This June 23, 2011 article by Marcia Angell, a former NEJM editor and a Harvard professor of medicine, is a must-read. Actually, this article is only Part 1, and the second half will come out in two weeks. Angell reviews 3 books on psychiatry, and asks all the right questions:
- Why are half of American defined as having a mental illness at some time in their lives?
- Why have the number of children receiving SSI income for a mental disability increased by a factor of 35 over the past 20 years?
- Why do people believe in the “chemical imbalance” theory of mental disorders when there is no evidence to support it?
- Why are new-generation antipsychotics the top-selling class of drugs in the US?
- What is going on here???
- If the drugs work, shouldn’t the prevalence of mental illness be falling, not rising?
- Why are illnesses that used to be episodic now chronic, never-ending conditions?
- Are our drugs actually making matters worse?