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Psychopharmacology emerged with the discovery of chlorpromazine in 1952. This led on to the discovery of other antipsychotics, antidepressants, tranquillisers, psychedelics and other drugs. Traditional histories tell of a liberation of the insane from their asylums. This history neglects the rise and fall of antipsychiatry, and the fact that many more people are both employed in and treated by the mental health industry now than ever before. The small companies who manufactured the first drugs have since become the most profitable corporations on the planet, apparently able to mould academic debate at will and to market psychiatric disorders more effectively than they can make new therapeutic agents.
In our efforts to govern ourselves through psychopharmacology, we have set up a future of cosmetic psychopharmacology. These developments have been largely unscrutinized.