Ethan Watters lives in San Francisco. This essay is adapted from his book “Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche,” which will be published later this month by Free Press.
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Robert Hare for instance, one of the world’s leading authorities into psychopathy and the originator of the widely accepted ‘Hare Checklist’ used to test for psychopathy, remarked to Jon Ronson : ‘I shouldn’t have done my research just in prisons. I should have spent some time inside the Stock Exchange as well.’ ‘But surely stock-market psychopaths can’t be as bad as serial-killer psychopaths?’ the interviewer asks. ‘”Serial killers ruin families,” shrugged Bob. “Corporate and political … psychopaths ruin economies. They ruin societies.”‘
I pulled up in front of the hospital, frantically waiving for one of the clinicians who happened to be standing outside. “Call the police,” I said. “Hurry.”
Very few of these shows present psychiatric medication in a more ordinary way - as neither a miracle nor a curse. In real life, it helps many individuals living with a mental health condition to control negative symptoms in order to get by, day to day. Sometimes it helps people survive. Certainly, more research is needed to reduce the side effects of certain drugs and further understand which medications work for individual cases. But to so frequently depict psychiatric medication as destroying individuality or personhood reinforces the stigmas associated with taking it.
David Rosenberg is the editor of Slate ’s Behold blog. He has worked as a photo editor for 15 years and is a tennis junkie. Follow him on Twitter .