Responses to America Fooled From Readers in the Medical and Mental Health Professions

“This well–researched and well–written book should be required reading for . . . any doctor that might prescribe psychiatric medications.”

Stuart Shipko, M.D.
Psychiatrist & Neurologist, Pasadena, CA
Author, Surviving Panic Disorder: What You Need to Know

“A professional lifetime has gone into this book.  Although nothing surprises me, it will amaze—and immunize—many, many others.  Dr. Scott joins science with common sense to educate the reader as to the state of the art in psychiatry and pharmacology today.  Mixing personal detail, history and eye–opening facts, the author’s writing style is disarmingly low–key: it feels like personal advice from a favorite teacher. . . .  Anyone who takes antidepressants or antipsychotics—and everyone who prescribes them—needs to read this book.  I would buy every colleague a copy if I could and prescribe it for every patient.”

John Friedberg, M.D.
Neurologist, Berkeley, CA
Author, Shock Treatment is Not Good for Your Brain

“Congratulations on your book!  It is a barnstormer . . . with every page I turned over I was nodding my head and muttering, ‘Yes at last . . . someone is saying it as it really is!’   It is a compulsive read which is unusual for books of this type.  It will sell by the millions and be hugely influential.   I fully agree with your central thesis . . . current biological models of mental illness are simply not accurate enough . . . .  We are relying on grossly inadequate biological models of mental illness which means that most patients are inappropriately pigeon holed and treated with a drug that is fairly irrelevant to their central problems.   The correspondence around this book is going to be amazing!”

Douglas Turkington, M.D.
Fellow, Royal College of Psychiatry
Honorary Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychiatry
University of Newcastle–upon–Tyne, Great Britain

“I have a PhD in anatomy with a specialty in neuroanatomy.  My research area has focused on the effects of drugs on the developing brain, and my teaching area is neuroscience.  It is with that background that I can say that America Fooled is a masterful exposé about how the public has been misled about the science of treating psychological disorders with medications.  You have looked at the actual studies with a critical eye and revealed that there is little hard evidence in support of the claims about the antidepressants and antipsychotics so often found in the media.  More disturbing is the influence of the pharmaceutical companies on the medical profession which you related.  Clearly, if one digs deep enough into the medical literature, the claims melt away, and one is left with little more than a disguised marketing program.  I wonder how few Americans realize that Prozac and the other SSRIs have barely beat the placebo in controlled study after controlled study—the ‘dirty little secret’ as some in the medical profession have said—yet with little scientific evidence these medications continue to be prescribed to children, no less, at alarming rates.  America was fooled, but the truth is emerging because of people like yourself.”

Jonathan Leo, Ph.D.
Editor, Ethical Human Psychology & Psychiatry

“I love Dr. Scott’s optimistic belief that truth wins in the end. In that spirit, he has assembled a stunning collection of truth packaged with common sense and friendly advice.  He adds some healthy doses of outrage, humor, historical background, thorough investigation, and some insider information that makes for a very engaging read.  Both those who prescribe and those who take psychiatric drugs would do well to heed the truths of Dr. Scott’s message in this emptor caveat world.”

Douglas C. Smith, M.D.
Psychiatrist, Juneau, AK

“Dr. Scott is one of the most humane and clear writers on what is wrong with the way we deliver mental health . . . .  The material in Parts One and Two is the clearest explanation I have ever read.  I could not put the book down.  It is incredible.”

William Glasser, M.D.
Psychiatrist, Father & Author of Reality Therapy

“America Fooled focuses on the pharmacology of drugs used in psychiatry, but it is a fine introduction to the art of critical appraisal of scientific evidence.  Careful, skeptical reading of published literature requires the use of a good intellectual toolbox, and America Fooled introduces the reader to a number of these tools in a user–friendly and understandable fashion.  Concepts such as publication bias and regression to the mean, without which a consumer of medical literature is vulnerable to misinterpretation of a study’s results, are explained in clear, non–technical English.  Some of the pitfalls of interpreting epidemiological studies are well–explained and illustrated through concrete and familiar examples . . . .  Dr. Scott leads the reader through the process of considering alternative hypotheses when confronted with studies seeming to support one and only one conclusion.  Anyone interested in learning how to think critically about the avalanche of medical studies that are described in our news media could profit from reading this book.”

Edward Whitney, M.D., MSPH
Epidemiologist, Denver, CO

“I just wanted to let you know that I have enjoyed reading your book tremendously.  Your book is very well written, very readable and engaging, and walks the line well between talking to experienced professionals in the field and to the general public.   I felt a sense of recognition on every page. I avoided drug companies from the moment I refused my first ‘free’ stethoscope at Harvard Medical School.   I did not speak to a drug rep if I could avoid it until recently when—out of desperation—I met with a few to get free samples for the Latino Clinic (where the uninsured fall through the cracks).   I have never been tempted to attend a ‘free’ dinner or symposium, but it is incredible how tenacious the reps can be.   When Lexapro came out, they would accost me on my way to the bathroom between patients at my private practice, sometimes literally getting a foot in the door.   What has been most useful to me in reading your book: I think I have the inner convictions to withstand overt influence by drug reps or the prevailing ideology, but it is sometimes difficult to hold one’s ground in more subtle ways.   The pressure to prescribe more and more of these medications is powerful on all sides. . . .  It was fascinating to read your exposés of some classic and recent research claims.   I wish you all success in getting the book out there.”

