Psychotropic medications have increasingly become a staple of modern life, with one in five adults now taking some kind of psychiatric pill. Consequently, our voracious consumption of psychotropic pills has begun to raise significant questions about how psychopharmacology radically transforms—modifies, manipulates, molds, and manufactures—human identities one pill at a time. Moreover, this biochemical micro-engineering of the human self has begun to emerge as one of contemporary culture's major preoccupations as new narratives—in memoir, literature, television, film, and popular music—have begun to explore not only mental illnesses themselves but also the medications we take to treat those illnesses. In this newly emergent genre, which I call the psychopharmacological thriller, new narrative techniques are being developed to probe the inner neurochemistry of the human brain, how medications alter that neurochemistry, and the wide-ranging questions raised by this brave new proliferation of psychopharmacology in everyday life.


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pp. 166-195
Launched on MUSE
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