About this book
- The book makes a major practical contribution to the debate about DSM5, drawing upon history in order to determine which diagnoses have rock-solid credibility and which appear more fads and fancies.
- The author is intimately familiar with sources in the history of psychiatry in four major languages and has an unequalled knowledge of the great river of psychiatry's past.
- The book will continue to be relevant in the ongoing debate about DSM5 for years and decades to come.
This book argues that psychiatry's love affair with the diagnosis of depression has become a death grip. Depression is a real illness, especially in its melancholic form. But most patients who get the diagnosis of 'depression' are also anxious, fatigued, unable to sleep, have all kinds of physical symptoms, and tend to obsess about the whole thing. They do not have a disorder of 'mood'. It is a travesty to call them all 'depressed.' How did this happen? How did everyone become depressed?
A well-known historian, the author describes how in the 19th century patients with those symptoms were considered 'nervous,' and when they lost control it was a 'nervous breakdown.' Then psychiatry turned its back on the whole concept of nerves, and - first under the influence of Freud's psychoanalysis and then the influence of the pharmaceutical industry - the diagnosis of depression took center stage. The result has been a scientific disaster, leading to the misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment (with antidepressants) of millions of patients. Urging that the diagnosis of depression be re-thought, the book turns a dramatic page in the understanding of psychiatric symptoms that are as common as the common cold.
The book makes an immediate contribution to the debate about DSM5, which is
due to be released very soon, in terms of discussing the diagnosis of depression.
The author controversially proposes replacing the diagnosis of 'major depression'
with 'melancholia' and 'nonmelancholia'; he argues that depression and anxiety
usually occur together and are really the same disease; and he says that patients
with so-called mood disorders really have a disorder of the entire body.
The author's ability to make use of the enormous well of psychiatry's past history in several languages make this a unique book that contributes to the important discussions today of diagnosis and treatment.
Readership: Psychiatrists, health care professionals, those interested in the history of medicine and psychiatry, and students of medicine.
Table of contents
Chapter 1 Introduction
Chapter 2 Nerves as a Problem
Chapter 3 Rise of Nervous Illness
Chapter 4 Fatigue
Chapter 5 Anxiety
Chapter 6 Melancholia
Chapter 7 Nervous Breakdown
Chapter 8 Paradigm Shift
Chapter 9 Something Wrong With the Label
Chapter 10 Drugs
Chapter 11 Return of the Two Depressions
Chapter 12 Nerves Redux
Chapter 13 Context