Elissa Kleinman, M.D.
Psychiatrist, Harvard University
The Cambridge Health Alliance, Cambridge, MA

“As a seriously overeducated physician (retired), I’ve been exposed many times to the requirements of experimental design, especially while studying epidemiology and statistics at Harvard School of Public Health.  I have rarely encountered a discussion of the subject as lucid as your America Fooled.  I was appalled to learn the extent to which the experimental process has apparently been purposefully subverted by the drug companies.  Although you have devoted yourself to the discussion of psychoactive drugs exclusively, the principles are applicable generally, and I feel your book is mandatory reading for anyone involved in health care delivery and not just for those pursuing mental illness.  I have long felt that we are overdependent on medication to resolve psychosocial as well as some physical problems, which could respond to simpler and cheaper though less convenient remedies.  I hope your next edition will devote more space to the proliferation of what I consider ‘pseudo psych syndromes’ such as Social Adaptive Disorder, which seem to elevate minor problems to the level of a ‘disease’ requiring expensive medication.”

A. E. Rahm, Jr., M.D., M.P.H.
Diplomate of American Board of Preventive Medicine (Public Health)
Diplomate of American Board of Internal Medicine (Internal Medicine, Infectious Disease & Gastroenterology)

“The book is a powerful indictment of current psychiatric practice and the pharmaceutical industry that underlies and supports it.  The extent of referencing is very impressive, as is the prescription to provide more education in evaluation of evidence in medical training.  The book involves the reader directly and forcefully, making for very interesting and informative reading.  Its urging of skepticism of what is put forth by the formal and informal media, including textbooks and journals, is well placed!”

Barbara Starfield, M.D.
University Distinguished Professor
John Hopkins University & Medical Institutions

“This is an excellent book.   It is readable and informative at the same time providing a useful summary of many areas of complex scientific literature.  It clarified several murky areas very well, such as how scientists measure neurotransmitters.  The book managed to convey the complexity of the human brain and how the psychiatric literature oversimplifies the situation with its myths about chemical imbalances.  Dr. Scott also has some very sensible advice for reducing emotional distress and living a fulfilling and worthwhile life.  I am glad that Dr. Scott highlighted the story of HRT.  For decades this medication was believed to reduce the risk of heart disease and was recommended on this basis for every menopausal woman.  When proper trials were finally conducted, it turns out that it raises the risk of heart disease as well as other diseases such as cancer.  This story illustrates the damage that can be done when commercial interests are too influential and should make all doctors think very carefully before they reach for the prescription pad.”

Joanna Moncrieff, M.D.
Consultant Psychiatrist & Senior Lecturer
Department of Mental Health Sciences
University College London

“In this field I salute your work, and I’d recommend it as the most forceful and persuasive critique of psychiatric drug treatments I’ve read.”

Richard Gosden, Ph.D.
University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia

“I have been involved for more than 20 years with efforts to develop more effective treatment options for those experiencing psychotic events and other severe crises.  In our practice in Finland we noted that people are best met in their homes immediately after a crisis begins, that their families should be invited to joint processes from the very beginning, and all analysis and conclusions should be made in open forum, not by professionals behind closed doors.  Our results are virtually the opposite of EBM recommendations.  If antipsychotics were not used in psychotic patients, 85% could return to active social life.  In his book Dr. Scott gives convincing evidence of how the studies behind the mainstream treatment recommendation actually are not valid and manipulate the given information in many ways.  Dr. Scott’s book will help professionals together with clients to change treatment practices for the better.  The book should be one of the basic readings for those entering medicine, psychology, social work, nursing and other related disciplines.  Because of its profound list of references, the book is an irreplaceable source for every researcher of depression and psychosis.”

Jaakko Seikkula, Ph.D.
Professor of Clinical Therapy
Dept. of Psychology, University of Jyvaskyla, Finland

“Buyer beware!  In America Fooled, Tim Scott, Ph.D., shows us the inner workings of the pharmaceutical industry and how their number one goal is to increase product sales.  Nowhere is this more true than in the anti–depressant industry, yet the research data is not there to support the wide–scale use of anti–depressants.  America Fooled will help you to understand this dynamic and to make informed decisions on your own.”

Lee Lipsenthal, M.D., ABHM
President of The American Board of Holistic Medicine

“America Fooled is a powerful, easy–to–read account of the vast body of research exposing the damaging myths promoted by the drug industry and many psychiatrists. It is a marvelous accomplishment. Before deciding whether to accept a simplistic chemical imbalance explanation for the problems you or your loved ones are experiencing, and before accepting the antidepressant or antipsychotic drugs that are so freely prescribed today, read this book.  Dr. Scott has provided a true service to the American and the international public.”

