Saving Normal: An Insider's Revolt against Out-of-Control Psychiatric Diagnosis, DSM-5, Big Pharma, and the Medicalization of Ordinary Life

International BestsellerA deeply fascinating and urgently important critique of the widespread medicalization of normalityAnyone living a full, rich life experiences ups and downs, stresses, disappointments, sorrows, and setbacks Today, however, millions of people who are really no than worried well are being diagnosed as having a mental disorder and receiving unneInternational BestsellerA deeply fascinating and urgently important critique of the widespread medicalization of normalityAnyone living a full, rich life experiences ups and downs, stresses, disappointments, sorrows, and setbacks Today, however, millions of people who are really no than worried well are being diagnosed as having a mental disorder and receiving unnecessary treatment In Saving Normal, Allen Frances, one of the world s most influential psychiatrists, explains why stigmatizing a healthy person as mentally ill leads to unnecessary, harmful medications, the narrowing of horizons, the misallocation of medical resources, and the draining of the budgets of families and the nation We also shift responsibility for our mental well being away from our own naturally resilient brains and into the hands of Big Pharma, who are reaping multi billion dollar profits Frances cautions that the newest edition of the bible of psychiatry, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5 DSM 5 , is turning our current diagnostic inflation into hyperinflation by converting millions of normal people into mental patients Saving Normal is a call to all of us to reclaim the full measure of our humanity.
Saving Normal An Insider s Revolt against Out of Control Psychiatric Diagnosis DSM Big Pharma and the Medicalization of Ordinary Life International BestsellerA deeply fascinating and urgently important critique of the widespread medicalization of normalityAnyone living a full rich life experiences ups and downs stresses disappoin

  • Title: Saving Normal: An Insider's Revolt against Out-of-Control Psychiatric Diagnosis, DSM-5, Big Pharma, and the Medicalization of Ordinary Life
  • Author: Allen Frances
  • ISBN: 9780062229267
  • Page: 378
  • Format: Paperback
  • 1 thought on “Saving Normal: An Insider's Revolt against Out-of-Control Psychiatric Diagnosis, DSM-5, Big Pharma, and the Medicalization of Ordinary Life”

    1. It's a recurring conversation for me, in both professional and social contexts. Is it a good thing or a bad thing that we have so much diagnosis today? Does the proliferation of diagnoses translate into heretofore overlooked individuals with real problems getting much-needed help? Or are we taking people who would have otherwise struggled a bit and ultimately made it, pathologizing them, and ultimately handicapping them?Well, someone far more knowledgeable and accomplished than I, and many of my [...]

    2. I was disappointed. Frances is criticizing "out of control psychiatric diagnoses" from within the system, so the findings feel bland and non-actionable. I'm more of a fan of the style of The Emperor's New Drugs by Irving Kirsch, who gets to the heart of the problem and proposes solutions. Also, from Frances's title "Saving Normal," I wanted and expected a more philosophical discussion than I got, about the value of accepting human differences, vs. what we have now, a runaway proclivity in Americ [...]

    3. I bought this book, at the same time as I purchased my new copy of the DSM-5. This is required reading for anyone who is a consumer and/or a professional in the field of psychology and psychiatry. Allen Frances critiques the use and misuse of the DSM-5 and rightly lambasts the pharmaceutical companies who use the DSM-5 as lucrative development and marketing tool. Author, Dr. Allen Frances, who is the former chairperson of the psychiatry and behavioral science department at the Duke University Sc [...]

    4. I first heard of this book through a media report of Frances' critiques of the DSM-5, and knew immediately that I wanted to read it. As with all books of this sort - i.e. a critique of major problems in a field by one of its own experts - I was wary of it in the beginning, worried that it might just be the rant of a bitter person. It's not that at all. This is a really solid attempt by someone who believes in the value of psychiatry (when it's really needed) to save the field from itself. The bo [...]

    5. It's possible that I have simply read too many books about the problems with the DSM because I wasn't as taken with this book as I was with the Book of Woe. i would have given this 3 stars, but the content is too important for that. Frances has first hand knowledge of the shortcomings of the DSM. The main question is how do we provide mental health services, which requires a diagnosis, without those diagnoses, which are often very subjective, becoming a harm themselves? The DSM has been wrought [...]

    6. Quite interesting description of the inflation of mental disease diagnoses - for the benefit (profit) of the pharmaceutical industry - and how medical experts have been involved in the plot. Allen Frances is a psychiatrist, and was the head of the committee to edit and publish DSM-4 on behalf of the APA. Yet, Saulus has become Paulus, and he is now, after the "flood" of Aspergers and ADHD and many other faddish syndromes, passionately trying to swim against the tide. The time is ripe: DSM-5 with [...]

