Blue Dreams by Lauren Slater

Blue Dreams

A groundbreaking and revelatory history of our major psychotropic drugs, from "a thoroughly exhilarating and entertaining writer" (Washington Post). Although one in five Americans now takes at least one psychotropic drug, the fact remains that nearly seventy years after doctors first began prescribing them, we still don't know exactly how or why these drugs work--or don't work--on what ails our brains. Blue Dreams offers the explosive story of t...

Details Blue Dreams

TitleBlue Dreams
Release DateFeb 20th, 2018
PublisherLittle, Brown and Company
GenreNonfiction, Science, Psychology, Health, History, Medicine

Reviews Blue Dreams

  • Ashton
    This book BREATHTAKING! It was shocking! And anyone who says you shouldn't read it I think has something to hide!!! I received an advanced reader's copy of this book from the publisher, and because of how far behind I am on my reading schedule, took a couple of weeks to read it. Life just kept getting in the way, but no matter how many times I came back to it, I was blown away all over again. NO matter how many times. It would take only paragraph...
  • Kent Winward
    This book does a couple of things very well. First, it gives an excellent background on the history of psychiatric medicine and at the same time shows, more than it tells, just how hit and miss our use of psychotropic medications are. These drugs are dangerous and while they work for some, they certainly also come with a price. My wife and I are currently living daily with the price she paid for her psychiatric meds and I can guarantee that the c...
  • Karen Adkins
    There's a lot to like in this book; Slater's a psychologist and an experienced writer, so her history of medical treatments used to treat mental health is informative without being overly technical, comprehensive, and efficient. She's fair-minded, paying attention to the ways in which treatments have made the difference between people having lives outside of institutions, and also addressing the downsides (serious side effects, increased toleranc...
  • Judy
    Absolutely terrifying. Hard to imagine that our powerful psychotropic drugs can be so ineffective and misused. I found the section on placebos to be especially scary.
  • Rachel Blakeman
    This is a solid 3 star book. I was really interested in reading this after hearing the author interviewed however the boom takes detours I was underwhelmed by. The chapters on psychedelics, ecstasy and deep brain stimulation felt like a distraction. The SSRI chapter was probably the best. The book was the most interesting when she was writing about her own accounts. The researched sections suffered from a lack of editing by dragging on and on. In...
  • Meredith
    I’m pleased to say that I have zero first hand experience with prescription psychiatric meds. They seem like a shadowy world to which I have a tough time relating. But the author has decades of intimate knowledge, and uses that experience in weaving the stories of the development of various top-selling meds with her own needs and desires. This started off well, with a description of Thorazine, MOAIs and Prozac, then got a little slow in the par...
  • Ivana
    An extraordinary book, and one that left me with so many questions and so much desperation over the fact that, big pharma has once again determined the course of treatment for millions of people with various mental disorders, while all along crushing medicine that stands in the way of profits, and in its wake leaving those same millions of people suffering unnecessarily, denying them potential cure.It's a sobering account of the state of our ment...
  • Tyler
    Liked: history and science of psychoactive drugs. First person descriptions of being on various drugs and of symptoms of mental illness.Disliked: massive speculation about efficacy of particular treatments (very down on SSRIs despite self-described decades of benefit; very excited about hallucinogens despite never trying them and thin evidence).
  • Nancy
    Lauren Slater's way of describing the history of psychiatric medication is easily accessible and engaging for the lay reader. Her background as both a therapist and a patient gives the reader a believable look at this topic. The book moves from the well documented successes and failures of past mental health treatments to the benefits and side effects of current drugs to speculation on what might be possible when deep brain stimulation is approve...
  • Ann Campbell
    This was a fascinating mix of autobiography and nonfiction focusing on the history of treatment of mental illness and depression in particular. The author is forthcoming about her own history of depression and obsessive compulsive disorder and the cost her treatment exacts on her health. She is also a smart and coherent researcher with a personable writing persona. I hate “social science case study style” for lack of a better term. This book ...
  • Rhonda Lomazow
    Lauren Slater is open honest and raw holding nothing about her use of psychotropic drugs.This book is a fascinating at times horrific look at theses drugs their use the havoc they can cause in your body your life& those around you.Highly recommend .Thanks @littlebrown& @netgalley for advance readers copy,
  • Lisa
    Blue Dreams: The Science and the Story of the Drugs that Changed Our Mindsby Clinical Psychologist and best selling author of Prozac Diary, Dr. Lauren Slater, is a fascinating history of psychopharmacology told with scientific rigour along with the empathic recounting of the author’s own experiences. I enjoyed the chapters on antidepressants and on placebos but the chapters that really blew me away were the ones on psychedelics. Reading these c...
  • Christina Dudley
    This is a truly fascinating and excellent book by the author who also wrote another favorite of mine, OPENING SKINNER'S BOX. I picked BLUE DREAMS up because my mother-in-law suffers from dementia (and now related psychosis) and has moved beyond non-pharmacological solutions, so I wanted to learn more about the psychotropic drugs that are out there. Slater combines personal memoir, history of science, and cultural critique in looking at conditions...
  • Jt O'Neill
    Damn. I'm angry at Goodreads. I wrote the review and then hit SAVE but the review did not save. This is the second time this has happened and I am just venting. I know, I know, I should always copy before saving. Trust me, I will never not remember to do that again. So I don't have the whatever to write the whole thing over again. Just go with the idea that I found this to be interesting, informative , and somewhat discouraging. The history of th...
  • Meaghan
    I had to give a four for the tremendous amount of thorough research, but the author’s struggle with severe bi-polar and depression make this a difficult book to read. Reading “Blue Dreams” for too long at one sitting gave me a sense of her struggle and left me emotionally bruised to the point of vertigo. The tremendous amount of research documents successive failures of Scientists to “fix” the mentally ill. Her writing makes you feel th...
  • Shaun
    I received a copy of this book for free through a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway."Blue Dreams" is an interesting history wrapped around the personal story of the author, Lauren Slater. The history of psychotropic drugs is discussed from Thorazine to Prozac to psilocybin and MDMA. The book is laid out linearly from early drugs and procedures to "cure" mania and depression to what future may hold (neurosurgery for psychiatric disorders). It's a wel...
  • Louis
    Lauren Slater's Blue Dreams: The Science and the Story of the Drugs that Changed Our Minds explores the history of psychopharmacology, from the development of Lithium and Thorazine to more contemporary drugs. Although Lithium and Thorazine were clearly breakthroughs, an improvement over lobotomies and other treatments, concerns over their side effects and the development of newer drugs led to a decline in their use. Likewise, Prozac was initially...
  • Amy
    Lauren Slater has undertaken a monumental task in exploring the stories behind the development of psychopharmacology. As both a practitioner (she is a psychologist) and a patient, she has insights on par with Kay Redfield Jamison. In sometimes purple prose, Slater takes us from methylene blue to MDMA. At points, Slater doesn't delve as deeply as one could wish into the side effects and dangers of the different treatments available. For example, w...
  • Heath Kelly
    I found this book to be quite an eye opening experience. I admit I have near zero previous experience with anyone who has had serious depression/mania or any other mental illness. The way the book is written, both personally and from a research standpoint, allows a reader to truly understand what is going on inside of those minds. I personally found the psychedelic chapters on psilocybin and LSD, wonderful. As someone who experiments regularly wi...
  • Danielle
    A very interesting read. A bit of a "tougher" read as its subject matter is very analytical vs a traditional fiction novel or autobiography. The science in the book is not without merit. And while ultimately the author *****SPOILER******is pro-medication she makes some very interesting points on medications and its prescribers merritts. A pro and con if you will on prescriptions for mental health illness' and some philosophical (I felt) on how we...
  • Alisha Bennett
    4 stars with reservations.....this could have used a more effective editor to reduce the repetition which bogged down the technical aspects. Slater’s personal travails are of course the most gripping and put a face to the many problems of psychiatry and medicine. Provides a wonderful background on various techniques and takes head-on the criticisms psychiatry faces (lack of biological diagnoses or understanding of why some drugs work and others...
  • Ellen Keim
    As someone who takes several medications to treat my depression and anxiety, I found this to be an important but sometimes confounding book. The author has done her research, but seems to have a complicated relationship with psychiatric drugs herself. She is basically negative about their effectiveness for the population at large, but says repeatedly that they keep her sane and even though her physical health has been compromised by them, she wou...
  • Jenny GB
    I received a free copy of this book through Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you!For a subject matter that I don't normally read, I found this book quite fascinating. Each chapter focuses on a different drug that shaped the past, present, and possible future of modern treatment of psychological illness. Each chapter contains interesting history, personal stories, and analysis of the effectiveness of each treatment. I was especially shocked with the SSR...
  • Yannie Chan
    A very readable and informative chronicle of how psychiatry went from Freud, psychotherapy and freaking lobotomies to Prozac, profit-driven pharmaceutical companies and also its future, dotted with the author's personal journey with mental illness. It’s frightening how much we haven’t figured out. Psychiatry’s drugs have helped many people, but we have no idea how they work exactly and their long-term effects. We don’t even know what caus...
  • William
    Some books are just not as good as you want them to be. This one is in agreement with most of modern ideas of consciousness. Essentially our DNA sets us on a path to gathering information from our environment as quickly as possible, particularly while we are dreaming. Then the protein phenotype created by this initiating genotype state takes over to collapse all of the incoming probability waves of our world in order to construct our personal rea...
  • Christina
    Well written, weaves together personal and factual content. Slater is a good story teller, and the book is strongest where she tells her own experiences. Despite being a psychologist, she relies heavily on secondary sources and sometimes gets it wrong, such as by saying research finds that all therapeutic approaches are equally effective (they aren't and it doesn't). At times, the narrative jumps around and feels disorganized. However, this is an...
  • Sharon
    The author has been hospitalized for depression and has taken antidepressants most of her life. She has suffered their side effects. She describes psychiatry's journey through all the psychotropic drugs. She describes the effects of placebos. Slater considers the hallucinogenic drugs of the 60's and psychedelics. Deep brain stimulation is presented. She feels that hallucinogenics and psychedelics are not being used because big pharma would make l...
  • Ryan Mishap
    A selective history of psychopharmacology and a bit of memoir, this beautifully written book was fascinating--and sometimes frightening. While mind-altering drugs for mental health issues are commonplace today, a biological basis for mental illness was barely conceived of as recently as the 1950's. The scary thing is that we still have no biological basis, test, or idea for identifying why mental illness occurs nor how the drugs taken to combat i...
  • Virginia Franklyn
    This book was okay. It takes the reader through the history of psychotrophic drugs. It's overall pretty dry. There are some parts that are very interesting, such as the author's struggles with psychotrophic drugs and the use of psychedelics in psychiatry, but overall I was pretty bored reading it. Maybe I'm not the target audience. Maybe it's geared more toward the academic set. But I did learn some, so I give it 3 stars.