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Publisher's Summary

A groundbreaking and revelatory history of our major psychotropic drugs, from "a thoroughly exhilarating and entertaining writer." (Washington Post).  
Although one in five Americans now takes at least one psychotropic drug, the fact remains that nearly 70 years after doctors first began prescribing them, we still don't know exactly how or why these drugs work - or don't work - on what ails our brains. Blue Dreams offers the explosive story of the discovery, invention, people, and science behind our licensed narcotics, as told by a riveting writer and psychologist who shares her own intimate experience with the highs and lows of psychiatry's drugs. Lauren Slater's account ranges from the earliest, Thorazine and lithium, up through Prozac and other antidepressants, as well as Ecstasy, "magic mushrooms", the most cutting-edge memory drugs, and even neural implants. Along the way, she narrates the history of psychiatry itself, illuminating the imprint its colorful little capsules have left on millions of brains worldwide, and demonstrating how these wonder drugs may heal us or hurt us.
©2018 Lauren Slater (P)2018 Hachette Audio
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Critic Reviews

"Weaving together the history of psychopharmacology and her personal experience as a patient, Slater offers readers a candid and compelling glimpse at life on psychiatric drugs and the science behind them . . . Intriguing and instructive." (Booklist)
"Smart, charming, iconoclastic, and inquisitive." (Peter Kramer, author of Listening to Prozac)
"Slater is more poet than narrator, more philosopher than psychologist, more artist than doctor.... Every page brims with beautifully rendered images of thoughts, feelings, emotional states." (San Francisco Chronicle)
"Betsy Foldes-Meiman's clear, down-to-earth narration complements the author's personal approach to her subject... The well-paced narration aids the listener in following the myriad historical events and scientific details." (AudioFile)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Laura J on 06-01-18


Lauren Slater was very thorough in her research of the history of mental health treatments. Her reviews of psychotropic drugs have extra meaning, since she is also a "client" who has experienced many of these drugs herself. I work in the mental health field as a counselor so the science of how each drug works in the brain was immensely helpful. I finished the book with more caution about the use of any drug than I was before (hence my review tile), and more open to hallucinogenics for certain cases. Very interesting read.

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4 out of 5 stars
By Frank S. Czerwiec on 05-08-18

Interesting personal and historical perspective on mental health:

Overall, I enjoyed and would recommend this book, but was a bit off put by the too personal perspectives and constant bashing of the pharmaceutical profession (disclosure: I work in this industry but also have personal experience with severe mental ‘variation’.).

I agree with many of the authors perspectives, including the potential value of holistic and non-traditional therapies, but hope the economic bias inherent in our profession remains a minor and manageable issue. For those of us involved in bringing ethical, safe and effective treatment options to our patients, their wellbeing is always the highest priority.

I also believe we’ll-conducted research is necessary before recommending any therapy to a patient since all, even psycho-, behavioral and regression, therapies carry risks which need to be understood and weighed against benefits for each individual patient.
Enjoy this journey...

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