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Customer Review

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and inspiring - though sometimes a little dry for me, 21 Jan. 2010
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This review is from: Madness Explained: Psychosis and Human Nature (Paperback)
This book helps make 'madness' seem much more normal - which I think is a great accomplishment. It lays out the idea of organising symptoms into categories according to what causes most distress to the patient and what does no harm, rather than classifying all symptoms as something to be 'fixed'.

Speaking as someone with Bipolar Disorder (plus other related conditions), I find this approach refreshing. I have several symptoms that carry so much stigma these days, if I try to talk about them with people the general view is that I'm being scary, or possibly even disturbing. Furthermore, I go to the doctors and they want to drug me to get rid of everything 'wrong' with me and flatten my personality...when only 10% of these symptoms are actually causing me any distress!

I have read people's reviews here saying this book leaves things too open-ended and confusing because it removes the diagnostic framework. I can only guess a lot of these people are psychiatrists. Speaking as someone who is not a doctor but who LIVES with such disorders, it is my experience (as well as the experience of dozens of people I've met like me) that the traditional diagnostic criteria are abused in the medical world. These criteria are wonderful for pinpointing what's going on with a person, and helping them find answers and explanations for what troubles them - but people shouldn't be treated purely on this basis.

Bentall's notion to throw out conventional ideas of what is 'mad' and instead provide individualistic treatment for patients, specific to the symptoms that actually cause distress, would be just the sort of healthy overhaul the whole of psychiatrity desperately needs. My only critique was it felt a bit dry at parts, hence only 4 stars - but I will definitely be reading his newest book as well.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 11 Feb 2013 16:42:40 GMT
Antenna says:
Your very moderately worded comments chime with the views of my bi-polar son, but he expresses them in much more extreme terms and is currently sectioned. If you have any practical advice on how you manage to live in society, if you do, I would be very grateful to hear it.
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