The Secret History of a Modern Disease
Greenberg draws on sources ranging from the Bible to current medical journals to show how the idea that unhappiness is an illness has been packaged and sold by brilliant scientists and shrewd marketing experts—and why it has been so successful. Part memoir, part intellectual history, part exposé—including a vivid chronicle of his participation in a clinical antidepressant trial—Manufacturing Depression is an incisive look at an epidemic that has changed the way we have come to think of ourselves.
Read an Excerpt
When Betty Twarog opens the door to her cavernous rooms at the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Laboratory, you’re smacked in the face with mist and the smell of brine, and the sound of water everywhere. Pumped out of Boothbay Harbor, it hisses and sprays and gurgles through pipes overhead and sluiceways underfoot, flowing through huge dark tanks full of sea urchins and starfish and other gnarly marine creatures before pouring back into the harbor. With a finger raised to her lips and a sharp shake of her head, she shushes the questions I shout over the din. At first I think she is afraid I...see more
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Reading Group Guide
Manufacturing Depression is psychotherapist Gary Greenberg’s look at how we came to have the common belief that depression is a biochemical illness. It starts with the revolution in medicine set off when doctors first discovered that drugs could target the molecular causes of disease, continues through the accidental, drug-fueled discoveries that led scientists to surmise that serotonin imbalances caused depression, and culminates with pharmaceutical companies' shrewd and wildly successful efforts to spin these discoveries into a theory that unhappiness is a disease for which they have the cure.
The author details the way that doctors and drug companies advanced their chemical imbalance theory despite a lack of evidence, and how even now, when most scientists agree that depression is not a simple biochemical glitch, they continue to tell their patients that it is, and urge them to take antidepressants for the same reason that diabetics take insulin. He also traces the idea that deep unhappiness i see more