Shyness: How Normal Behavior Became a Sickness

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9780300124460: Shyness: How Normal Behavior Became a Sickness
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In the 1970s, a small group of leading psychiatrists met behind closed doors and literally rewrote the book on their profession. Revising and greatly expanding the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM for short), they turned what had been a thin, spiral-bound handbook into a hefty tome. Almost overnight the number of diagnoses exploded. The result was a windfall for the pharmaceutical industry and a massive conflict of interest for psychiatry at large. This spellbinding book is the first behind-the-scenes account of what really happened and why.
 
With unprecedented access to the American Psychiatric Association archives and previously classified memos from drug company executives, Christopher Lane unearths the disturbing truth: with little scientific justification and sometimes hilariously improbable rationales, hundreds of conditions--among them shyness--are now defined as psychiatric disorders and considered treatable with drugs. Lane shows how long-standing disagreements within the profession set the stage for these changes, and he assesses who has gained and what's been lost in the process of medicalizing emotions. With dry wit, he demolishes the façade of objective research behind which the revolution in psychiatry has hidden. He finds a profession riddled with backbiting and jockeying, and even more troubling, a profession increasingly beholden to its corporate sponsors.

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About the Author:

Christopher Lane is the Pearce Miller Research Professor, Northwestern University, and the recent recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship to study psychopharmacology and ethics.

Review:

"[A] fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the making of the bible of modern psychiatry [that] explains how a once-ordinary affliction became a profitable disease."--Michael Agger, Mother Jones

"This is not only an important account of the creation of a modern disease and its treatment, it is an explosive indictment of a system that is too simply materialist in both philosophy and behavior."--Harold J. Cook, Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL

"A marvelous book: disturbing and perturbing, a book that will be widely talked about and debated. It is extraordinarily well written, balanced, witty, and engrossing. Bravo!"--Arthur Kleinman, Esther and Sidney Rabb Professor and Chair of Anthropology, Professor of Medical Anthropology, and Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard University

"[An] excellent new book.... Shyness is a welcome contribution to psychiatric discourse."--Juliet Lapidos, New York Observer

"Lane provides a behind-the-scenes look at the haphazard, unscientific process used to revise the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.... [A] superb, iconoclastic cultural study."--Library Journal

"Lane argues in this well-researched ... controversial book that shyness [has been] pathologized, to the detriment, especially, of children and teenagers"--Elsa Dixler, New York Times Book Review (Paperback Row)
 
"In his brilliant Shyness: How Normal Behavior Became a Sickness, Christopher Lane painstakingly shows how the category of 'mental disorder' has been expanded in recent decades, so that what were once considered normal emotions or everyday foibles--shyness, rebelliousness, aloofness, and so on--have been relabeled as phobias, disorders and syndromes."--Brendan O'Neill, New Statesman and Society
 
"An important new book.... The achievement of Shyness is to chart for the first time the events preceding the rise and fall of the SSRIs. Lane has marshalled a cache of unpublished data to explain the academic framework that allowed the rise to happen. [He] tells the complex story with impressive clarity."--Jerome Burne, Times Literary Supplement
 
"[A] splendid book... Lane gives a compelling description of how shyness--once seen as a normal variation of character or personality--became incorporated into the DSM as social phobia or avoidant personality disorder."--Simon Wessely, The Lancet
 
"Fascinating ... persuasive ..., [Shyness] should be read by anyone interested in stopping the rot in the discussion of human emotion and thought."--Helene Guldberg, Spiked Review of Books
 
"As Lane's research reveals, the cost of blaming anxieties on brain chemistry imbalance goes beyond dollars, to drug dependency, debilitating side effects and consumers convinced they're hamstrung by their physiology."--Robin Tierney, San Francisco Examiner
 
"Lane's authority in these matters is considerable since he had access to previously confidential documents for the American Psychiatric Association archives.... Highly recommended. All readers, but especially the general public and healthcare professionals and practitioners."--Choice
 
"Lane's thorough trawling of the archives of the American Psychiatric Association, his discovery of unpublished internal memos from drug companies, and most especially his accounts of the deliberately obstructive activities of the companies' marketing teams, make for compelling reading."--Martin Guha, Journal of Mental Health
 
"Overall, Lane's scholarly account of this saga ensures that if you're not already concerned about the over-medicalization of our mental lives, you will be."--Christian Jarrett, BBC Focus

2007 Top Seller in Psychology as compiled by YBP Library Services
 
A 2007 Top Seller in Medicine as compiled by YBP Library Services
 
Best Book of the Year Selection, Association of American University Presses, 2008

Highly commended for the 2008 Medical Book Award in the category of Mental Health, sponsored by the British Medical Association

Winner of the Prescrire Prize for Medical Writing, 2010

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780300143171: Shyness: How Normal Behavior Became a Sickness

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ISBN 10:  0300143176 ISBN 13:  9780300143171
Publisher: Yale University Press, 2008
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