    7. In Saving Normal, Allen Frances, noted psychiatrist and chairman of the DSM-IV task force, argues that we are overdiagnosing in a manner that's incredibly harmful. We've lost sight of "normal" and we've medicalized activities that are well within the range of normal human behavior and emotions. There are a lot of factors that are contributing to this. Frances mostly sets his sights on DSM-5 for not doing enough to curb diagnostic inflating, and introducing new diagnoses that are bound to add to [...]

    8. I found this book to be interesting & amazing. It covers so much information from the over-diagnosis & under-diagnosis of mental illness in this country, as well as so much information on the history of treatment & views of the mentally ill around the world. It stresses the important need of careful psychiatric care but also the need to "save normal" & gives examples of those who were negatively affected by incorrect diagnosis & treatment as well as examples of those who grea [...]

    9. I won this book from First Reads and spent a bit of a time gap before I had time to read and review it. For me, the book raised awareness on underserved mental health related issues resulting from the expansion of DSM-5. This book did an excellent job achieving its mission due to the fact that Dr. Allen Frances was a highly informed authority who took the time to explain in detail the initial approach manner of the DSM-5 manual experts. It’s truly a shame that that the DSM-5 manual is being ma [...]

    10. An important book, although I'm left disappointed by Saving Normal. Having felt the harm of previous editions of the DSM I was hoping that Frances would in some way validate that. He does share his own disappointment in how the earlier editions were used and abused, and acknowledges his naivety in this. He to a greater extent speaks to the dangers of the DSM-V. To me he fails to connect his own work with that of the DSM-V group, speaking instead of the dangers coming from veering from Frances' a [...]

    11. Frances' take on where the DSM went wrong and how, but the call to action reminds me of the old Hee Haw skit -- when told that the patient hurt when they did something like waving their hand, the doctor's response was "Well, don't do that". Frances' wants to stop opening up the publishing of the DSM to change for change's sake, because the process has become too ripe for expanding diagnosis and reducing the number of people that the DSM would consider normal. I appreciated his take on psychiatri [...]

    12. This book explains, in a very readable way, the science behind the Diagnostic Statistic Manual (DSM) and how the newest edition has broadened the criteria for diagnosis of certain mental or psychological conditions which causes people to be diagnosed and prescribed drugs when they don't need them. The basic idea is that having diagnostic criteria that are too narrow means that people who need help won't be diagnosed and treated, while having criteria that are too broad means that people who woul [...]

    13. I appreciated the effort, but as much as this book was informative, it wasn't grossly readable. I would hope that such important information on psychiatric misdiagnosis and diagnostic inflation would reach out to both the medical field and the public, but the book is only quick to point out all the negatives in psychiatric diagnosis and only suggests ambiguously ideal goals for the future of psychiatry and its patients. From what I took away most from this book is that the public is the one that [...]

    14. An insider's rant on how he wasn't included in the development of DSM-5, and how his amazing ideas alone could've saved psychiatry.Nothing but baseless opinionated ranting. Sources are few and far between, and used erratically--you'll get a paragraph with eight sources, and then ten pages of rambling with not a single piece of evidence. Worse, when he does source? He often either misconstrues studies, or literally lies. I'm not joking. He claims that "nearly two thirds of people on antidepressan [...]

    15. This book, by a well-respected psychiatrist who was very involved in the creation of the 4th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), argues that a high percentage of people diagnosed with mental illness are actually normal. He thinks this trend of diagnostic inflation may be exacerbated and there may be diagnostic hyperinflation with the publication of DSM-5 in May 2013.The book begins by attempting to do something that DSM-5 fails to do: define what is nor [...]

    16. This is a 4.5. Very informative deconstruction of the "DSM-as-Bible-of-psychiatry" narrative. It also helped explain the effects of psychotics medication advertisement and the feeling that so many mental health concerns emerged from nothing (they kind of did, but not the way you'd think). I can sense, in internalizing this book, that it's very easy to take it to an extreme, anti-medication extreme. He counsels against that in the final chapter, advocating for more responsibility on the part of t [...]

    17. Saving Normal takes a deep look at the newest revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which is generally regarded as the bible of psychiatry. It's used by primary care doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, etc. to diagnose mental illness in their patients. The newest revision, known as DSM-5, has stirred up an awful lot of controversy. This book takes a look at that controversy and explores what the impacts could be in the US. Allen Frances e [...]

