A deeply fascinating and urgently important critique of the widespread medicalization of normality from one of the world's most influential psychiatrists
"A riveting and important book, written with great fair and precise passion. . . . This is a book every psychiatrist, every general practitioner, every student swallowing meds-in fact everyone-needs to read." -Dr. Lisa Appignanesi, chair of the Freud Museum, London, and author of Mad, Bad and Sad
Ups and downs, stresses, disappointments, sorrows, and setbacks are a normal part of being human. Yet millions of people who are really no more than "worried well" are being diagnosed with mental disorders and receiving unnecessary treatment. Allen Frances-"the most powerful psychiatrist in America" (New York Times) and "the man who wrote the book on mental illness" (Wired)-warns that mislabeling everyday problems as mental illness has shocking implications for individuals and society.
Masterfully charting the history of psychiatric fads throughout history, he implores us to save normal, preserve diversity, and achieve a more rational allocation of scarce resources for individuals who truly need help.
Reviews and Endorsements:
"A fascinating, sometimes disturbing, account of the apparent explosion in psychiatric disorders in the United States. What makes this exposé startling is the fact that Frances was once the most influential psychiatrist in the country, as head of the task force that compiled the last edition of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). In this extraordinarily candid and important book, Frances tells us how this monster of psychiatric overdiagnosis and overtreatment grew, and makes the case for 'saving normal.'" - Marcia Angell, M.D., senior lecturer in social Medicine, Harvard Medical school, and former editor in chief, New England Journal of Medicine
"Frances delves deeply into the history of mental illness, makes his arguements crisply, and has good personal stories to tell. He's articulate and learned. ... He's in favor of not medicating, and thus muffling, all the offbeat pain and beauty out of existance. ... [A] piece of intellectual skywriting." - Dwight Garner, New York Times
"Saving Normal is a clear, convincing, and essential discussion of the twin epidemics facing modern psychiatry: under-treatment of the truly ill and overtreatment of the basically well. It holds immense potential to improve patients' lives." - Josh Bazell, M.D., New York Times bestselling author of Beat the Reaper: A Novel
"Few are as well-equipped as Frances to map the dynamic field of psychiatry, and his rendering of its shifting contours is timely, crucial, and insightful--as are his solutions for navigating it." - Publishers Weekly
"With Solomon-like wisdom, Frances justly doles out blame and offers reasonable remedies. His decree: don't medicalize human difference; celebrate it." - Booklist (starred review)
"A valuable assessment. ... A no-holds-barred critique." - Kirkus Reviews
"An indispensable guide for professional and lay readers" - Library Journal
"Takes aim at the heart of the [DSM-5]." - USA Today
"Allen Frances's book is fascinating. ... Entertaining." - Metapsychology
About the Author:
ALLEN FRANCES, M.D., was the chairman of the DSM-IV Task Force and part of the leadership group for DSM-III and DSM-III-R. He is professor emeritus and former chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Duke University School of Medicine. He lives in Coronado, California, and travels and lectures extensively worldwide.