Manufacturing Depression: The Secret History of a Modern Disease (Paperback)
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Am I depressed or just unhappy? In the last two decades, antidepressants have become staples of our medicine cabinets—doctors now write 120 million prescriptions annually, at a cost of more than 10 billion dollars. At the same time, depression rates have skyrocketed; twenty percent of Americans are now expected to suffer from it during their lives. Doctors, and drug companies, claim that this convergence is a public health triumph: the recognition and treatment of an under-diagnosed illness. Gary Greenberg, a practicing therapist and longtime depressive, raises a more disturbing possibility: that the disease has been manufactured to suit (and sell) the cure.
Greenberg draws on sources ranging from the Bible to current medical journals to show how the idea that unhappiness is an illness has been packaged and sold by brilliant scientists and shrewd marketing experts—and why it has been so successful. Part memoir, part intellectual history, part exposé—including a vivid chronicle of his participation in a clinical antidepressant trial—Manufacturing Depression is an incisive look at an epidemic that has changed the way we have come to think of ourselves.
About the Author
Gary Greenberg is a practicing psychotherapist in Connecticut and author of The Noble Lie. He has written about the intersection of science, politics, and ethics for many publications, including Harper's, the New Yorker, Wired, Discover, Rolling Stone, and Mother Jones, where he's a contributing writer.
“A lucid and revealing book…an unusually amusing, moving, and spirited account.” —Adam Phillips, The Nation
“[Greenberg] is an unusually eloquent writer, and his book offers a grand tour of the history of modern medicine, as well as an up-close look at contemporary practices." —Louis Menand, The New Yorker
“A dizzying, dazzling critique. It is probably the most thoughtful book on depression ever written." —Jonathan Rottenberg, Ph.D., Psychology Today
“Manufacturing Depression is full of fascinating stories...Greenberg's greatest contribution, though, is insisting on few certainties, and in offering himself to us." —Liz Else, New Scientist
“In a medicalized world of specious concepts where false hope has taken the form of a diagnosis and a pill, the only way to challenge current thinking is with a sledgehammer, or a copy of Manufacturing Depression. And best of all, this may be the funniest book on depression ever.” —Errol Morris, Academy Award-winning director of The Fog of War
“Greenberg[‘s] bouts of deep depressions [are] smartly conveyed here, including [his] participation in a clinical trial for an antidepressant…the author engages in extended, illuminating discussions of a host of therapeutic techniques, the confounding power of the placebo effect, the evolution of psychopharmacology and the ways in which expectations shape response. A humanistic, witty exploration of the human response to depression.” —Kirkus
“Greenberg elegantly dissects the medical-research-pharmaceutical complex….A splendid, witty analysis of how we came to give up the stories of our lives in favor of analyzing the alphabet of which the stories are made. An essential read for all invested in medicine and social science.” —Library Journal, starred review