Manufacturing Depression: The Secret History of a Modern Disease

Manufacturing Depression: The Secret History of a Modern Disease - Gary    Greenberg Psychotherapist Gary Greenberg presents a fascinating and in-depth look at the history of depression in the United States, and the role that pharmaceutical companies play in the recent rise in diagnosis.As someone who has been in and out of treatment for depression for 15 years, on a range of medications from older tricyclics to the most modern SSRIs, it was interesting for me to see how physicians themselves acknowledge that for the vast majority of patients any improvement on these medications is due to the placebo effect. Further, Greenberg describes efforts on the part of Pharma to keep the most dangerous side effects of the medications (e.g., increased suicidality) out of the media. Greenberg shares his own experiences as a patient in clinical trials, being told that he is dramatically improving on the new med (despite lab tests demonstrating that he was on a placebo). He also writes of actors going into see prescribing psychiatrists with a list of symptoms to relate and requesting a specific med they had seen advertised. In this latter example, well over half of those presenting received exactly the prescription they asked for.Having concluded, with the assistance of my physician, that none of the medications currently on the market would be of assistance to me, I have made it my own task to read as much as I can about depression and see what I can learn. The takeaway message I got from Greenberg's outstanding, personal and entertaining book (which is not to say that it lacks scientific basis; the endnotes section and bibliography are extensive) is that the goal of modern pharmapsychology is to medicate people into conformity and to divorce them from the ability to feel concerns for what is an increasingly disconcerting world. This should disturb anyone, and provides excellent food for thought.(Review based on advance readers copy.)