A start-to-finish narrative history of our major psychotropic drugs, from "a thoroughly exhilarating and entertaining writer" (Washington Post).
As our approach to mental illness has oscillated from biological to psychoanalytical and back again, so have our treatments. With the rise of psychopharmacology, one in five Americans now takes a psychotropic drug, yet seventy years after doctors first began prescribing them, we still don't really know exactly how or why they work--or don't work--on what ails our brains. In Blue Dreams, Lauren Slater offers an explosive account not just of the science but of the people--inventors, adherents, detractors, and consumers-behind our licensed narcotics, from the earliest, Thorazine and Lithium, up through Prozac, Ecstasy, "magic mushrooms," the most cutting-edge memory drugs, and neural implants. In so doing, she narrates the history of psychiatry itself and illuminates the signature its colorful little capsules have left on millions of brains worldwide, and how these wonder drugs may heal or hurt us.