Eating Drugs: Psychopharmaceutical Pluralism In India by Stefan EcksEating Drugs: Psychopharmaceutical Pluralism In India by Stefan Ecks

Eating Drugs: Psychopharmaceutical Pluralism In India

byStefan Ecks

Hardcover | November 29, 2013

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A Hindu monk in Calcutta refuses to take his psychotropic medications. His psychiatrist explains that just as his body needs food, the drugs are nutrition for his starved mind. Does it matter how—or whether—patients understand their prescribed drugs? 
Millions of people in India are routinely prescribed mood medications. Pharmaceutical companies give doctors strong incentives to write as many prescriptions as possible, with as little awkward questioning from patients as possible. Without a sustained public debate on psychopharmaceuticals in India, patients remain puzzled by the notion that drugs can cure disturbances of the mind. While biomedical psychopharmaceuticals are perceived with great suspicion, many non-biomedical treatments are embraced. 
Stefan Ecks illuminates how biomedical, Ayurvedic, and homeopathic treatments are used in India, and argues that pharmaceutical pluralism changes popular ideas of what drugs do. Based on several years of research on pharmaceutical markets, Ecks shows how doctors employ a wide range of strategies to make patients take the remedies prescribed. Yet while metaphors such as "mind food" may succeed in getting patients to accept the prescriptions, they also obscure a critical awareness of drug effects.
This rare ethnography of pharmaceuticals will be of key interest to those in the anthropology and sociology of medicine, pharmacology, mental health, bioethics, global health, and South Asian studies.
Stefan Ecks is Director of the Medical Anthropology Program and Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh.
Title:Eating Drugs: Psychopharmaceutical Pluralism In IndiaFormat:HardcoverDimensions:233 pages, 9.41 × 7.24 × 0.98 inPublished:November 29, 2013Publisher:NYU PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0814724760

ISBN - 13:9780814724767

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Editorial Reviews

"Brilliantly traces the circulation of metaphors of affliction from practitioners of psychiatry, Ayurveda, and other systems of medicine to the streets of Calcutta and back, showing how mind-body relations are constructed, mediated, and transformed. Readers who seek to understand the interplay of professional practice and local knowledge in the globalization of psychiatry, the pharmaceutical industry, and cultural configurations of the self will find this book richly rewarding."-Laurence Kirmayer,James McGill Professor, McGill University