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Comparing and Contrasting Rosenthal’s Text (Drugs, Mind, Body, and Society) and Whitaker’s Anatomy of an Epidemic

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Whitaker does not discount cultural factors that may have something to do with this dramatic increase in mental illness disability

However, he discovered that the most scientifically identifiable factor for the increase of severe psychiatric problems is the increase in psychiatric drug use.

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Written in a contemporary and accessible voice, Drugs: Mind, Body, and Society offers more than knowledge and study skills

It is a multidisciplinary text that provides students with a comprehensive discussion about drugs and drug effects that weaves together physiology, neuroscience, pharmacology, psychology, society, culture, media, history, law, and religion. With an emphasis on critical thinking skills, this book teaches students to evaluate research, assess sources of data, and discern fact from opinion, so that they can make intelligent decisions that improve the quality of their lives.

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Similar to Chief at the end of Next to Normal, Diana breaks free and goes off on her own, walking away from her family (at least for the time being). For me interesting parallels emerged between Chief and Diana and the representation of mental health (care) in America. In particular, neither individual perceives their “self” as mentally ill. Chief is a victim of institutional racism and clearly is sane. For Diana the question is less clear-cut, her symptoms and moods allow for functional and less functional days. Nonetheless, these characters and the fictional worlds they inhabit direct our attention towards pathologies that have changed little over the last forty years

They point us away from the inner pathology of the mentally ill person and towards outer pathologies; the sickness of society, institutions, experts, caregivers, and even psychotropic medication itself – the pharmakon of efficacy/toxicity.

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Overall, I found Whitaker’s book extremely thoughtprovoking. His case is based on circumstantial evidence, because this is the only kind of evidence we have

He shows that a large amount of such evidence is consistent with the long–term exacerbation of mental illness by psy- 115 chiatric medications. It is a “connecting-the-dots” kind of argument, and could of course be mistaken

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Mortensen PB. The occurrence of cancer in first admitted schizophrenic patients. Schizophr Res. 1994 Jun;12(3):185-94.

Ravenholt RT, Foege WH. 1918 influenza, encephalitis lethargica, parkinsonism. Lancet. 1982 Oct 16;2(8303):860-4.

Seeman P. Schizophrenia model of elevated D2High receptors: haloperidol reverses the amphetamine-induced elevation in dopamine D2High. Schizophr Res. 2009 Apr;109(1-3):191-2. Epub 2009 Jan 25.

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