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From the Edge of the Couch [Paperback]

Raj Persaud
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 1 May 2004 --  

Book Description

1 May 2004
You may think that vampires and werewolves were merely the stuff of bad Hollywood films and mysterious legends, but as Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Raj Persaud reveals, there are real people out there who believe they are werewolves and vampires. As a result, they behave in ways beyond our most disturbing dreams and the wildest fantasies of imaginative film producers. In the tradition of Oliver Sacks' bestselling book, THE MAN WHO MISTOOK HIS WIFE FOR A HAT, Dr Persaud uses authentic case studies to explain current thinking on brain function and emotional disorders - such as that of the man who could only get his sexual kicks by being crushed in garbage trucks, the film fan who embedded dozens of needles into his body in order to become a robot, and those who take dieting to the ultimate limit by obsessively giving blood or eating nothing but toilet paper. Through these and other conditions, such as Alien Hand Syndrome - where suffers believe that one of their own hands is out to harm them - Multiple Personality Disorder, Erotomania and the cases of some women in Turkey whose tears are actually filled with blood, Dr Persaud also suggests that we may not have as much free will and control over our bodies as we would like to believe and provides startling new evidence that these conditions might be more common than sceptical psychiatrists realize. Fascinating, illuminating and full of absorbing true case studies, FROM THE EDGE OF THE COUCH reveals how medical science is still struggling to fully understand the workings of the mind - and offers proof that fact really is much stranger than fiction.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Books (Transworld Publishers a division of the Random House Group); New edition edition (1 May 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553813463
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553813463
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 12.8 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,057,660 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'A thought-provoking book that's a 'must read'...Promises to do for psychiatry what Oliver Sacks' books have done for neurology' -- V S Ramachandran, Reith Lecturer, 2003 --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

Fascinating, illuminating and full of absorbing true case studies, FROM THE EDGE OF THE COUCH reveals how medical science is still struggling to fully understand the workings of the mind - and offers proof that fact really is much stranger than fiction. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
3.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Garbage 7 July 2010
Format:Paperback
If I could give this book zero stars, I would. I work in psychiatry and I have rarely come across a book that purportes to be a psychiatric work but that in reality is so poor. Persaud writes in the style of a self-loving, pompous out-dated psychiatrist who is too hung-up on outdated Freudian thinking and who has no grasp whatsoever of modern psychiatry - in fact, when I looked at the date it had been written I was amazed that it was so recent - it reads like a book straight out of out-moded Fifties psychiatric thinking. Honestly, books like this give psychiatry a bad name. Just glad I only paid 50p for it from a charity shop.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An insightful, engaging and accessible read 1 April 2003
Format:Paperback
I find this book to be a very insightful read. It certainly does a splendid job, bringing psychiatry to the mainstream. Books on this subject that are fit for general readership are rare and Raj Persaud writes in a manner that is very accessible and appealing. I think this book serves a very important function in ensuring that people are drawn to explore, read and be curious on a subject that is pivotal to our lives. After all, staying on top of things is of the essence. The counter-influences of culture, myth and taboos are also generously explored vis-a-vis medical conditions; making it a holistic assessment that is well researched and articulated. The book may appear considerable due largely to the narrative style of writing adopted by the author. No complaints on this front, as the narrative style makes it so much less forbidding to peruse through and enjoyable to a lay reader. Certainly one of the more interesting and enriching books I've picked up this year.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating read 7 May 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I thought this was an excellent and thoroughly fascinating read. I'm particularly interested in rare psychiatric disorders (e.g. Munchausen Syndrome, various paraphilias, alien hand syndrome, capgras syndrome - all of which are mentioned in this book) so it was simply delightful to come across a book which collated numerous bizarre cases. Persaud writes in a very clear and concise manner which makes the book more accessible to the general public. Highly recommended to anyone intrigued by abnormal/clinical psychology/psychiatry.
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Didn't like it 16 Jan 2007
Format:Paperback
I liked Raj Persaud when I first read something of his in New Scientist. I still like his writing style. He is apparently very well qualified at all sorts of things.

This book, at first anyway, gives a few psychiatric case histories, quite readable, and then brief 'explanations'.

This is only a review of the first 80 pages or so out of about 430. I didn't want to waste any more time on a book that includes the following:

"... the wish to kill the father figure in order to possess the mother. Bobby wished to destroy his father to win an Oedipal victory while Ms. A., so strongly attached to her own mother psychologically, wished to destroy her father symbolically to gain a negative Oedipal victory. In the regression to psychosis both acted on their unconscious wish to destroy the father figure, while a conscious delusion was that he wanted to destroy them." [...]
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7 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars All teaching, not a light read 14 Jun 2003
Format:Paperback
Having read similar books in this area, I have been impressed by the standard set (The Mummy at the Dining Room Table). Also being a psychology student, i have a knowledge of problems the human psyche endures. This book had short case-studies (which weren't too interesting, although mostly bizarre) followed by an extensive teaching session on the history of the disorder and lots of other related jargon. Some of the topics mentioned even went over my head.
Some contentious issues were also touched upon - finding God in the brain and assuming evolution is true. Firstly, trying to quantify a religious being that exists through faith is an area which is difficult to address without stepping on many toes. Also, much evidence is available which stands against evolution so to assign this as a potential cause for a disorder is not commendable. Well worth looking in to however.
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