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Books, Journals, New Media
November 21, 2001

PsychiatryOut of Its Mind—Psychiatry in Crisis: A Call for Reform

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorDavid H.MorseMS, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


Not Available


Copyright 2001 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2001American Medical Association


by J. Allan Hobson and Jonathan A. Leonard, 292 pp, $26, ISBN 0-7382-0251-7, Cambridge, Mass, Perseus Publishing, 2001.

JAMA. 2001;286(19):2471. doi:10.1001/jama.286.19.2471-JBK1121-3-1

Psychiatry is not in any sort of crisis but it does have some problems and some sorting out to do. Out of Its Mind—Psychiatry in Crisis touches (pummels is more like it) most of the well-worn bases: Freud didn't get it all right; the current diagnostic scheme is not all it's cracked up to be; psychotropic drugs can be bad for you; the homeless mentally ill are not well cared for; it's time for the psychotherapy and biology camps to declare a truce.

Hobson, a sleep researcher at Harvard, and Leonard, a science writer, have come up with the answer to psychiatry's problems. It's "neurodynamics," a new psychiatry "informed" by what has been learned about the brain's role in psychiatric symptoms, or, more accurately, the authors' take on what the brain imaging and other research add up to. Anxiety? That's the amygdala acting up. Depression? Neurotransmitters, hormones, and frontal lobes gone awry.

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