• A Straight Talking Introduction to Psychiatric Drugs (second edition): The Truth about how they work and how to come off them

A Straight Talking Introduction to Psychiatric Drugs (second edition): The Truth about how they work and how to come off them

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ISBN 9781910919651 (pp.250) - Publishing: 24th September - Order now
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In an era when more people are taking psychiatric drugs than ever before, Joanna Moncrieff’s explosive book challenges the claims for their mythical powers. Drawing on extensive research, she demonstrates that psychiatric drugs do not ‘treat’ or ‘cure’ mental illness by acting on hypothesised chemical imbalances or other abnormalities in the brain. There is no evidence for any of these ideas. Moreover, any relief the drugs may offer from the distress and disturbance of a mental disorder can come at great cost to people’s physical health and their ability to function in day-to-day life. And, once on these drugs, coming off them can be very difficult indeed. This book is a wake-up call to the potential damage we are doing to ourselves by relying on chemical cures for human distress. Its clear, concise explanations will enable people to make a fully informed decision about the benefits and harms of these drugs and whether and how to come off them if they so choose.


1. The place of drug treatment in psychiatry

2. How do psychiatric drugs work?

3. The importance of research

4. Antipsychotic drugs

5. Antidepressants

6. Lithium and other drugs used for bipolar disorder

7. Stimulants

8. Benzodiazepines

9. Withdrawing from psychiatric drugs

10. When might psychiatric drugs be useful?

11. How did we get here and where do we go with it?

‘This is a brilliant book. It offers an incisive, clear and evidence based appraisal of psychiatric drugs, arriving at just the right time to counter the growing controversy and confusion in this area. I could not think of a more respected and credible guide to take us through this tricky terrain. This book should be compulsory reading for anyone working in mental health. I would also recommend it for anyone holding a more personal interest in the subject.’
Dr James Davies, Reader in Social Anthropology & Mental Health, University of Roehampton, and author of Cracked: why psychiatry is doing more harm than good

'There has never been a greater need for calm and reasoned thinking about psychiatric drug use, and, as a practising and open-minded psychiatrist, Joanna is the very best person to provide it. This book brings evidence and rationality to a contentious topic and offers people sound, researchbased information and genuine choice.’
Dr Lucy Johnstone, consultant clinical psychologist, author of A Straight Talking Introduction to Psychiatric Diagnosis and lead co-author of The Power Threat Meaning Framework

Joanna Moncrieff

Joanna Moncrieff is a senior lecturer at University College London and a practising consultant psychiatrist. She has developed a new approach to understanding psychiatric drug treatment, and done research on mechanisms of drug action, subjective responses to drug treatment and methodological problems with research evidence. She has also written about the influence of the pharmaceutical industry, and the history, politics and philosophy of psychiatry more generally. She is one of the founders and the co-chair person of the Critical Psychiatry Network. She is author of The Myth of the Chemical Cure and The Bitterest Pills (Palgrave), A Straight Talking Introduction to Psychiatric Drugs (PCCS Books) and co-editor of De-Medicalising Misery and Demedicalising Misery 2 (Palgrave).

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Joanna Moncrieff