I was rather disappointed when I first started this book. Maybe I misinterpreted the summary but I expected a book about the misuse of medication today. In the first couple chapters the author talks about having that same view of mental illness and starting out to write a book exposing this misuse but then changes her mind and begins work on the book as it is today. The book goes back and forth with information to back up both sides of the argument. Several times she states that she couldn't find any cases of people misusing medication but then talks about interviews with people who have written articles about these cases. She says all of the parents she talked with came to the conclusion to medicate their children slowly and after much doubt. It seems that she either was leaving out some stories or she just wasn't looking hard enough.
On the other hand, I really enjoyed reading the book. The entire book was filled with tons of stories, statistics, interviews, and evidence supporting both sides of a very controversial argument. I learned a lot from the information she provided and especially enjoyed the last couple of chapters. I liked the last chapter in which she discussed things that need to be done to help the public in better understanding mental illness.
While I enjoyed the reading and learned a lot from all of the information throughout, I didn't feel the author did a very good job of convincing the reader of her point or she just didn't make her point very clear among the contradicting evidence. I feel I have the same opinion I did when I began reading the book with more information to back up my ideas and a lot more compassion for those people who are suffering from mental illness.
[I won/reviewed an advanced copy of this book.]
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Author (Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety) and New York Times columnist Warner turns an investigative eye to the epidemic of diagnosed childhood psychiatric disorders and widespread use of prescription psychotropic drugs to modify children's behavior. Major questions are raised: are drugs a substitute for proper parenting? Is there something more socially significant underlying the labeling and drugging of kids? Following an awkward introductory chapter about why the subject confounded and eluded her, Warner serves up more bad news than good. The book is hampered by a great deal of diverse and conflicting professional opinion and research, with references to just about every prominent expert on child psychology, from mainstream to fringe. Although readers may end up more confused than hopeful about the status of children's mental health in America, they will discover that 5% of all American kids do have psychological issues for which they receive proper medication and counseling. Not as heartfelt as The Elephant in the Playroom nor as helpful as books on individual disorders, this examination will still function as a wakeup call for lots of parents. (Mar.)