This book, written by psychiatrist Dr. William Glasser, exposes the field of psychopharmacology, and how it is replacing the role that psychotherapy used to play. The book explains how, while psychiatric drugs can be helpful in the short-term, they can have detrimental long-term effects and often only mask a problem that can be fixed through therapeutic means.
Dr. Glasser touches upon Choice Theory in the book, which he developed himself. The basic gist of the theory is that we all have choices to make, and understanding these choices is what liberates us from the grips of unhappiness. Most mental illnesses, according to Dr. Glasser, are an expression of one’s own unhappiness. While choosing to lift oneself out of unhappiness is a difficult thing to do, long-term psychiatric drugs such as Ritalin, Zoloft and Prosac often are not the answer, and in many cases can make things worse.
Below are a few more concepts that Warning: Psychiatry Can Be Hazardous to Your Mental Health touches upon:
- Lack of mental health can lead to physical symptoms as well that will resolve themselves upon healing of one’s mental health.
- It’s our desire to control others that leads to unhappiness, and once we learn to let go of this need for control, mental health improves.
- Often, psychiatrists cannot tell the difference between a transformational breakthrough (which is a temporary dramatic experience that one needs to go through for a positive outcome) and an emotional breakdown. Because of this, many patients end up on psychiatric medications they don’t need.
One of the main solutions for improved mental health without psychotropic drugs that Dr. Glasser advocates for in the book is group therapy and connection with others. But the book goes much further than just recommending counseling. Since the majority of people with symptoms can’t afford or wont accept counseling, the book teaches how you can, by yourself or with your family’s help, improve your own mental health at no cost and at no risk to yourself.
About the Author
Willam Glasser, M.D., is a world-renowned psychiatrist who is president of the William Glassner Institute in Los Angeles, which he founded in 1967. He graduated from Case Western Reserve University with his M.D. in 1953 and became board certified in 1961. Dr. Glasser worked as a private practice psychiatrist from 1956 to 1986. He has written quite a few other books, which include Choice Theory, Reality Therapy, The Quality School, and Getting Together and Staying Together.
“Swimming against what he sees as the tide of prescriptions written for antidepressants such as Paxil, Zoloft and Prozac, psychiatrist Glasser (Choice Theory) argues that these drugs can do more harm than good. He asserts that there has been some scientifically sound psychiatric research that suggests the drugs can damage mental health and even the brain itself. Through selective case studies and extrapolation of evidence, the author urges readers to think twice before accepting “brain drugs”; he states that the effectiveness of certain selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors has been exaggerated by the drug companies. To his credit, Glasser does offer several practical alternatives for patients. But he seems to cherish his outsider status and questions the way psychiatry is practiced today. Group therapy transcripts and case studies constitute the bulk of his case, and chapters like ‘Luck, Intimacy, and Our Quality World’ and ‘We Have Learned to Destroy Our Own Happiness’ are designed to help the reader understand symptoms. Some of the anecdotes are compelling, and individuals seeking alternatives to drug treatments may benefit.” Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.