Before Prozac by Edward Shorter
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Before Prozac
By Edward Shorter

Before Prozac

The Troubled History of Mood Disorders in Psychiatry

By (author) See other recent books by Edward Shorter
Format: Hardback

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Before Prozac by Edward Shorter

Book Description

Psychiatry today is a barren tundra, writes medical historian Edward Shorter, where drugs that don't work are used to treat diseases that don't exist. In this provocative volume, Shorter illuminates this dismal landscape, in a revealing account of why psychiatry is "losing ground" in the struggle to treat depression. Naturally, the book looks at such culprits as the pharmaceutical industry, which is not inclined to market drugs once the patent expires, leading to the endless introduction of new-but not necessarily better-drugs. But the heart of the book focuses on an unexpected villain: the FDA, the very agency charged with ensuring drug safety and effectiveness. Shorter describes how the FDA permits companies to test new products only against placebo. If you can beat sugar pills, you get your drug licensed, whether or not it is actually better than (or even as good as) current medications, thus sweeping from the shelves drugs that may be superior but have lost patent protection. The book also examines the FDA's early power struggles against the drug industry, an influence-grab that had little to do with science, and which left barbiturates, opiates, and amphetamines all underprescribed, despite the fact that under careful supervision they are better at treating depression, with fewer side effects, than the newer drugs in the Prozac family. Shorter also castigates academia, showing how two forms of depression, melancholia and nonmelancholia-"as different from each other as chalk and cheese"-became squeezed into one dubious classification, major depression, which was essentially a political artifact born of academic infighting. An astonishing and troubling look at modern psychiatry, Losing Ground is a book that is sure to spark controversy for years to come.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780195368741
ISBN-10: 0195368746
Format: Hardback
(244mm x 160mm x 21mm)
Pages: 320
Imprint: Oxford University Press Inc
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Publish Date: 6-Nov-2008
Country of Publication: United States

Books By Author Edward Shorter

Psychotic Depression by Edward Shorter Psychotic Depression, Paperback (August 2012)

This book focuses on all facets of the psychotic depression, from clinical history to coverage of diagnostic and treatment protocols.

Endocrine Psychiatry by Edward Shorter Endocrine Psychiatry, Hardback (May 2010)

Melancholia, a severe form of depression, has stumped generations of clinicians. In the mid twentieth century it was connected to dysfunctions between the brain and the endocrine system. The authors trace the rise and fall of endocrine psychiatry from 1900 to the present in an effort to solve the mystery of melancholia.

» View all books by Edward Shorter


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Author Biography - Edward Shorter

Edward Shorter is Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine and Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto.

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