The United States Food and Drug Association approved the prescription anti-depressant medication, Prozac, in 1987, changing the way Americans view the treatment of mental illness. How did this single pill also change the role of pharmaceutical companies in America and the medicinal treatment of mental illness? What has been gained in treating and understanding depression since and how, if at all, has the controversy over defining “mental health” evolved? Has anything been gained by taking therapy from the couch to the drugstore?
Peter Conrad, Ph.D. is the Harry Coplan Professor of Social Sciences at Brandeis University. His current research is on the structure and meanings of biomedical enhancement, focusing on the Human Growth Hormone, breast augmentation and the potentials of genetic enhancement. He has served as chair of the Medical Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association and President of the Society for the Study of Social Problems. Peter Conrad has published nine books or monographs and over 100 articles or chapters.
Joseph Bevilacqua, Ph.D. has over twenty-one years experience as State Commissioner of Mental Health Services in Rhode Island, Virginia, and South Carolina, and currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Mental Health Association of Rhode Island. He previously served as Director of State Initiatives Office at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, in Washington, D.C. as well as numerous academic affiliations including Brown University, Medical College of Virginia, and the Medical University of South Carolina.
Peter Kramer MD is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown University. Called “possibly the best known psychiatrist in America” by the New York Times, he is the author of the international best seller Listening to Prozac and the principal host of the nationally syndicated public radio show, “The Infinite Mind.” He has made repeated appearances on major television and public radio news and commentary shows including Fresh Air, Oprah, and Charlie Rose. Dr. Kramer was a recent recipient of the Presidential Commendation of the American Psychiatric Association, for scholarship that makes the art and science of medicine accessible to a broad public.