James Davies: Cracked

Why Psychiatry is Doing More Harm Than Good

Icon Books, 2013     Amazon.com

DaviesWhy is psychiatry such big business? Why are so many psychiatric drugs prescribed – 47 million antidepressant prescriptions in the UK alone last year – and why, without solid scientific justification, has the number of mental disorders risen from 106 in 1952 to 374 today? The everyday sufferings and setbacks of life are now “medicalised” into illnesses that require treatment – usually with highly profitable drugs. Psychological therapist James Davies uses his insider knowledge to illustrate for a general readership how psychiatry has put riches and medical status above patients’ well-being. The charge sheet is damning: negative drug trials routinely buried; antidepressants that work no better than placebos; research regularly manipulated to produce positive results; doctors, seduced by huge pharmaceutical rewards, creating more disorders and prescribing more pills; and ethical, scientific and treatment flaws unscrupulously concealed by mass-marketing. Cracked reveals for the first time the true human cost of an industry that, in the name of helping others, has actually been helping itself.


“[Cracked] should be read by every doctor…by everyone in politics and the media, not to mention any concerned citizen.”  Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday

“Chilling reading” Will Self, Guardian

“Davies’s book is a potent polemic”  Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times

“If, in the world of psychiatry, the DSM is Holy Scripture, Cracked is set to become a heretical text.”  Robert Crampton, The Times Magazine

“A profoundly disturbing look at the world of Big Pharma…This is an important book for anyone who has an interest in mental health.” Daily Mail

“Builds a disturbing picture of a profession that is in thrall to pharmaceutical companies”  Michael Mosley, BBC Focus

“An eye-opening and persuasive work”, Publishers Weekly

“[A] diligent study”  Financial Times

“A well-written book…a positive contribution to the debate about whether psychiatry can become a more open practice.”  Therapy Today

“Disturbing and uncompromising”  Kirkus Reviews

“A very controversial, fascinating and powerful read…full of balanced and reasonable arguments. I would strongly urge all mental health professionals, those in the caring professions as well anybody interested in mental health to read this book.”  The Psychologist

“An engrossing book, full of interviews with patients and professionals”  GP Magazine

“I couldn’t put the book down. It is totally engaging, as controversial as it is compelling, and as erudite as it is enjoyable…The book deserves to be a bestseller and should be read by every mental health professional”  International Review of Logotherapy and Existential Analysis

“I, personally, applaud a work that can shine a light into the murky corners of dubious practice”  Alan Pope, Sitegeist

“This is an excellent book…[it] careens, almost literally, from one psychiatric outrage to the next…I strongly recommend this book.”  Dr Phil Hickey, Behaviourism and Mental Health

“This thought-provoking book will make people think twice before sitting on a psychiatrist’s couch or filling a prescription”  Booklist

“This is a very well-written book – intellectually sound, but written in an accessible way…It should be read by all mental health professionals, by all politicians and policy makers charged with shaping future mental health provision”  Dr Neil Thompson, Social Justice Solutions

“You will be illuminated and often shocked and certainly made to think more about how you view the children in your care. Every teacher should read it.”  International School Magazine

About the Author:

James Davies obtained his PhD in medical and social anthropology from the University of Oxford. He is also a qualified psychotherapist (having worked in the NHS), and a senior lecturer in social anthropology and psychology at the University of Roehampton, London. He has delivered lectures at many universities, including Harvard, Brown, CUNY, Oxford and London, and has written articles about psychiatry for the New Scientist, Therapy Today and the Harvard Divinity Bulletin.

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