© 2017

The Sedated Society

The Causes and Harms of our Psychiatric Drug Epidemic

  • James Davies

About this book


This edited volume provides an answer to a rising public health concern: what drives the over prescription of psychiatric medication epidemic? Over 15% of the UK public takes a psychiatric medication on any given day, and the numbers are only set to increase. Placing this figure alongside the emerging clinical and scientific data revealing their poor outcomes and the harms these medications often cause, their commercial success cannot be explained by their therapeutic efficacy.
Chapters from an interdisciplinary team of global experts in critical psychopharmacology rigorously examine how pharmaceutical sponsorship and marketing, diagnostic inflation, the manipulation and burying of negative clinical trials, lax medication regulation, and neoliberal public health policies have all been implicated in ever-rising psycho-pharmaceutical consumption. This volume will ignite a long-overdue public debate. It will be of interest to professionals in the field of mental health and researchers ranging from sociology of health, to medical anthropology and the political economy of health.


Critical Psychiatry Prescriptions Medicalising Mental Health Psychology

Editors and affiliations

  • James Davies
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Life SciencesUniversity of RoehamptonLondonUnited Kingdom

About the editors

James Davies holds a PhD in social and medical anthropology from the University of Oxford, UK. He is a Reader in social anthropology and mental health at the University of Roehampton, UK, practicing psychotherapist, and author of three books.

Bibliographic information


“I can recommend The Sedated Society as a stimulating case for the existence of overprescription and for the acknowledgment of the various harms associated with psychiatric medications. … Mental health clinicians, service-users, and researchers of all stripes will find the volume of interest.” (Daniel J. Dunleavy, metapsychology online reviews,, Vol. 22 (4), January, 2018)