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Breakdown: A Personal Crisis and a Personal Dilemma Paperback – 31 May 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 308 pages
  • Publisher: Pinter & Martin Ltd.; 3rd Revised edition edition (31 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905177208
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905177202
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 2.4 x 21.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 703,008 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'Incisive, unsentimental, whole unsparing, but full of humour and humanity (and often very funny), Breakdown remains one of the best accounts I know of a personal journey through manic depression. I think it will take its place among the modern classics of this literature.' Oliver Sacks

About the Author

Stewart Sutherland is Professor in the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Sussex. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Matus on 6 Mar 2008
Format: Hardcover
While I can understand the opinion of the previous reviewer, this is not a difficult book for anyone who has done a little background reading. And it has a lot going for it. First, Sutherland was an original and insightful thinker who wrote very clearly and was a first class psychologist. Second, he wrote completely openly about his illness in a way that few people would be brave enough to do. The source of his depression, which was bought on by sexual jealousy, is confronted unflinchingly and the details of his symptoms are described without reserve.

The most valuable part of the book is his description of the often counterproductive treatment he received, especially under psychoanalysis. This is followed by an extremely valuable discussion of the abuses that were, and perhaps still are, practiced under the guise of what today would be called cognitive behavioral therapy. This is essential reading for students of clinical psychology from one of the field's foremost past practitioners. A classic of its type.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Debra M. Ridley on 28 Jun 2011
Format: Hardcover
Although I have read reviews referring to Stuart Sutherlands book 'Breakdown' as being dated, I do wonder if these people have actually experianced mental illness as he did, or have asked themselves the question; " would I be brave enough to write a book of such uncontestable honesty if it was me that had experianced a Breakdown"?
One must also remember that Professor Sutherland not only experianced a 'Breakdown' First Hand but as an emminent Psychologist and leading Academic of the time, presumably crossed the paths of many individuals only too willing to 'wag the finger' and use the 'Doctor heal thyself' card !.
As a former Mental Health professional myself, I regret that never found the time to read this book until I was recovering from a period of mental illness some years later, and although society,health professionals etc might like to believe that the treatment and services available to those of us 'vunerable' to mental illness, has moved on since 'Breakdown' was first written, the truth is rather more subjective!
'Breakdown' is not a personal view of the comic satire 'One Flew over the Cookoo's Nest', it is a serious text that should be read by ALL students considering a career in Mental Health,for there is nothing as sobering to those of us who HAVE pursued such a career, as when we find ourselves on the 'wrong' side of the treatment sheet!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By DigiTAL on 24 Feb 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I always enjoy autobiographical accounts; in "Breakdown" Stuart Sutherland describes his experience as a psychology academic and manic-depressive (bipolar) sufferer. The original edition of this book was published in 1976, and it has been added to in the later editions.

Sutherland's condition was sparked by his wife's infidelity, eventually sending him into a depressive phase. I say "eventually" because it took a long time from her confession for it to actually bother him. In fact, Sutherland had a number of his own affairs, and the two of the stuck together doggedly for a long time. I guess it's a sign of how times have changed since the book's original publication.

The depression forces Sutherland to go to a mental hospital, and this part of the book is similar to a factual "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest". The depression eventually clears, and Sutherland enters his first manic phase, with these episodes being the least understood and most tragic episodes of his illness.

Given Sutherland's academic background, there is also a lot of material on the science and pseudoscience of mental illness, with a particularly withering put-down of Freudian psychoanalysis. (Another book on this theme that I'd recommend is Tavris and Aronson - "Mistakes Were Made, But Not by Me". This book shows that much of the "success" of psychoanalysis can be explained with the theory of cognitive dissonance.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D on 19 Mar 2014
Format: Paperback
There's a really simple reason why I like this book. I had a breakdown at a young age, my parents weren't a lot of help, so I did a lot of reading. This book was the only one that really made me feel I wasn't alone. Stuart Sutherland's honesty was both refreshing and reassuring. Brave at the time, too.

He describes accurately what having a breakdown is really like, and this was an immense comfort. It's difficult to put into words what having this book meant to me. Except that now, nearly 25 years later, I am moved to write a review.

He's since passed away, which I discovered a few years ago after trying to contact and write to thank him. It is not a cliché to say that if you change one person, even if only in a part of their outlook, you change a world. It is a fact that Stuart's book did this for me. I will always be grateful that he had the courage to write it.
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