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ISJ November 2013: Book reviews – Cracked: Why Psychiatry is Doing More Harm Than Good


By James Davies Reviewed by Richard Pearce


From the point of view of ToK alone, this is a fascinating book. It is opportunely launched, at the same moment as the DSM-5, the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Symptomatic Catalogue of Mental Disorders, the accepted source of clinical definitions. Since the first DSM appeared in 1952 successive versions have seen a fourfold multiplication of ‘clinical’ conditions, and a consequential rise in treatments, in an atmosphere of growing controversy.

In setting out his case, Davies takes a position that this progression represents an artificial construction of mental illness, sponsored by the drug companies which rush to market new remedies for new diseases, by fair means or foul. This is presented as a conflict between Good and Evil, with the villains and their villainy explicitly portrayed and the heroes deducible by implication.