This book is a very interesting autobiography by Canadian psychiatrist Abram Hoffer, MD.
Dr. Hoffer, starting in the 1950s, investigated the treatment of schizophrenia using (mostly) natural therapies with large amounts of certain vitamins, including niacin (vitamin “B3”, or niacinamide), vitamin C and other vitamins. He discusses different aspects of the treatment of schizophrenia and the history of the organizations that promoted orthomolecular treatments.
His main book on the subject is Healing Schizophrenia.
I’m interested in different sides of the story.
One side is the effectiveness (or not) of megavitamin therapy for mental illness–and how psychiatric illnesses are treated.
And the other side is the use of LSD in experiments on patients.
Also, I’m interested the different organizations involved in the research. This is one of the most interesting parts of his autobiography.
These orthomolecular researchers were mostly promoting natural therapies (to one extent or another) but on the other hand, they also seemed to have been part of the history of how mental disorders were more and more seen as something biological that needs to be treated with medicine of one kind or another–and mostly we ended up in the situation where we are not given that option of natural medicine at all by the mainstream.
Outside of this book, I’m also interested in the controversy about how some people dismiss the idea of mental illness altogether even though it seems logical to me that some abnormal states of mind are due to nutritional deficiencies.
But on the other hand, ironically, nowadays we face the prospect with the DSM-V manual of all normal human behaviors being considered mental disorders and treated with drugs that are sold as cures when they’re not!
In my view, there is a definite attack on our freedom already with the use of psychiatric drugs in all kinds of situations, and yet we also want to know what is the best natural way to maintain good health in body and mind.
We are not getting that information from the mainstream in my opinion. On the other hand, it looks like we need to be careful about information from all sources–and we should be careful to avoid falling into dialectic traps. “Mainstream” vs. “alternative.” Even the way I’m writing in this post illustrates a dialectic: “on the one hand” or “the other,” or “one side” or the “other side” as if there are two sides. Choice “A” or choice “B” or even choice “C” as if there are two or three choices. The implication is that one of them is valid and the whole story, but possibly none of them are fully valid and correct.
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