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Making US Crazy: DSM - The Psychiatric Bible and the Creation of Mental Disorders (Psychology/self-help) [Paperback]

Herb Kutchins , Stuart A Kirk
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
RRP: 14.99
Price: 14.69 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

25 Oct 2001 0094797102 978-0094797109
Making Us Crazy is a powerful and challenging book which forces us to question the labels which are now commonly imposed on us by the American bible of mental syndromes.'

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Making US Crazy: DSM - The Psychiatric Bible and the Creation of Mental Disorders (Psychology/self-help) + Doctoring the Mind: Why psychiatric treatments fail + Madness Explained: Psychosis and Human Nature
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Product details

  • Paperback: 332 pages
  • Publisher: Constable & Robinson Ltd. (25 Oct 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0094797102
  • ISBN-13: 978-0094797109
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15.6 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 492,934 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Attention all mental health practitioners! Do you strive to be "evidence based" in all that you do? Do you accept only scientific studies as constituting "evidence" on topics of diagnosis and treatment?
Most importantly, do you choose to refer to the DSM-IV (or earlier editions) to make definitive, scientific diagnoses?
Well, read this book to have your blinkers removed! The authors (a professor of social work and a professor of social care) argue persuasively that a large number of the identified behavioural disorders are defined because of political, social and economic reasons, sometimes with no scientific backing at all - sometimes even in direct contradiction to scientific evidence available.
This book however is no "anti-psychiatry" rant. Instead, the authors acknowledge the "reality" of mental illness, and the pain and suffering that it causes to many people and their families.
What they do object to is the increasing "medicalisation" of behaviours which never before have been considered "disorders" and which stigmatises the individual AND significantly alters peoples' rights in areas such as the courts and employment.
Don't unthinkingly refer to the DSM in the assumption that it is a valid, scientific resource...read this book and have your assumptions about mental disorders challenged.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Diagnosing the DSM? 27 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
interesting read but I found some of the 'arguments' overly critical and 'clutching at straws', albeit the book as a whole is quite interesting and really makes you think twice about the DSM and it's use.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for would-be psychologists et al 5 Dec 2000
By A Customer
This was on my wish list and some kind soul bought it for me. This was a book I couldn't put down. Some of the articles are disturbing as some things we take for granted about mental illness appear to have been made up by social and environmental stigma. SPOOKY!!!!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars advertising advertising advertising 26 Sep 2013
never trust a book on which the name of the person who wrote the foreword features in larger letters than the person who actually wrote the book.
if even the front cover is trying to con you, the rest aint gonna be much good.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important Book, if not always an easy read 27 Sep 2000
By Nancy E. Macdonald - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
For those of us who eagerly consume critiques of the mental health industry, this book is not necessarily what we have come to expect. I often expect what amounts to a quick adrenalin rush, with horror stories of abuse by the system driving me to the barricades. Kutchins and Kirk do not provide a quick rush, nor even a quick read. But when you find yourself on the barricades, they do give you the ammunition.
This is a very detailed social/political history of the DSM, in and out of committee meetings and individual correspondence, providing the evidence of the point made so well by others such as Kaplan: that the DSM is in fact a political document, evolving to suit conflicting political and financial interests. More than a story of good guys and bad guys, much of this history includes the sad moral of unintended consequences, as in the fight to get PTSD into the DSM.
I teach undergraduate psychology, and I applaud the authors' coherent explanations of technical issues such as reliablity and validity of assessment. My teaching experience informs me that this is a tedious exercise for most students, and, I assume, for the educated lay readership to whom Kutchins and Kirk appeal. But it is critical to the central theme of the story: the misuse of the aura of science to mask a fundamentally political process.
Are there victims and villains of this process? Of course, and they are the usual villains: a system of managed care, and a variety of bureaucracies and agencies pursuing government funding, grants and influence based on ultimately manipulated numbers. And the usual victims: the over-labelled, over-prescribed and stigmatized recipients of "care".
The story wanders through so many mazes that a reader may lose the thread: PTSD, homosexuality, female masochism, borderline personality disorder. Each story differs in who started the process of getting a diagnosis in or out of the DSM, the motivation for doing so, the outcome of the fight, and the specific consequences. Fortunately, the authors provide an excellent summary in the last chapter, and weave those threads back together.
More than once in reading this book, I found myself thinking that every political or social issue fight needs its policy wonks. Kutchins and Kirk may be our wonks.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well argued, Well Written, A Work With Vast Implications For the Mental Health Industry 9 Dec 2005
By Justin M. Teerlinck - Published on Amazon.com
This expose represents the most thorough documentation that psychiatry is a psuedo-science to date. The proof that psychiatry is no more (and possibly much less) than the mere sum of its internal politics is amply provided by the authors in the form of personal correspondance between the brightest minds and most powerful leaders of the discipline. For the impatient or the semi-literate, a long, slow read lies ahead. For those with an eye for detail, prepare to witness the unraveling of the most influential scientific institution in America, decades in the making. According to this book shouting matches, voting, back door meetings and boycotts were the "data" that came to comprise what most people believe is a scientific definition of mental illness, the DSM-IV in a process that better resembles the way a legsilature works as opposed to scientific research. The authors take great care to not inflate the value of their findings. The book is written by a journalist and a social worker and was not vetted or peer reviewed by Scientologists, angry parents of drugged kids, or psychiatrists--and this provides the most convincing evidence of its overall credibility. Really, this is a rare work of valid, honest journalism covering a subject that is mostly the domain of anonymous hotheads and arrogant "experts" all of whom are making claims without evidence in service of their own personal or professional objectives. In this sea of muckety-muck, this book is an island of reason.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extremely important book 29 Jan 2006
By Russell W. Carrington - Published on Amazon.com
Those who give this book a one star rating most likely have interests that are being threatened. Drug company representatives? Drug prescribers? So, pull down the average rating and reduce the number of people who buy it. It's what the republicans try to do to Al Franken's books.

The book conveys facts in a neutral, understated tone, and from those facts develops reasonable beliefs. Which ideas did you disagree with? That the diagnostic categories lack reliability and validity? That DSM has been shaped more by special interests than by science? That the criteria for each diagnosis are purely arbitrary?

Read the book. You'll think twice about letting someone you care about be diagnosed.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Putting the DSM in perspective. 18 Dec 2007
By B. Nolan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read this book to flesh out my own background in the history of the DSM for a History of Psychology class that I am teaching. I found the book insightful, informative, and well written. I would recommend it to anyone who has interest in the politics behind the creation of the DSM.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book 6 Feb 2013
By Abby Etherton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Great read. It was good for the prce and was a good read. No problems. Product came fast. I would recommend it.
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