This book was written by Dr. Peter Breggin. He is a Psychiatrist (Medical Doctor) and the International Director of the Center for Study of Psychiatry and Psychology. Dr. Breggin is a secular Psychiatrist and this book is written in secular terms. I do not agree with some of his findings as far as religion, etc..., however, his examination of the antidepressant drugs being prescribed in ever increasing numbers is excellent.
Below are quotes from this book. I am including them because I think they explain better than I can why this book should be read by anyone who is now or has been told they need to take psychiatric drugs.
This book aims, above all else, to encourage a healthy skepticism toward the claims made for antidepressant drugs. (page 2)
It is a mistake to view depressed feelings or even severely depressed feelings as a "disease." Depression, remember, is an emotional response to life. (page 16)
Depression is never defined by an objective physical finding, such as a blood test or brain scan. It is defined by the individual's personal suffering and especially by the depressed thoughts and feelings that the person expresses. In other words, if a person has depressed thoughts and feelings, the diagnosis of depression is made. Based on that alone, it makes little sense to view depressed feelings, or the emotional state of depression, as a disease or disorder. (page 18)
In reality, science does not have the ability to measure the levels of any biochemical in the tiny spaces between nerve cells (the synapses) in the brain of a human being. All the talk about biochemical imbalances is sheer speculation aimed at promoting psychiatric drugs. (page 21)
It can become nearly impossible to rise out of depression on one's own-to "pull yourself up by your bootstraps." At times of great despair, people need people. A caring therapist, a loved one, or a devoted community such as an extended family or church can be lifesaving. But when a doctor spends fifteen minutes with his patient and prescribes a drug, the sense of aloneness and isolation is likely to be reinforced. (page 25)
Overall, an immense variety of painful and harmful effects are caused by the SSRIs [antidepressant drugs, i.e. Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, Luvox, BuSpar Effexor, etc...] But in my experience, three different kinds of effects are particularly harmful: (1) mania, psychosis, and other extreme mental and behavioral reactions; (2) sexual dysfunction; and (3) withdrawal problems when trying to stop the SSRIs. (page 61)
The huge economic resources of the psychopharmaceutical industry, the might of the federal government, and the authority of the medical profession back this biochemical model of depression. However, might has never made right, and there's little or no evidence for this biological viewpoint. Even biologically oriented textbooks of psychiatry end up admitting that there's no convincing proof that depression or manic-depression (bipolar) disorder is genetic or physical in origin. A "scientific breakthrough" is always imminent but somehow never materializes. (page 135)
In fact, new research has shown that exercise is at least as good as SSRI antidepressants in treating depression and has more lasting effects antidepressants when the patients are evaluated after ten months. (page 143)
Before reading this and several other books I was reluctant to tell people they should not take these drugs, but now I feel much more confident in telling people they don't need the drugs to three their depression. One word of caution however, is needed. If you are already taking medications, don't just stop. You need to be tapered off slowly so that you don't have adverse reactions.