment works, and the chilling control pharmaceutical companies now exert over psychiatry...This is an important and thought-provoking book...Healy's warning that, without a debate, we may be moving into an era when cosmetic psychiatry will be the new liposuction is worth heeding. -- Julie Wheelwright The Independent 20020507 This book is a good place to start if you want to get an overview of the role of drugs in the treatment of mental illness...[Healy] capture[s] an important current dilemma. -- Richard Restak Washington Times 20020325 Psychiatrists and historians owe a debt to David Healy. Over the years he has conducted interviews with all the leading figures in psychopharmacology...Drawing on these interviews and his wide reading of the scholarly literature, Healy has now constructed a subtle and compelling narrative of the development of psychotropic drugs...Healy ambitiously relates the emergence of drugs to the wider culture and shows how the two have interacted...[He] has written a highly stimulating and original book, which is brimful of ideas and deserves to be read and debated throughout the psychiatric community and beyond. -- Allan Beveridge British Journal of Psychiatry 20030201 [N]o one has described it more thoroughly, or elucidated the critical intersections between psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry more clearly. -- Morgan T. Sammons Contemporary Psychology 20040401
show more

About David Healy

David Healy is Reader in Psychological Medicine at North Wales Clinical School and a former Secretary of the British Association for Psychopharmacology.
show more

Rating details

37 ratings
4.1 out of 5 stars
5 35% (13)
4 49% (18)
3 11% (4)
2 3% (1)
1 3% (1)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X