Review – A Straight Talking Guide to Psychiatric Drugs by Joanna Moncrieff

A Straight Talking Introduction to Psychiatric Drugs

Joanna Moncrieff

PCCS Books

ISBN 9781906254179; £8.99p

How refreshing it is to read a book by a consultant psychiatrist (and senior lecturer) who challenges assumptions in a medically dominated field. In this case, the proposition that mental health problems are a disease that must be treated primarily by medication that reverses a chemical imbalance, writes Tina Coldham

In fact, the author puts forward an alternative “drug-centred model” that argues that psychotropic medications do not correct a chemical imbalance but substitute a new abnormal mental state that the body tries to counteract. This in itself can explain why damage is seen in long-term use and withdrawal is difficult and painful.

The book tackles the major drug groups and counters some of the research findings held golden by explaining flaws in the research process. There are also sections on withdrawing from psychiatric drugs and the consequences of Moncrieff’s drug-centred approach to understanding these drugs.

However, it also acknowledges that some medications have a place as treatment options, and gives the reader some suggested questions to pose before swallowing what you are told and prescribed.

I would recommend this as easy but challenging reading for any “illness”-based subscriber, and the content will ring true for users and psychiatric survivors as reassuring.

Tina Coldham is a national development consultant at the Health and Social Care Advisory Service

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