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Thu Jul 31, 2014, 11:24 AM

Recommended reading - "Saving normal : an insider's revolt against out-of-control psychiatric

diagnosis, DSM-5, Big Pharma, and the medicalization of ordinary life" by Allen Frances

The author addresses many of the issues that are smoldering debates here on DU. For example, while not up to the vitriol of discussions of breast feeding pit bulls at the Olive Garden, any mention of depression and/or SSRIs is certain to bring out the same points: On one side, a claim that too many people are taking these drugs and that they are ineffective, on the other, testimony that these drugs have saved lives.

The author's has several basis theses:

1. The DSM (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association) has not been used as the editors meant it to be used.

2. Big Pharma has a vested interest in widening the scope of diagnosis in order to sell more drugs.

3. Among other premises, he considers the epidemics of autism and ADHD to be mirages. There are societal incentives to be given these diagnoses, among them, special programs by school districts.

4. Too many people are being diagnosed with clinical depression when they are in fact undergoing appropriate reactions to stressful situations (loss of job, death in family, etc). These people would recover their equilibrium with a little time and counseling, but instead are placed on prescriptions for the rest of their lives. (As a side note - he suggests that this is one reason that SSRIs do not perform any better than placebos in blind tests - Too many people in both groups recover from their depression without intervention because they were misdiagnosed and shouldn't have been included in the trials.)

5. The overuse of legal drugs is killing people and adding costs our health care system.

6. Because so many well people are given a diagnosis, resources are diverted from people who are clinically depressed, who do have ADHD or autism, etc.


The book goes into these arguments and lots more. Many of his observations about Big Pharma apply to all drugs, not just psychotropics. I picked up this book out of curiosity, thinking the author was a crank. Instead I found a series of well thought out arguments supported with extensive foot notes. Agree or disagree with what he has to say, I think he brings new points to the table.

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Reply Recommended reading - "Saving normal : an insider's revolt against out-of-control psychiatric (Original post)
hedgehog Jul 2014 OP
diddlysquat Jul 2014 #1
steve2470 Jul 2014 #3
steve2470 Jul 2014 #2
hedgehog Jul 2014 #4
steve2470 Jul 2014 #5

Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 11:37 AM

1. Link?

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 11:39 AM

2. Allen Frances is one of the heavyweights in the shrink world nt

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Response to steve2470 (Reply #2)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 11:51 AM

4. I found his humility fascinating - he's very willing to describe situations

where he screwed up with a patient or with his own role in the DSM.

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Response to hedgehog (Reply #4)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 11:52 AM

5. yes that's very cool nt

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