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The Emperor's New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth Hardcover – January 26, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 119 ratings

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Frequently bought together

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  • Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. When he began a new research project on antidepressants and placebos (a "meta-analysis" of a large number of published studies), practicing psychotherapist and research psychologist Kirsch (How Expectancies Shape Experience) was surprised to uncover evidence that inadequate supervision by the FDA had allowed pharmaceutical companies to cherry-pick test results for publication and submission to the feds, suppressing unwanted outcomes; further, apparent evidence of active drugs' effectiveness when compared to placebos could often be attributed to patients correctly guessing which group they were in based on the side effects (or the lack thereof) they had come to expect in conjunction with anti-depressants. When his results were published in early 2008, Kirsch was surprised to find himself and his research the subject of front page newspaper stories, TV and radio coverage, and a vigorous debate in the medical community that continues to this day. Writing with a broad audience in mind, Kirsch expands on this important topic in a lively style with clear, cogent explanations of the science involved, and many examples of the differences between solid and flawed research. The result is a fascinating book with broad implications for science policy.

From Booklist

Recent surveys show almost 30 million Americans taking Prozac, Paxil, and their ilk at a cost of more than $10 billion annually. With decades of persuasive clinical trials and testimonials from patients and physicians attesting to it, such antidepressants’ overall effectiveness has long been deemed indisputable by psychiatrists. Yet according to psychologist Kirsch’s damning expose of pharmaceutical industry greed, that efficacy is entirely due to the placebo effect. Kirsch makes the bulk of his case by reviewing data from dozens of clinical trials dating back to the 1960s, including ones kept hidden by drug companies, which demonstrate that antidepressants work no better than pills that mimic antidepressants’ side effects. Kirsch also dismantles drug company assertions that newer antidepressants, such as serotonin reuptake inhibitors, work by balancing faulty brain chemistry. His contentions have already stirred controversy, including the predictable criticism from Big Pharma. Yet his work is an overdue wake-up call to the psychological professions to begin treating depression with more compassionate methods than expensive pill-popping. --Carl Hays

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Beyond your wildest dreams
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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
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Top international reviews

deryl
5.0 out of 5 stars The Emperor's New Drugs
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 26, 2017
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Mary Middlename
5.0 out of 5 stars A very honest book written by an honest man.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 30, 2015
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Dr. S. Phoenix
5.0 out of 5 stars Myths explained by a true scientist
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 21, 2013
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M. N. Toner
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellently written
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 13, 2014
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JessH
5.0 out of 5 stars Blows the lid off anti depressants
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 18, 2014
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 30, 2013
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Frankwdt
5.0 out of 5 stars Prescription drugs are not the only way!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 24, 2013
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Michael Beligiannis
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it and get blown away
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 30, 2017
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Vivian Callegaro
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! It clarifies all the mangles & tangles of ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 24, 2017
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, well researched and easy to read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 2, 2016
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pHPete7
5.0 out of 5 stars Everybody person taking medication needs to read this book!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 10, 2014
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Michael Sullivan
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 27, 2017
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4.0 out of 5 stars Long overdue
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 5, 2009
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books
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent critique of anti depressants
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 10, 2009
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J. Hoskison
5.0 out of 5 stars A real eye opener
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 22, 2011
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