The quest for mental health : a tale of science, medicine, scandal, sorrow, and mass society / Ian Dowbiggin.

"This is the story of one of the most far-reaching human endeavors in history: the quest for mental well-being. From its origins in the eighteenth century to its wide scope in the early twenty-first, this search for emotional health and welfare has cost billions. In the name of mental health, millio...

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Main Author: Dowbiggin, Ian Robert, 1952-
Published: New York : Cambridge University Press, 2011.
Series: Cambridge essential histories
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Review by Choice Review

The Quest for Mental Health is a very thought-provoking book. Historian Dowbiggin (Univ. of Prince Edward Island, Canada), author of several works on the history of medicine (e.g., Keeping Sane, CH, Feb'98, 35-3589; Inheriting Madness, CH, Dec'91, 29-2388), creatively coins the term "therapism" to emphasize the prevailing view that we are an increasingly mentally ill population that needs treatment to be emotionally healthy. True to his discipline, Dowbiggin provides a very well-researched and comprehensive historical perspective on the evolution of the drive to achieve mental health. The author's illuminating description of the development of "madhouses" in 18th-century England focusing on treatment of the mentally ill illustrates this. He offers interesting details about Freud and the development of psychoanalysis, including how it more firmly established the field of psychiatry. Dowbiggin skillfully continues the historical journey, covering the impact of psychopharmacology, the antipsychiatric movement, deinstitutionalization, rising consumerism, and the present emphasis on the importance of expressing one's feelings. A must read for advanced students, faculty, and practitioners in the mental health fields. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. M. C. Matteis Regis College

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review

The history of mental health has rarely been pretty, and Dowbiggin (history, Univ. of Prince Edward Island) does not shy away from its uglier aspects, such as lobotomy, eugenics, or institutionalization. He also does not avoid touting his own thesis: that today's trend of overmedication and therapy is not adequately helping people with mental illnesses. This academic overview covers much ground, marking the advent of mental health care in the 18th century through today. This straightforward account chronologically follows the rise of institutions (and later the trend towards deinstitutionalization), the role of pharmaceuticals in mental health, and changing public sentiment toward mental illness. Some names may ring familiar, but while readers may know of Dorothea Dix or Timothy Leary, they may not realize how they influenced medical history. Verdict General readers interested in the history of medicine and mental health will find many a fascinating story in this dense volume; those interested in the role of pharmaceuticals in the future of health care will be left with much to think about. Given the large number of people affected by mental illness, Dowbiggin's analysis is worth considering.-Mindy Rhiger, St. Paul (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.