The Emperor's New Drugs

The Emperor's New Drugs : Exploding the Antidepressant Myth

4.1 (634 ratings by Goodreads)
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Everyone knows that antidepressant drugs are miracles of modern medicine. Professor Irving Kirsch knew this as well as anyone. But, as he discovered during his research, there is a problem with what everyone knows about antidepressant drugs. It isn't true.

How did antidepressant drugs gain their reputation as a magic bullet for depression? And why has it taken so long for the story to become public? Answering these questions takes us to the point where the lines between clinical research and marketing disappear altogether.

Using the Freedom of Information Act, Kirsch accessed clinical trials that were withheld, by drug companies, from the public and from the doctors who prescribe antidepressants. What he found, and what he documents here, promises to bring revolutionary change to the way our society perceives, and consumes, antidepressants.

The Emperor's New Drugs exposes what we have failed to see before: depression is not caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain; antidepressants are significantly more dangerous than other forms of treatment and are only marginally more effective than placebos; and, there are other ways to combat depression, treatments that don't only include the empty promise of the antidepressant prescription.

This is not a book about alternative medicine and its outlandish claims. This is a book about fantasy and wishful thinking in the heart of clinical medicine, about the seductions of myth, and the final stubbornness of facts.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 240 pages
  • 135 x 216 x 18mm | 258g
  • The Bodley Head Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1847920837
  • 9781847920836
  • 29,972

Review Text

A fascinating and disturbing book
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Review quote

A beautifully written, profoundly important book that is sure to shake up the psychiatric establishment and pharmaceutical industry... This book is long overdue and I hope that people will pay attention. Kudos to Dr. Kirsch! -- David D. Burns M.D., author of Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy Irving Kirsch brilliantly documents a grim scandal of regulatory and clinical failures concerning antidepressants but also holds out hope -- David Healy, author of Let Them Eat Prozac: The Unhealthy Relationship Between the Pharmaceutical Industry and Depression A terrific account of how optimism, greed and scientific incompetence have misled us about the nature of depression and the drugs we throw at it -- Druin Burch, author of Taking the Medicine Wide scope, smooth delivery, and mastery of the data * * A fascinating and disturbing book * Literary Review *
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About Irving Kirsch

Irving Kirsch is a lecturer in medicine at the Harvard Medical School and a professor of psychology at Plymouth University, as well as professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Hull, and the University of Connecticut. He has published eight books and numerous scientific articles on placebo effects, antidepressant medication, hypnosis, and suggestion. His work has appeared in Science, Science News, New Scientist, New York Times, Newsweek, and BBC Focus and many other leading magazines, newspapers, and television documentaries.
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Rating details

634 ratings
4.1 out of 5 stars
5 38% (241)
4 39% (246)
3 19% (121)
2 3% (19)
1 1% (7)
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