read online Textbooks Madness Explained: Psychosis and Human NatureAuthor Richard P. Bentall –

Part Of A Growing International Movement To Change The Face Of Mental IllnessIs Madness Purely A Medical Condition That Can Be Treated With Drugs Is There Really A Clear Dividing Line Between Mental Health And Mental Illness Or Is It Not So Easy To Classify Who Is Sane And Who Is Insane InMadness Explained Leading Clinical Psychologist Richard Bentall Shatters The Modern Myths That Surround Psychosis This Groundbreaking Work Argues That We Cannot Define Madness As An Illness To Be Cured Like Any Other That Labels Such As Schizophrenia And Manic Depression Are Meaningless, Based On Nineteenth Century Classifications And That Experiences Such As Delusions And Hearing Voices Are In Fact Exaggerations Of The Mental Foibles To Which We Are All VulnerableWe Need, Bentall Argues, A Radically New Way Of Thinking About Psychiatric Problems One That Does Not Reduce Madness To Bain Chemistry, But Understands And Accepts It As Part Of Human Nature Bentall Destroys Many Of The Foundations Underlying Psychiatric Thinking Oliver James A Monumental Study Brave, Well Researched And AccessibleScotland On Sunday Bental Demystifies Psychosis And Restores The Patient To A Proper Place With The Rest Of Humankind Aaron T Beck

10 thoughts on “Madness Explained: Psychosis and Human Nature

  1. says:

    I would have given this book four and a half stars were I able.In any case, I found Bentall s book very accessible from a non specialist s point of view Throughout, he argues that Emil Kraepelin s foundational schema for classifying madness into manic depressive and dementia praecox is fraught with a number of problems and should be abandoned In its place, psychiatrists should take a symptom oriented approach Rather than diagnosing a patient with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, psychiatrists should diagnose their patients as having delusions, paranoia, episodes of mania, and treat them accordingly There is little convincing evidence of there being a single underlying cause disease behind the various and differing complaints afflicting patients with schizophrenia, for instance bipolar disorder, it seems, is a much unified problem than schizophrenia since the latter encompasses symptoms ranging from paranoia to disordered speech to catatonia this being said, Bentall would still have a problem with grouping together all those who have experienced episodes of mania.When I checked this book out of the library along with a few of R D Laing s works I didn t think I d end up reading the whole thing But I did because Bentall s writing made the reading easy and the arguments clear.Three things I want to point out 1 More research should be done on bipolar disorder as Bentall states a number of times, much effort has been put into studying families and groups of people affected by schizophrenia than has been put into studying those with or affected by bipolar disorder 2 Drug companies are companies and want your money So though some drugs are useful for some people I would never dispute this point , drugs are not always necessary Sometimes therapy or generic medications are better Bentall does a good job of dispelling the myth that studies always or even often reveal the truth about medication and disorders 3 Bentall could have spent some time on auras as, for instance, they are experienced by those with migraines and or epilepsy More needs to be said about how these two problems relate to mental illnesses Is there a continuum between them or are they discrete phenomena I already know that Bentall would reject the latter option But how might auras and madness be connected

  2. says:

    I have been a fan of Bentall s ever since the early 1990s, when Harper s published an excerpt from his Proposal to Classify Happiness as a Psychiatric Disorder see I dutifully tracked down the original, and it was just as clever, insightful and deadpan funny as I expected So when I came across a mention of this book recently, I had to read it.It was interesting and informative but OMG is it a slog The book is intended to be intelligible to a lay audience and persuasive for a professional one, so it has plenty of background info to bring average readers up to speed as well as detailed explanations to answer specialists objections to Bentall s arguments Here are two small examples of the explanations provided for readers very ignorant of the basics involved in the discussion, including the fact that research into madness occurs in many different countries around the globe it has been suggested that the average age at which women develop schizophrenia symptoms is later than the average for men because the female hormone oestrogen confers protection against psychosis apparently, oestrogen shares some of the pharmacological properties of the neuroleptics, the class of drugs most widely used in the treatments of psychotic patients emphasis added I am indeed fascinated by that bit of information But seriously who doesn t know that oestrogen is the female hormone Why did that label need to be included I realize it s only three words, but when you have a book over 500 pages long, even three extra words in every single paragraph and there are indeed at least three extra words in every single paragraph add up Likewise, no researchers mentioned in this book are ever just psychologists or psychiatrists no, they are British psychologists or American psychiatrists or Australian clinicians, or located in Manchester or Los Angeles or Perth I really don t see why Bentall has to mention the nationality and or location of anyone whose work he cites, but apparently someone thought it was important I can t be the only one who just doesn t give a shit and would have preferred to see the text move along quickly.Still, I loved Bentall s basic project of questioning the neoKraepelinian project that there is an unambiguous dividing line between the psychologically healthy and the psychologically disturbed, that there is a finite and countable number of different mental illnesses and that these types of illness must be explained primarily in terms of aberrant biology I liked that his approach allows us to make sense of in Jaspers terminology, both explain and understand the actual experiences of men and women who receive diagnoses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder it does seem to respect the humanity of the mad in ways that other approaches do not, as when Bentall suggests that clinicians who doubt patients complaints about the devastating effects of neuroleptics get over those doubts by taking the medication themselves, as some researchers, Bentall included, have done And I will be continue to ponder his suggestion that not just madness but illness may be culturally determined and that it just might be possible to be mad in one culture but at the same time sane in another and that what really matters is how well one functions in society, not whether one s brain fits the Krapelinian idea of biologically normal.

