A start-to-finish narrative history of our major psychotropic drugs, from "a thoroughly exhilarating and entertaining writer" (Washington Post).
As our approach to mental illness has oscillated from biological to psychoanalytical and back again, so have our treatments. With the rise of psychopharmacology, one in five Americans now takes a psychotropic drug, yet seventy years after doctors first began prescribing them, we still don't really know exactly how or why they work--or don't work--on what ails our brains. In Blue Dreams, Lauren Slater offers an explosive account not just of the science but of the people--inventors, adherents, detractors, and consumers-behind our licensed narcotics, from the earliest, Thorazine and Lithium, up through Prozac, Ecstasy, "magic mushrooms," the most cutting-edge memory drugs, and neural implants. In so doing, she narrates the history of psychiatry itself and illuminates the signature its colorful little capsules have left on millions of brains worldwide, and how these wonder drugs may heal or hurt us.
About the Author:
Lauren Slater is the author of Welcome to My Country, Prozac Diary, Lying: A Metaphorical Memoir, and Opening Skinner's Box, among other books. She has received numerous awards, including a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship at MIT. Opening Skinner's Box was nominated for best science writing by the Los Angeles Times, and her work has been reprinted numerous times in The Best American Essays. She lives on a farm in Fitchburg, Massachusetts.