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How Everyone Became Depressed


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Table of Contents

Table of contents Chapter 1 Introduction Chapter 2 Nerves as a Problem Chapter 3 Rise of Nervous Illness Chapter 4 Fatigue Chapter 5 Anxiety Chapter 6 Melancholia Chapter 7 Nervous Breakdown Chapter 8 Paradigm Shift Chapter 9 Something Wrong With the Label Chapter 10 Drugs Chapter 11 Return of the Two Depressions Chapter 12 Nerves Redux Chapter 13 Context

About the Author

Edward Shorter is an internationally-recognized historian of psychiatry and the author of numerous books, including A History of Psychiatry from the Era of the Asylum to the Age of Prozac (1997) and Before Prozac (2009). Shorter is the Jason A. Hannah Professor in the History of Medicine and a Professor of Psychiatry in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto.


"Why are you being told you have depression or anxiety and why are you being given antidepressants or anxiolytics, when in fact you've had a nervous breakdown? The answer lies in the fact that managing nervous breakdowns is a more complex clinical task than just simply giving a pill. There is more than just a simple change of words here, these are words that matter. In eliminating the nervous breakdown, psychiatry has come close to having its own nervous breakdown." -- David Healy, MD, FRCPsych, Author of Pharmageddon, Professor of Psychiatry, University of Cardiff, Wales "In this new survey of "nerves" Shorter recounts the shifting meanings and fashions over the ages concerning breakdowns, crackups, depression, anxiety, stress - what average person's thought ailed them and what the professionals thought. Labels come and go. Classifications come and go. Clear understanding waxes and wanes. Diagnostic boundaries come and go. Treatments come and go. Hard won insights are lost and rediscovered. Shorter brings it all alive with graphic historical and contemporary material. With his polyglot command of the European literature, there is no one better for the task. Through it all, Shorter keeps his focus firmly on the issues that matter to patients. This is a tale for everyone, not just the academics." -- Bernard Carroll, MBBS, PhD, FRCPsych, Pacific Behavioral Research Foundation "Nerves stand at the core of common mental illness, no matter how much we try to forget them. As 'nerves' have jumped from one organ to another, from the hyopochondrium to the stomach, from the heart to the chest, and from the chest to the spleen before finally finishing up in neurowhimsical tangles in the brain, every performance has been applauded and enthused by physicians of all kinds in wild abandon. Science has taken a back seat. It can't be as bad as all that, you may argue, we have made real advances in the last few years. Sorry folks, we ain't, and if you want to see what little distance we have travelled read this book at the same time you read the glossy new DSM-5 Manual when it comes out in May 2013, and decide which is closer to the truth. Shorter exposes and discloses all in this witty and perceptive account of our foibles." -- Peter J. Tyrer, FMedSci, Professor of Community Psychiatry, Imperial College, London "Professor Shorter has written a fascinating, scholarly and helpfully provocative book on 'nerves,' nervous breakdown, anxiety and 'depression.' Shorter strongly emphasizes the role of bodily malfunction in the melancholic vs. the non-melancholic depression debate. Thoroughly and elegantly the reader is guided through centuries of ideas and concepts [and] Shorter's criticism of contemporary views on 'nerves' and 'depression' are sharp, but well-founded. This fine book deserves a wide readership - it should be mandatory reading for all professions working in mental health care." -- Tom G. Bolwig MD, DMSc, Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry, University of Copenhagen, Denmark "Enlivened by literary anecdotes." KIRKUS REVIEWS As featured in the London Times, April 16, 2013 "[Shorter's] point is not to mitigate anyone's experience of depression, no matter how minor. Rather, he aims to underscore psychiatry's shortcomings, to shift the vantage from a narrow view of depression to a wide view of nervous illness and its causes. Shorter's polemical spirit is difficult not to admire." -- Luke Hallum, The Australian "Historians and practitioners of psychiatry, psychology, neuroscience, and many other mental health professions will find this book illuminating, interesting, and challenging at the same time. Despite looming cuts in library and personal budgets, it would be a valuable addition in any departmental or personal library." -- PsycCRITIQUES "Edward Shorter has become the historian of record for psychiatry. This is a fascinating and authoritative look at much recent history, cultural as well as medical. It should be added to every practitioner's library to foster historical perspective and suitable humility." -- Jennifer Radden, Metapsychology Online Reviews

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