Taking on the Drug Defenders

Ever since his coruscating book Mad in America was published in 2002, American Robert Whitaker has been a poster boy for the anti-psychiatry movement. In Mad in America (Perseus Books), he argued that the assumption of a physical cause for schizophrenia had given rise to many wrongheaded treatments, from ice-water immersion to today's antipsychotic drugs. These days, the Pulitzer Prize finalist makes a similar case against psychiatry over its approach to the treatment of depression.

No one knows for sure whether serotonin has a role in depression, let alone exactly what that role might be. But many doctors pretend they're...

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