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Anatomy Fund

Professionals throughout the world of mental health, as well as concerned consumers, families and public officials, read Whitaker’s book with shock and concern. It is a ‘must read’ in the truest sense of the phrase.

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  • 1954

    Thorazine, the first psychotropic, introduced
  • 2011

    Robert Whitaker publishes Anatomy of an Epidemic
  • 2012

    First year of funding

A fund ready for donors. Supporting professional study groups by underwriting the distribution of Robert Whitaker’s groundbreaking book, Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America 

Where the problem lies

The introduction of Thorazine kicked off a “psychopharmacological revolution” with seemingly effective drugs discovered for mental disorders of all kinds. In 1988, the first of the “second-generation” psychiatric drugs–Prozac–was introduced.

Yet, as this “revolution” unfolded, the number of people disabled by mental illness soared. In 1955, there were 355,000 adults in state and county mental hospitals with a psychiatric diagnosis. By 1985, the number of disabled mentally ill rose to 1.25 million. Prozac arrived on the market in 1988, and over the next 20 years, the number of disabled mentally ill grew to more than four million adults. Finally, the prescribing of psychiatric medications to children and adolescents took off in 1987, and as it took hold, the number of youth in America receiving a government disability check because of a mental illness leapt from 16,200 in 1987 to 561,569 in 2007, a 35-fold increase.

Help is on the way

The astonishing increase in the disability numbers during the past fifty years raises an obvious question: Could the widespread use of psychiatric medications be fueling this epidemic? Anatomy of an Epidemic investigates that question by focusing on the long-term outcome studies in the research literature. Whitaker’s review of the studies reveals a paradigm of care that increases the likelihood that people diagnosed with mental disorders will become chronically ill.

Donating to this Excellence fund underwrites distribution of the book for professionals and guides them in the set-up of study groups.

Individual copies of the book are available, and study guides are available through Mad in America, a blog site for people with lived experience, peer specialists, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, program managers, social activists, attorneys, and journalists. Opinions expressed on the blog vary, but MIA bloggers share a belief that our current system of psychiatric care needs to be vastly improved, and, many would argue, transformed.

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