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A History of Psychiatry: From the Era of the Asylum to the Age of Prozac
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0471245313, Paperback)The history of madness and its treatment is a fascinating one. At one time, the mentally ill were diagnosed as demonically possessed; later, when mental illness became the province of psychoanalysts, those conditions that are actually physical in nature, such as schizophrenia or manic depression, went insufficiently treated, their sufferers consigned to asylums. In his book, A History of Psychiatry, Edward Shorter, a medical historian at the University of Toronto, presents a concise chronology of mental illness and its treatment. Shorter favors a biological understanding of these disorders, concentrating on medical approaches to helping the seriously mentally ill.
(retrieved from Amazon Tue, 08 Jan 2013 03:08:15 -0500)
"With cinematic scope and precision, Shorter shows us the harsh, farcical, and inspiring realities of society's changing attitudes toward its mentally ill and the efforts of generations of scientists and physicians to ease their suffering. He takes us inside the eighteenth-century asylums, with their restraints and beatings, and guides us through the landscaped boulevards of the spas and rest homes where the "nervous disorders" of the Victorian elite were treated with bromides, buttermilk, and kind words. He leads us through the teeming "snake pits" of early twentieth-century public mental hospitals and the gleaming laboratories of today's pharmaceutical cartels." "Writing in the tradition of the best social history, Shorter delineates the major scientific and cultural forces that shaped the development of psychiatry. Along the way, he paints vivid portraits of the leading figures - names such as Esquirol and Pinel, Krafft-Ebing and Kraepelin, Freud and Horney - who peopled the history of psychiatry. He pulls no punches in assessing the roles these men and women played in advancing our understanding of the biological origins of mental illness, or sidetracking psychiatry into pseudoscience, metaphysics, and fanaticism."--BOOK JACKET.
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