Mother’s Little Helper: Psychiatry, Gender, and the Rise of Psychopharmaceuticals
Drugs Episode #4 of 4. For centuries, psychiatrists searched for the cure to mental illness, frustrated that medical doctors seemed to be able to find the “magic bullet” medications to fight disease and infection. In the mid 20th century, though, a series of new major and minor tranquilizers revolutionized the world of psychiatry. Doctors doled out Miltown, Librium, and Valium to stressed businessmen and frazzled housewives, using ad men to market these psychiatric wonder drugs to just about every ailment imaginable. In the process, psychopharmaceuticals became intertwined with the women’s rights movement, enflamed mid-century gender politics, and changed the way Americans thought about mental illness. Get the transcript at digpodcast.org
Bibliography & Further ReadingDavid Herzberg, Happy Pills in America: From Miltown to Prozac. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009.
Robert Whitaker, Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and teh Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America. New York: Crown Publishers, 2010.
David Healy, The Creation of Psychopharmacology. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002.
Jonathan Metzl, Prozac on the Couch: Prescribing Gender in the Era of Wonder Drugs. Durham: Duke University Press, 2003.
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