Madness Explained: Psychosis and Human Nature Hardcover – 5 Jun 2003
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'Madness Explained is a substantial, yet highly accessible work. Full of insight and humanity, it deserves a wide readership.' -- The Sunday Times
'Will give readers a glimpse both of answers to their own problems, and to questions about how the mind works' -- The Independent Magazine --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Paperback.
About the Author
Richard P. Bentall holds a Chair in Experimental Clinical Psychology at the University of Manchester. In 1989 he received the British Psychological Society's May Davidson Award for his contribution to the field of Clinical Psychology.
Top customer reviews
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.
Confession 2: Before I started this book I was expecting a deeply negative perception of modern psychiatry and little in the way of concrete evidence to support any alternative hypothesis. I anticipated this book to he read mainly by other psychologists, anti-psychiatrists and disgruntled patients.
However, I rapidly discovered that this is not the start of a new anti-psychiatry movement but in fact a fascinating, open-minded review of the current thinking about madness.
The first third of this book should be read by everyone involved in or interested in psychiatry, psychology, or just madness. It is a brilliant and genuinely gripping synthesis of the journey from dark age beliefs about madness to the current concepts. The author makes this potentially dreary history lesson vibrant, relevant and insightful and brings alive many of the key players whose legacies have outlived them, whether deservedly or not.
After this the author then goes on to explore in quite significant detail, the psychological and biological research into psychosis and related conditions. This is predictably heavier going but worth persevering with for the exciting and occasionally startling revelations.
As a result, he fairly comprehensively dismantles the traditional model of psychiatric classification but manages to bring even the most sceptical reader with him through this process.I did not find this as controversial as I expected, as most practising psychiatrists are already aware of the significant overlap in diagnoses and symptoms of these disorders. Richard Bentall then formulates draft models for approaching particular psychiatric symptoms.
There is much less controversial material in this book than I expected. The research discussed is reasonably balanced and the conclusions are tentative and never fundamentalist.
However, although interesting, evidence-based and realistic, the practical applications of the symptom-directed approach are not at all clear. Abandoning traditional psychiatric diagnoses altogether would at present leave patients, carers and health professionals with even less framework for approaching treatment, suggesting aetiology or predicting prognosis. This book may encourage us to be more flexible and patient-centred but I cannot yet see it changing frontline mental health care.
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Had a quick flick through - lots and lots of content with references!
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