John Read, Ph.D., Editor, Models of Madness
Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychology
University of Auckland, New Zealand

“It is hard to put this book down once you begin reading it because Dr. Scott has said so clearly exactly what needs to be said about a massive misinformation campaign of the pharmaceutical industry.  Both prescribing physicians and patients considering psychotropic drugs will find it enlightening to discover the importance of critical reasoning about our current state of industry–sponsored medical research. One is led to wonder whether we have found the equivalent of the medieval barbers in the modern era.”

Leemon McHenry, Ph.D.
Bioethicist, California State University, Northridge
Research Consultant, Baum-Hedlund Law Firm

“I’ve finished reading your book and found it really very informative, useful and shocking.  I’ve already recommended it to many people . . . . In Auckland we practice critical appraisal of the research literature as a routine part of our Journal Clubs in Psychiatry.  There are rarely papers that stand up to critical scrutiny, and having done clinical research myself, I know how incredibly hard it is to do ‘good’ research in practice.  Despite all that, I never realised how utterly inadequate the data is for many of the medications we prescribe routinely.  Although I believe you have captured something very important in your book about the way the pharmaceutical companies deceive us (and possibly themselves), I find it hard to believe the extent of the deception . . . even though I’ve experienced many of the side effects myself (and at huge personal cost in terms of my voice in particular).”

Patte Randal, LRCP, MRCS, D. Phil.
Medical Officer in Rehabilitation Psychiatry
Senior Clinical Supervisor, Auckland, NZ

“What a fabulous book!  It is one of the best books I have read about the dangers of bad research, sloppy thinking, ignorant claims, fraudulent expertise and sheer drug–company–sponsored corruption. . . . I will continue to tell friends about this remarkable book.  It is such a pleasure to read!”

Jeffrey Masson, Ph.D., Former Psychoanalyst
Former Project Director, Sigmund Freud Archives
Author, The Assault on Truth, Against Therapy, & Final Analysis

“As a professor of clinical psychology working with severely mentally ill patients, I very much welcome America Fooled, which provides a timely antidote to the excessive claims of drug companies and biological psychiatrists.  Not only does it offer a welcome critical analysis of the evidence on the effects of pharmacological interventions for psychiatric problems, but it also provides a compelling analysis of the reasons why belief of these interventions is so at odds with the actual evidence.  I recommend it not only to trainee clinical psychologists but also to anyone who is interested in the state of our mental health services today.”

Richard Bentall, Ph.D.
Professor of Clinical Psychology
University of Manchester, Great Britain
Author, Madness Explained: Psychosis and Human Nature

“I know that being an American does not necessarily make one a fool, but the drug companies would like to treat you as one.  Your book tells the truths that are desperately needed to wise up our nation—truths about drugs and deception, including Zoloft and its insidious cousins.  Those who read your book may conclude that FDA stands for ‘Fools Don’t Ask.’”

Tom Greening, Ph.D.
Clinical Professor of Psychology, UCLA
International Editor, Journal of Humanistic Psychology

“This is a terrific book and, as far as I know, is the best referenced and most insightful book currently available critically analyzing psychiatric drugs.  It would be an invaluable reference for anyone concerned about the risks associated with taking antidepressants.”

Sharon Beder, Ph.D.
School of Social Sciences, Media and Communication
University of Wollongong, Australia

“America Fooled is a clear, factual, easily read presentation of the data on the brilliant marketing of psychiatric drugs which are not as helpful as advertised and are a lot more dangerous.  Everything is documented carefully, but it is never dull.  Every patient and mental health professional today needs to be familiar with what is in your book.”

Bertram P. Karon, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Psychology
Michigan State University, East Lansing

“I believe America Fooled challenges our apparent cultural preference for a quick medical fix for depression and other mental health disorders by closely examining the data and exposing the marketing hype surrounding psychotropic medications.  After reading the book, consumers will have to ask themselves a hard question, ‘Is there enough evidence of benefit for most psychotropic drugs to outweigh the growing evidence of risk?’”

David Antonuccio, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
University of Nevada School of Medicine

“I greatly enjoyed reading America Fooled.  I highly recommend your book as a prescription to every person who is seriously concerned about mental health.  Unfortunately, it is not just America that has been fooled.  My nation has also experienced the harmful promotion of biological psychiatry’s fraudulent concepts and myths.   I certainly hope that America Fooled will be a light that will benefit America and the world.”

Dr. Joseph Isaac
Consultant Clinical Psychologist
Medical College Hospital, Kottayam, India

“America Fooled . . . is very well done—comprehensive, well researched and sober in tone.  America Fooled is the right title, too, for it accurately describes the incredible gulf between what people have been led to believe about psychiatric drugs, and what results they have actually produced . . . .  The powers that be, and this starts with the medical journals, simply won’t let the debate begin, not in any full–fledged way.  And the reason they won’t, I believe, is precisely because any evidence–based review of the research literature, as you have done, will reveal that America has indeed been fooled.  And so the deception goes on, and the money continues to flow to the medical journals, etc. . . .  But you know all this.  Congratulations on your fine book, and for fighting the good fight.  The human cost of this deception to American society is enormous.”

Robert Whitaker
Award–winning Medical Writer
Author, Mad in America, Anatomy of an Epidemic