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A devastating argument that most antidepressants are little better than souped-up sugar pills, with far-reaching implications for how psychiatry treats depression
“[Kirsch’s] case that the drugs’ benefits are due to placebo and enhanced placebo effect is fascinating and demands urgent research…Clearly, it's time for a big rethink of what constitutes mental illness and about how to treat it.”
Literary Review (UK)
“[B]rilliantly subversive… a fascinating and disturbing book.”
Kelly Lambert, PhD, Professor of Psychology, Randolph-Macon College; President, International Behavioral Neuroscience Society; Author of Lifting Depression
“Considering the crude and nonspecific therapies that have been historically available for depression, the thought of a pill acting as an effective agent against the tumultuous symptoms of this disease was appealing to everyone in the mental health industry. But, as Irving Kirsch points out in this provocative and informative treatise, The Emperor’s New Drugs, this dream ultimately turned out to be a fairy tale. There was no prince of healing to provide the promised relief for patients. Kudos to Dr. Kirsch for his impressive scientific investigative reporting described in this book, forcing our attention away from the fairy tale and toward the reality of more effective treatment strategies for depression.”
David D. Burns, author of Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy
“A beautifully written, profoundly important book.”
Druin Burch, author of Taking the Medicine
“A terrific account of how optimism, greed and scientific incompetence have misled us about the nature of depression and the drugs we throw at it.”
“[The Emperor’s New Drugs] absolutely dismantles the case for antidepressants as a pharmacologically effective treatment.”
“Writing with a broad audience in mind, Kirsch expands on this important topic in a lively style with clear, cogent explanations of the science involved, and many examples of the differences between solid and flawed research. The result is a fascinating book with broad implications for science policy.”
St. Petersburg Times
“Measured and laserlike in focus…The Emperor's New Drugs dismantles the case for antidepressants as a pharmacologically effective treatment.”
“Kirsch…uses clear no-nonsense prose to marshal the extraordinary and convincing evidence needed to support his position.”
“[A] tightly argued book… given how resolutely the treatment of mental disease has shifted from therapy- to drug-based regimens, just about any good-faith effort to turn the focus of treatment back on actual human interaction seems well worth it.”