I'll say up front that the writing itself isn't all that good (or at least, that there are a lot of things they could have done much better)-- I feel like the way they write makes them sound more "fringe," I guess, than they really are, but given that I have the personal experience to back up what they're saying, I found the book fascinating.
I learned a lot of things that I would never before have imagined to be true and which are really disturbing, many of them. For instance, let me tell you some things about chemical imbalances in the brain, which are often cited as the cause of depression, anxiety, etc. etc.
Sometime back in January or February when my mom and I were talking to the psychiatrist I was seeing at that point [the evil one], Mom wanted to know whether there were any tests they could do to determine which part of my brain chemistry was the problem-- because I was on a medication that affects serotonin and one that affects dopamine. The psychiatrist told us that no, there was no test to determine that, which seemed pretty reasonable at the time-- after all, anything to do with the brain is going to be complicated.
Well, it turns out that the reason why there's no test to determine which chemicals are imbalanced is that there's no evidence that such an imbalance actually exists at all. Basically, someone had a theory at some point that that was what it was, and ever since then it's just been taken as fact even though no evidence has ever pointed to such a thing's existence.
This pisses me off. Just a little. Because it means that people were messing with my brain chemistry in order to try to correct a problem that never was actually there in the first place. No wonder it didn't turn out well! All right, it pisses me off a lot actually. It pisses me off that my mom was really worried about me and payed for my meds in hopes I would get better, only to have it turn out that she was spending good money to give me things that only made me feel worse.
And it pisses me off that, even given the high incidence of dangerous side effects that drug manufacturers now mention in their advertisements, no doctor I have ever talked to at any point said, "Hm, these don't seem to be working well for you; let's take you off of them." Instead, they all said, "These don't seem to be working well for you, so let's give you more of them." Seriously. Every single doctor, every single time. It's always either "Let's increase your dosage," or "Let's have you start taking this one too." Even the second psychiatrist I talked to, who was much nicer than the first, gave me a combination of drugs that I later found out is known to be a bad mix-- probably going a good way towards explaining how I wound up in the psych ward. He also gave me an antipsychotic without my knowledge (it has also been marketed for other purposes), which upsets me because those have the most dangerous effects of all psychiatric meds. (These were the pills that knocked me out, btw.)
As for evil psychiatrist lady? Another time when I was checking in with her, my mom was explaining to her how badly I had been doing the past few months (because I wasn't in such a good way right then and couldn't explain things well on my own). So she went through this, said how she was really concerned because my meds were only making me worse.
And what did the chick say? She said that it sounded like I shouldn't make any changes to my medication and should just stay on what I was on. I shit you not.
I feel a little pathetic actually, because getting pissed off about this is making me over react and I know it. Like to stupid little things like this, which I found under a pile of stuff in my desk:
See the highlighted part? That is what makes me angry: that people who are probably well-meaning could convince me that I need pills that won't help and could very well harm me. No one ever once actually evaluated whether my meds were helping me. And is getting mad over a silly letter like this that they send to a lot of people pointless? Hell yes, I know it is. Except that I wasted a solid year believing this shit and paying for it. I screwed up two semesters that I won't ever be able to get back now, and while the primary responsibility for that is mine of course, the pills did make me a lot worse off than I would normally have been: I couldn't concentrate, felt really tired all the time. (And these were the things they were supposed to be helping with, of course!) The whole thing just makes me feel used.
Because of that, I really can't bring myself to regret going off them, even though I know I shouldn't have gone off all of them suddenly and it did make me feel really awful. I half-wish I'd read this book when I decided to stop taking my meds because it gives advice on how to make the process a lot easier, but oh well. What's done is done, and there's no way in hell I'll allow it to be repeated.
PS- You know how they always tell you that you have to stay on an antidepressant for 4-6 weeks before it starts to work? No antidepressant has ever been shown to be effective after about the 6-week mark. Trufax.