  3. says:

    The title of this book is misleading Bentall has no better but, in my view, a potentially confusing explanation of madness then those he wishes to supplant.He starts fairly well by critique ing the Kraepelin ian medical biological model of mental illness The reason why this reads well is because criticizing others is easy compared to bringing forth your own ideas The trouble is that apart from his ad hominems against the seminal figures of psychiatric history, Bentall s writing comes across as high and mighty and arrogant all these great figures of the past are wrong, and I will show my much better way he may not mean it that way, but to me it sure comes across that way But then he goes into a rather tedious enumeration of all sorts of predominantly psychological hardly any biological research which show a variety of opposing results and can only lead to conjecture He then uses these conjectures by his own admission highly conjectural to build up his explanation of mental illness But, in my view, his explanations are no explanations at all, they are just a psychological mapping of symptoms of psychosis To give an example there is a lot of research on formal thought disorder that Bentall presents as ground breaking and important he explains how researchers select from patients a group of thought disordered patients to compare with patients without thought disorder, and that subsequently the tests show that this group scored high on tests of certain linguistic abnormalities Well How did the researchers select the group of thought disordered patients in the first place Surely because they heard these patients talk in an unusual way i.e in a linguistically abnormal way So all these psychological tests prove nothing than that thought disordered patients arethought disordered I use this term as it is the one most used in current practice, but I agree with Bentall that it is inacurate.I m not sure who Bentall intended as an audience Surely not professionals like psychiatrists or psychologists when he writes things like don t worry, you won t need any knowledge of maths to understand what I am going to say And surely not the general public and possibly those suffering with mental illness, as they will get bogged down in a tedium of research results pro and con, and wont get past the first few chapters As they will be looking for CLEAR explanations about their condition and some practical advise on how to deal with their problems and there is none of that in this book.All in all, this book is a failed enterprise, and not worth the effort.

  4. says:

    I am going to enjoy this From the start it exposes that the way out of the epistemological quagmire that surrounds discussions of mental health or whatever you call it is to agree to agree with the most rudimentary taxonomies and classification systems provided they have coherence, stability and reliability Validity need never be in question in a world where pragmatic silencing in all its meanings is result enough.The huge weight of evidence that different psychiatrists using different systems from different cultures, plus other arbitrary factors, makes diagnosis and care a lottery The conceptualisation of madness is problematised one small but potent example is that an individual may be highly functioning occupationally and within the role of family nurturer while nevertheless be suffering inner torment The entire sweep of ideological assumptions going on suggests that we are in the dark ages when it comes to understanding the concepts of personal identity and individuality undivideness.This is not a quick read It is textured with particulars and details, but therein is a refreshing and much needed antidote to the sweepings of commercialised cures , teleological control, and damaging gross sentimentality It may enable a few readers who are service users to gain some perspective on the field, to some extent at least to stand above expertise and hidden assumptions for instance as evidenced in the unconscious stigmatisations and prejudices within the well meaning non statutory support systems and networks and be able to negotiate a recovery from much broader resources, the mental health field offering a scope of such resources, not any of which need necessarily utilising However, I think realistically that this book is not for everybody those who will find it connects will have made the connection with connection by the arbitrary outcome of their own backgrounds For me, what I particular appreciate about the book is the central emphasis upon emotion The expression of an individual has, of course, some relationship with the inner feelings , yet for clarity the inner world can be considered as an autonomous region, a place of subjective narratives and mood texture The apparent flatness or other mask of an individual should not and cannot be taken as a totalised encoding of their subjectivity, and hence a therapist s work, and indeed an individual s own interior work, has to be down where the outer social functioning is cut through , and this latter phrase is with reference to my review of Janic Galloway s, The Trick is to Keep Breathing.

  5. says:

    This book provides plenty of evidence that the current model of diagnosing and treating psychosis leaves a lot to be desired The author writes as if he s chatting with the reader while citing and footnoting endless research studies and other evidence to support his hypotheses and claims It sort of reads as a whodunnit in that he starts out investigating, proving and substantiating his assertion that human nature is than just sanity and insanity, mental health and mental illness We re not so black and white it seems, and we need to look into learning how to live in the grey This involves treating compassionately what we can and accepting as normal what we can t Because psychosis appears to be part of the human legacy, there is hope that if we learn to deal with it better, we just might evolve to phase it out.

  6. says:

    A very good, academic overview of how the problems with psychiatry and its traditional views of madness developed To me, the final section of the book, which was obviously the author s passion, should have been expanded This was also obviously his original intention, but he was told to limit it for space reasons something he mentions in the book I hope he went on to write other books.

  7. says:

    Finally done It was informational Lots to learn

  8. says:

    What a book

  9. says:

    Truly fascinating.

  10. says:

    A perfect introduction for people interested in a scientific approach to psychopathology