The Myth of the Chemical Cure – Joanna Moncrieff – #antidepressant #neuroleptic #moodstabilizer

The Myth of the Chemical CureJoanna Moncrieff

By Joanna Moncrieff 2008

Review and thoughts on the revised edition 2009

You may have wondered: How effective are psychiatric drugs?

After reading this excellent 300 page Critique of Psychiatric Drug Treatment I know the answer depends on what we mean by effective. Dr Moncrieff explains most of the psychiatric drugs are effective sedatives, yet psychiatric drugs are not resolving any specific mental health disorders. This matches the findings of every psychiatrist taking a look at the evidence.

This soundly researched book takes us through how psychiatric drugs came into use, the hopes for each drug, what the drugs are claimed to do and what the drugs really do.

Chemical imbalances may exist for reasons such as poor nutrition, but there is no evidence of the imbalances being linked to particular diagnoses or that these can be corrected by the use of psychiatric drugs. In contrast, there is evidence of the drugs creating imbalances and users becoming more unwell.

For me, the central theme of this book is whether:

a)      Psychiatric drugs are simply mood altering, addictive drugs with similar effects and outcomes for users as illegal street drugs. This is the ‘drug-centered model’ believed by most professionals and the public up until about the 1960’s.


b)      The disease-centered model populararized by the promotion of ‘new’ drugs marketed with descriptions of what the drug companies hoped the drugs would do.

The drug company (‘big pharma’) records show that (a) is true. The drug names were based on hopes and not on science. None of the drugs were ever proved to have specific anti-depressant, anti-psychotic or mood stabilizing properties. Governments and the public so much wanted to hear about new ways of treating mental illness that improbable stories of social and relationship problems being solved by using new expensive drugs were accepted as true.

The sad reality is that each drug brings with it a set of health risks, described as side-effects. As Dr Moncrieff explains, these are simply effects that occur to some extent for everyone who uses drugs that sedate and gradually change our biochemistry.

If you are on sedative drugs at this time this book is going to be a huge challenge with its attention to detail, with (it seems to me) ‘no stone left unturned’.

The use of psychiatric drugs is now so widespread every healthcare worker needs to know of the short-term and long-term effects. If you are working anywhere in health services or have relatives taking psychiatric drugs then this book is essential reading.

Highly recommended.

Available from:

[Amazon in UK]  [Amazon in USA] [More on Dr J. Moncrieff]

About Roger Smith (in the UK)
Helping you to think about bipolar disorder in different ways so that we can eliminate the disorder and eventually eliminate the need for this diagnosis.

2 Responses to The Myth of the Chemical Cure – Joanna Moncrieff – #antidepressant #neuroleptic #moodstabilizer

  1. Pingback: #Antipsychotics – Long term effects #Electroboy | Rethinking Bipolar

  2. Pingback: Lithium and Age: Talk to your doctor. He/she needs to know. | Rethinking Bipolar

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: