A square peg in a round hole: the construction of depression as a disease.

Another outstanding post by Joanna Moncrieff.

Joanna Moncrieff

This blog is a review of Gary Greenberg’s book, Manufacturing Depression: The secret history of a modern disease, Bloomsbury: London, 2010; 432 pp: (hbk). I wrote it originally in 2010, but it was never published. By publishing the review now, I hope it will provide a useful reflection for those who have already read Manufacturing Depression, and an incitement to read the book for those who have not.

In 1960 Thomas Szasz wrote “Mental illness is a myth, whose function is to disguise and render more palatable the bitter pill of moral conflict in human relations” (1). Like Szasz, Greenberg believes that how we view depression and other human problems is not an empirical, but a philosophical matter. Depression is not something that emanates from, and will eventually be identified, in the brain. It is a property of human relations and conduct. Greenberg follows Szasz in highlighting how…

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