About the Author
Gary Greenberg is a practicing psychotherapist in Connecticut and the author of The Noble Lie, as well as a contributing writer to Mother Jones.
Kirby Heyborne is an accomplished actor, musician, and comedian who has received a number of AudioFile Earphones Awards for his audiobook narrations. He has had starring roles in over a dozen features and many short films. Kirby is also a cofounder and director of the Los Angeles-based improv comedy group The Society.
Mother Jones contributing editor and self-described “old-fashioned psychotherapist” Greenberg (The Noble Lie: When Scientists Give the Right Answers for the Wrong Reasons, 2008, etc.) ponders depression and its treatment through the ages. Thirty million Americans now take antidepressant medications. Is this sudden epidemic of depression “not so much the discovery of a long-unrecognized disease but a reconstitution of a broad swath of human experience as illness?” Life is tough, the world is an insecure and often merciless place, and there are bewilderments of loss, stresses and frustrations, not to mention the “melancholy cultivated through fifty years of absorbing life’s quotidian blows.” Call it the human condition, and Greenberg is the first to say the condition can be crippling; he has suffered bouts of deep depressions for years, smartly conveyed here, including participation in a clinical trial for an antidepressant. However, the author is suspicious that the drug came first and then a vast market was created for them through the interplay of pharmacological and insurance companies, doctors and the FDA. He is also distressed about the drugs’ exaggerated claims and sleight-of-hand efficacy statistics. Greenberg focuses heavily on the human element lurking behind the symptoms of depression and their context and meaning. During this tour of depression, the author engages in extended, illuminating discussions of a host of therapeutic techniques, the confounding power of the placebo effect, the evolution of psychopharmacology and the ways in which expectations shape response. A humanistic, witty exploration of the human response to depression.
“A lucid and revealing book…an unusually amusing, moving, and spirited account.” —Adam Phillips, The Nation
“[Greenberg] is an unusually eloquent writer, and his book offers a grand tour of the history of modern medicine, as well as an up-close look at contemporary practices.” —Louis Menand, The New Yorker
“A dizzying, dazzling critique. It is probably the most thoughtful book on depression ever written.” —Jonathan Rottenberg, Ph.D., Psychology Today
“Manufacturing Depression is full of fascinating stories…Greenberg’s greatest contribution, though, is insisting on few certainties, and in offering himself to us.” —Liz Else, New Scientist
“In a medicalized world of specious concepts where false hope has taken the form of a diagnosis and a pill, the only way to challenge current thinking is with a sledgehammer, or a copy of Manufacturing Depression. And best of all, this may be the funniest book on depression ever.” —Errol Morris, Academy Award-winning director of The Fog of War
“Greenberg[‘s] bouts of deep depressions [are] smartly conveyed here, including [his] participation in a clinical trial for an antidepressant…the author engages in extended, illuminating discussions of a host of therapeutic techniques, the confounding power of the placebo effect, the evolution of psychopharmacology and the ways in which expectations shape response. A humanistic, witty exploration of the human response to depression.” —Kirkus
“Greenberg elegantly dissects the medical-research-pharmaceutical complex….A splendid, witty analysis of how we came to give up the stories of our lives in favor of analyzing the alphabet of which the stories are made. An essential read for all invested in medicine and social science.” —Library Journal, starred review