    18. ---Got this book (new paperback edition) free from !---I really wanted to like this because it's a whistleblower expose on the medical industrial complex and the weaknesses of psychiatry, but there are many books out there already on these general topics, and I'm not sure what this one adds. It contains some useful info, but overall struck me as a long, rambling rant. From the subtitle and preface, it seemed like it would have revelations about DSM. But in the whole book, there is not one exampl [...]

    19. The author, a noted psychiatrist, warns of psychiatric over-diagnosis in which normal variations of emotion and personality are treated as diseases. He notes that we have homogenized our food crops and now are attempting to homogenize our people. "All human difference is being transmuted into chemical imbalance that is meant to be treated with a handy pill." And as we label normal human reactions & behaviors diseases, we limit human diversity and adaptability, thus impoverishing ourselves.Th [...]

    20. I have an interest in psychiatry and such, both on a personal mental health level and its policy and public health implications, but not enough of an interest where I can consider myself well-versed. I lack a lot of the information necessary, but I am concerned about the amount of diagnoses I see in the world, and the reliance on drugs for it, and I don't know where I sit conclusively.There's a lot here about the DSM and how it has some pros and cons, and a lot of vitriol against the drug indust [...]

    21. This was a really fascinating book, and somewhat saddening. I'm very interested in psychiatric treatment and how we talk about it in our society, so this was a great angle to look at and see how there is dissent even within the industry. If you already distrust corporations, then this book might just push you over the edge into not trusting any medication because it's created by Big Pharma. Remember (as the author reminds us several times) that while the system is being abused by Big Pharma, tho [...]

    22. This book delves into a debate that needs to be happening more in the public. Whichever side people take, they deserve to be properly informed about the philosophical, moral, and scientific nuances of the issue. The book is written in a simple style and a person does not need an expansive technical vocabulary to understand it. It's an excellent introduction to the topic, thorough enough to leave people informed but brief enough to be digested in a reasonable time frame. If you're interested in t [...]

    23. "Empirisch fundiert, gelehrt und spannend geschrieben- ist ein Glücksfall für die Medizingeschichte." SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG„Fachkundig und verständlich […] Ein fundamentales Buch über Geschichte, Gegenwart und Zukunft psychiatrischer Diagnosen und ein eindrückliches Plädoyer für das Recht darauf, normal zu sein.“BERLINER ZEITUNG„Eine leidenschaftlich kluge Verteidigungsschrift des normal Menschlichen […] das Buch verdient weit über Amerika hinaus Beachtung […] Die Alles-wird-g [...]

    24. Frances has some very valid points, but he's in serious need of a good editor. Beyond the typos, after awhile Frances is just repeating himself. The personal anecdotes at the end are too brief and vague to illustrate any point. I feel like this book was written more in consideration of the client that seeks treatment and is invested in outcomes rather than involuntary clients, such as those ordered by courts and social services to receive treatment. Those clients usually don't have the resources [...]

    25. Frances is a psychiatrist and was the chair of the committee that created the DSM IV so he is in an authoritative position to analysis the flaws in the DSM V as well as the current day treatment of psychological conditions (and supposed conditions). It's refreshing to read someone who admits to mistakes and flaws in their work. The analysis includes the co-opting of primary care physicians into prescribing unnecessary drugs, often for off label purposes, the creation of pseudo disorders solely f [...]

    26. See my reviewAllen Frances is not normal, but he has solutions to the DSMexaminer/review/allen-I liked "The Book of Woe" by Gary Greenberg better overall.

    27. Dr Allen Frances makes a very compelling argument against widespread use of powerful psychotropic medications as a first line clinical treatment. This recent Western phenomena has seen powerful SSRI's, antipsychotics, and benzodiazepine drugs prescribed to patients presenting with mild mood disorders, after >15 minute consultations with general practitioners. The drug company prerogative is to frame everyday mood changes as pathological and psychological in nature. Often, doctors prescribed a [...]

    28. Many people are casting a critical eye on the DSM 5, but few bring the credibility of Allen Frances, psychiatrist and moving force in previous editions of DSM. How far are we prepared to go in order to pathologize human behaviors, good and bad? In particular, what is the benefit of children starting lives with labels (adhd, childhood bipolar, high functioning autism) that will shape their self perception and separate them from the pack? How much of all of this is driven by the pharmaceutical ind [...]

    29. Overall, this was a good read and a practical guidebook for literally anyone who has been prescribed, or knows someone prescribed, psychiatric medication (the vast majority of the population). My one critique is that Frances still doesn't seem to get beyond his own biases despite openly admitting past mistakes and failures of psychiatry. "Monolithic opposition to psychiatry is far too undiscriminating in its broadside critique." I felt the exact same way about his monolithic opposition to the ph [...]

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