So Brain Medications Help? Cry the Beloved Mind

By Vernon M. Neppe, MD, PhD

Cry the Beloved Mind; A Voyage of Hope represents a series of voyages in the pharmacology of psychiatry and neurology. This book reflects a single message: There is hope for the anguished patient. People can be helped, provided we are aware of the exact biochemical or electrical abnormalities involved and we have the appropriate interventions to alleviate the problems. Each of the twelve chapters is a unique voyage directed toward the same destination of exploration and hope.

In the early 1990s, I listened to a variant of troubling words that I had already heard many times before. "Doctor, I've consulted so many people, been on so many different treatments and nothing helps. It seems the only thing left for me is to die." This patient did not die. Instead, she improved immeasurably. Experiences such as this  were the defining moments that inspired me to write a book for patients and family members. The world of psychiatric and neurological medication is extremely complex, yet proper and often detailed evaluation should help even the most difficult of patients.

I began to make rough notes and to dictate ideas. I thought the book would be completed in six months. After all, what I planned would be just another book on psychopharmacology -- brain medications. I wanted the focus to be a self-help book, providing my opinions on treatment guidelines based on solid scientific information. But it was not to be. I realized that I had an obligation to produce the highest quality book I could. This meant it not only had to be readable; it had to be something more. I wanted to fascinate my readers with my own personal voyage of exploration, sharing with them the excitement that discovery can make and by so doing help others. However, it is important to note that people respond differently and they should always consult their physicians and not rely on this book (disclaimer) . Gradually, Cry the Beloved Mind: A Voyage of Hope was born. The gestation period was not six months but seven years of re-writing, re-thinking and re-directing.

Respect and hope were the key themes of this book. I tried to identify, compassionately, with every unique and important patient, to respect them, and to allow the reader to participate in an engaging medical detective mystery of finding solutions to the seemingly insoluble. I endeavored to make this book far more than pharmacology, and to deliver meaning for those who had lost it.

I hoped the reader will share with me some wonderful voyages of discovery. These included the first successful treatment of profound tardive dyskinesia, the awakening of the catatonic patient, the dousing of brain fires in both non-epileptic psychotic and aggressive patients, and the normalization of patients who have lost efficacy on antidepressants.

The chapters in Cry the Beloved Mind  form a series of linked stories blending several real patients together into one using the new literary style of "sciction"---- science through fiction (actually science through literature as the book is classified as non-fiction). Through composite case histories with fictitious dialogue, I tried to explore how correction of the underlying biology of the brain can do wonders for one's mind. The extensive dialogue allowed me to simplify complex areas and more easily target specific areas of the book, such as depression, anxiety, seizures, psychoses and movement disorders, for those who did not want to begin the book at the beginning. Finally, I realized I must emphasize how drugs interact with each other, and recognize that fashionable alternative medicines like St. John's Wort are commonly being used.

Also, there are deliberate diversions within each chapter to explore important social, medical and psychological issues such as normality, cause and effect, searches for meaning, gun control, informed consent, labeling of patients, generic substitution, jet lag, regulation of medications, historical perspectives in psychiatry, shock treatment, and techniques such as measurement of brain waves at home.

Finally, I wanted this to be a valuable reference work so I ended the book with comprehensive glossaries , as well as an index; An electronic version can be downloaded from the internet at: allows not only electronic searching for information but also allows readers outside the U.S. to easily acquire it.

No form of treatment is a panacea. While this book is intended to communicate how even the most difficult of patients may be helped by medication, it is not a comprehensive didactic exposition on pharmacology or on psychiatric disease. The appropriate medical specialist, not this book, should determine how, why and when to use a specific drug.

My primary hope is to help many in need, by enhancing knowledge of medical and neuropsychiatric conditions. I also offer the new literary direction of sciction -- a scientific non-fiction opinion linked with dialogue and composite case histories. I hope this will be the first in a series of Cry the Beloved books.
Vernon Neppe MD, PhD



Vernon Neppe MD, PhD, FFPsych, FRCPC  is an internationally respected neuropsychiatrist, an expert on brain medications. He is the author of two previous books intended for professionals, Innovative Psychopharmacotherapy and The Psychology of Déjà Vu. Cry the Beloved Mind is his first book targeted towards the general public. He and his family live in Seattle, WA, where he practices medicine as Director of the Pacific Neuropsychiatric Institute, as University of Washington clinical faculty and as Attending Physician at Northwest Hospital. Dr. Neppe also is adjunct Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO. He has acquired numerous board certifications, specialist qualifications and professional awards and he has published and lectured extensively around the world.


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