Psychiatry has turned into a disaster zone.

Here's why.

Edward Shorter

About Edward Shorter

A Harvard-trained social historian, Edward Shorter has held the Hannah Professorship in the History of Medicine at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine since 1991. In 1996, he was cross-appointed as Professor of Psychiatry in recognition of his rising profile as a historian of psychiatry. He is the author of numerous books on the evolution of the discipline, including A History of Psychiatry (1997); Before Prozac (2009); How Everyone Became Depressed (2013); and What Psychiatry Left Out of the DSM-5 (2015).

About The Rise and Fall of the Age of Psychopharmacology

The Age of Psychopharmacology began with a brilliant rise in the 1950s, when for the first time science entered the study of drugs that affect the brain and mind. But, esteemed historian Edward Shorter argues that there has been a recent fall, as the field has seen its drug offerings impoverished and its diagnoses distorted by the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders."

Latest Blog Post


Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) Isn’t All In Your Head

The Proto piece treats “Functional Neurological Disorder” (FND) with a kind of wounded indignation.  Finally, we know it’s not all in your head! But careful here.  Sure, there have been imaging findings.  But there are imaging findings for everything.  All thought involves cerebral activity that can be visualized in sophisticated imaging.  The reality of the…

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"Excellent...informative and intriguing..."

New England Journal of Medicine
(Before Prozac)

"Edward Shorter is one of the greatest historians of health care alive today, and maybe the most gifted writer on the topic. In this seminal book Shorter manages not only to bridge the gap between scholar and clinician, but also make a convincing case that psychiatrists have a lot to learn from the history of their own field."

—Ian Dowbiggin, PhD, FRSC, History Department, UPEI
(What Psychiatry Left Out of the DSM-5)

"A splendid book ... engaging and exceedingly well written, it both presents and compellingly documents a revision of history."

Journal of the American Medical Association
(A History of Psychiatry)

"Professor Shorter has written a fascinating, scholarly and helpfully provocative book on 'nerves,' nervous breakdown, anxiety and 'depression.' ...This fine book deserves a wide readership - it should be mandatory reading for all professions working in mental health care."

—Tom G. Bolwig MD, DMSc, Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
(How Everyone Became Depressed)

"Writing in a lively, exciting style packed with historical facts, Shorter brings to life the process of psychiatric drug discovery and development, enriching the fabric of his narrative wtih details about the persons involved....the book is a lot of fun to read."

The Journal of Clinical Investigation
(Before Prozac)

"Written in the Flesh is a fabulous book... I loved it. Edward Shorter provides great insight into the evolution and revolution of human sexual behaviour."

—Sue Johanson, C.M., R.N., sex educator and host of Sunday Night Sex Show and Talk Sex for Americans