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The Myth of Chemical Cure: How and why we Misunderstand Psychiatric Medicine

The Real Truth About Health

Dr. Joanna Moncrieff overturns the claim that psychiatric drugs work by correcting chemical imbalance, and analyzes the professional, commercial and political vested interests that have shaped this view. Dr. Moncrieff provides a comprehensive critique of research on drugs including antidepressants, antipsychotics and mood stabilizers.

Joanna Moncrieff is a Reader in Critical and Social Psychiatry at University College London and works as a consultant in community psychiatry in North East London Foundation Trust. She has worked in psychiatry for over 20 years as a clinician and academic. She has challenged the assumption that psychiatric drugs work by targeting an underlying brain abnormality and proposed an alternative view that they work by inducing an altered mental state. She has also researched and written about the subjective experience of taking psychiatric drugs, decision making, the history of drug treatment and the history, politics, and philosophy of psychiatry more generally. She is currently leading a large research programme called RADAR (Research into Antipsychotic Discontinuation And Reduction), funded by the UK government.

Joanna is one of the founders and the co-chairperson of the Critical Psychiatry Network. This is an international group of psychiatrists, doctors and medical students who are critical of the mainstream view of psychiatry, including the idea that mental disorders are diseases ‘like any other’. The group has campaigned on mental health issues in the United Kingdom, challenging efforts to extend mental health law and criticising the influence of the pharmaceutical industry. Joanna is the author of many peer-reviewed, scientific papers and several books: The Bitterest Pills: the troubling story of antipsychotic drugs, and The Myth of the Chemical Cure (Palgrave Macmillan) and A Straight Talking Introduction to Psychiatric Drugs (PCCS Books). She is co-editor of Demedicalising Misery and Demedicalising Misery volume II (Palgrave Macmillan).

She has an active website and blog (, and active Twitter account: @joannamoncrieff and also blogs on Mad in America ( from time to time.

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