'Poignant and lyrical...Slater's experience makes her a convincing travel guide into the history, creation and future of psychotropics.' – The New York Times Book Review
A groundbreaking and revelatory story of the psychotropic drugs that have shaped our minds and our reality.
As our approach to mental illness has oscillated from biological to psychoanalytical and back again, so have our treatments. With the rise of psychopharmacology, an ever-increasing number of people throughout the globe are taking a psychotropic drug, yet nearly seventy years after doctors first began prescribing them, we still don’t really know exactly how or why they work – or don’t work – on what ails our brains.
In The Drugs that Changed Our Minds, Lauren Slater offers an explosive account not just of the science but of the people – inventors, detractors and consumers – behind our narcotics, from the earliest, Thorazine and Lithium, up through Prozac, Ecstasy, 'magic mushrooms', the most cutting-edge memory drugs and neural implants. In so doing, she narrates the history of psychiatry itself and illuminates the signature its colourful little capsules have left on millions of brains worldwide, and how these wonder drugs may heal us or hurt us.
Praise for the book:
'A powerful new book' - The Daily Mail
'The messy history and brave future of psychotropic drugs' – O Magazine
'Vivid and thought-provoking' – Harper's Magazine
'Ambitious...Slater's depictions of madness are terrifying and fascinating' – USA Today
'Vigorous research and intimate reflection…highly compelling' – Kirkus
'A profound and essential look at a phenomenon of our times. Meticulously researched, The Drugs That Changed Our Minds is also a deeply moving personal investigation into the drugs so many of us rely upon for our survival. Slater is much more than a trusted guide: she’s a brave and eloquent companion who doesn’t shy away from controversy. You’ll be talking and thinking about The Drugs That Changed Our Minds long after you’ve read it.'
– Terri Cheney, author of the New York Times bestseller Manic
'In this ambitious undertaking, psychologist Slater applies vigorous research and intimate reflection to the issues involved with treating mental suffering...highly compelling'
'Weaving together the history of psychopharmacology and her personal experience as a patient, Slater offers readers a candid and compelling glimpse at life on psychiatric drugs and the science behind them. Intriguing and instructive.'
'Psychologist Slater runs through the checkered history of psychopharmacology and mental illness treatments while sharing her own battle with depression and medication in this ambitious work . . . Slater offers many insights here, and her moving personal story truly illuminates the triumphs and shortcomings of psychotropic drugs.'
– Publishers Weekly
'Slater, a writer and psychologist, takes a skeptical yet compassionate approach to the history of Psychopharmacology…the result is a vivid and thought-provoking synthesis'
– Lidija Haas, Harper’s Magazine
'the messy history and brave future of psychotropic drugs...Slater sifts through the remedies one in five Americans relies on but knows little about – even breaking into an abandoned asylum in her quest'
– O Magazine
'A capacious and rigorous history...The real strength of this book comes from Slater’s very particular position. She is patient and psychologist, part of the first wave of people who were prescribed Prozac in the 1980s.'
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