“Anatomy of an Epidemic”: A Book Review and my Thoughts, Part 2

This series of posts reviews the book, “Anatomy of an Epidemic” by Robert Whitaker, and explains where I see parallels between my own experience as a Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (MSbP) survivor and the argument Whitaker makes in the book.

In my first post in this series, I introduced the book and why it resonated with me. In this post, I will explain Whitaker’s main point in the paper, which is to point out what appears to have been psychiatry’s actual impact on the epidemiology of mental illness over the last two decades.

Whitaker’s Argument

Synapse diagramI have to first commend Whitaker’s book for being both well-researched and thorough.  It explains, very comprehensively, how psychiatrists and consumers alike were duped.  Whitaker establishes that both psychiatrists and consumers believe in the chemical imbalance theory of psychiatry. However, Whitaker makes the compelling argument twenty years’ worth of research conducted under this theory says the exact opposite: science has not yet found any evidence that chemical imbalances lead to depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or other common mood disorders.

Quite to the contrary, Whitaker points out that the pharmaceuticals themselves have been found to actually Pill bottle spilledcause chemical imbalances in the brain, which then has to adapt to whatever imbalance is introduced by the drug. The brain then becomes dependent (due to it’s adaptation response) on the drug, and needs to take it to function normally.

Parallel to MSbP

So, what psychiatrists are doing is basically making people sick with the drugs, and then the sick patients need to take more drugs to deal with the side effects of the first drug and so on… This iatrogenic trend certainly is reminiscent of a Munchausen mom getting her kid sick with poisons, and then the kid is caught in the trap of doctors and hospitals, just like psychiatric patients!

Indeed, a higher frequency of published case studies more recently have suggested that there is an increase in the psychiatric manifestation of MSbP, because the infrastructure was created to foster it.

And it is just so easy!

In all of my experience with hospitals and psychiatrists I found that they were so eager to diagnose me and drug me up, and not look comprehensively at what was going on in my life. Monika writes about how easy it was for a doctor at Boston Children’s to essentially kidnap a teenager and put her in the psych ward while denying her treatment for her real disease.

Children's Hospital in Boston.

The Child Angle

And this was when I was a child! As an adult, I suspect some symptoms I have are a result of this medication poisoning earlier in life. That is why, in my next post, I review what I found to be the most disheartening part of the book – Whitaker’s discussion of the drugging of children.

Were you drugged up as a child for some condition you don’t have?

If so, did it have any lasting effects on you? Comment below!

Synaptic diagram by Dwimdrim. Pill bottle spilled by Mpelletier1. Photo of Boston Children’s by JosephBarillari.


One thought on ““Anatomy of an Epidemic”: A Book Review and my Thoughts, Part 2

  1. mchance, I have my doubts about the validity of any allegations against this Dr. Alice Newton at Boston Children’s Hospital. I’d have to see a great deal more about it before I would suspect her.


    She is in charge of the child protection unit. Usually this will mean separating children from their parents.

    So do you want to call this kidnapping? When the police came and arrested my Pentecostal Daughter Molester, are we going to call that kidnapping? When police arrest murderers and bank robbers, do we call that kidnapping. Child protection means separating children from their parents. How else do we stop the abuse?

    And the parents are not going to admit it, they are still going to claim that they are right and seek to prove so. Likely this will mean with lawyers. Their side can flood the press with information, and they can write books. The child protection side is obliged to maintain confidentiality, and so they do not have recourse to the media to promote their cause.

    I suspect that they were just using the psych ward as their version of an isolation ward.

    Now of course all of this is under the jurisdiction of a court. And it is 3 issues:

    1. Putting the child in the psych ward for isolation.
    2. Prohibiting the parents from visiting.
    3. Stopping the child’s treatment for this supposed mitochondrial disorder.

    If the court did not agree, it could have overruled Dr. Newton on any or all of these choices.

    Now of course if a doctor were to be found to be tampering with tests or falsifying evidence that would be a very serious matter and it would have to be prosecuted. But so far I am not seeing it. Is there any evidence of this?

    And see, as this has unfolded, the Boston’s Children’s Hospital remains gagged. They cannot hold press conferences and the like to advance their version of events.

    I am sorry for how your mother treated you, this is horrendous. There should have been outside intervention and you should now be entitled to legal redress.

    But please also see that anytime outsiders get involved in parent – child conflicts, there are likely to be bite backs, and the child may not want to be protected.

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