Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Book 14: Comfortably Numb

Book #14: Comfortably Numb

My 13th (oooooh, unlucky!?) book of the year was Comfortably Numb: How Psychiatry is Medicating a Nation, by Charles Barber. I'm not sure I have too much to say about this one. The title was kind of misleading. A better title would have been Comfortably Numb: Wherein Charles Barber Cites a Bunch of Studies that say Anti-depressants are Bad for You. As an English major, I was taught to use as many quotes as possible to prove a point; in the political science department, however, this was frowned upon. Apparently Mr. Barber took classes in my college's English department, because the whole book was citations (amounting to 35 pages of notes in the back) to attempt to prove his point that anti-depressants are bad for people with "depression-with-a-small-d" but might be okay for people with "Depression, capitalized."

As with most non-fiction books, most of the book presented the problem (over-medication) and the ending presented the solution. Barber sees the solution to the woes of America in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT. He points a lot of blame at health insurance companies more interested in saving money than actually helping people. While that's likely true, there's just as much blame in the people accepting the medication - having been through many months of unsuccessful CBT, I can say that a lot of effort is required to go through it successfully. You can get more out of two sessions if you're motivated than you'll ever get out of 20 if you're not willing to put in effort.

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