Elliot Valenstein, Ph.D., professor emeritus of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Michgan, is author of five books, including the classic Great and Desperate Cures (Basic Books, 1986) and more recently Blaming the Brain: The Truth About Drugs and Mental Health (Free Press, 1998).
Are We “Blaming” Brain Chemistry for Mental Illness?
A decade ago, if you told your doctor you were depressed, drinking too much, or having obsessive thoughts, you would have been referred to a psychotherapist to probe your early childhood experiences. Today, your doctor might give you a prescription and one follow up visit. Psychiatrist Dennis Charney and psychologist Elliot Valenstein exchange views on the scientific foundations of biological psychiatry—the understanding of mental illness in terms of the biochemistry of the brain.