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Mental Illness


P O L L Y

P O L L Y Lowest new price: $7.95
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Author: Susan Friedlander

Susan Friedlander's memoir about Polly, her mentally handicapped sister, and about Susan's relationship with Polly. A poignant story, told with love, affection, and respect.


Shunned: Discrimination against People with Mental Illness

Shunned: Discrimination against People with Mental Illness Lowest new price: $59.07
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Author: Graham Thornicroft

People with mental illness commonly describe the stigma and discrimination they face as being worse than their main condition. Discrimination can pervade every part of their daily life - their personal life, working life, sense of citizenship, their ability to maintain even a basic standard of living. Though things have certainly improved in the past 50 years, discrimination against the mentally ill is still a major problem throughout the world. It can manifest itself in subtle ways, such as the terminology used to describe the person or their illness, or in more obvious ways - by the way the mentally ill might be treated and deprived of basic human rights. Should we just accept such discrimination as deeply rooted and resistant to change, or is this something that we can collectively change if we understand and commit ourselves to tackling the problem? Shunned presents clearly for a wide readership information about the nature and severity of discrimination against people with mental illness and what can be done to reduce this. The book features many quotations from people with mental illness showing how this has affected their home, personal, social, and working life. After showing, both from personal accounts and from a thorough review of the literature, the nature of discrimination, the book sets out a clear manifesto for change. Written by a leading figure in mental health in a lively and accessible manner, the book presents a fascinating and humane portrayal of the problem of stigma and discrimination, and shows how we can work to reduce it.

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Electroboy: A Memoir of Mania

Electroboy: A Memoir of Mania Lowest new price: $36.62
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Author: Andy Behrman
Brand: Brand: Random House Trade Paperbacks

Electroboy is an emotionally frenzied memoir that reveals with kaleidoscopic intensity the terrifying world of manic depression. For years Andy Behrman hid his raging mania behind a larger-than-life personality. He sought a high wherever he could find one and changed jobs the way some people change outfits: filmmaker, PR agent, art dealer, stripper-whatever made him feel like a cartoon character, invincible and bright. Misdiagnosed by psychiatrists and psychotherapists for years, his condition exacted a terrible price: out-of-control euphoric highs and tornadolike rages of depression that put his life in jeopardy.

Ignoring his crescendoing illness, Behrman struggled to keep up appearances, clinging to the golden-boy image he had cultivated in his youth. But when he turned to art forgery, he found himself the subject of a scandal lapped up by the New York media, then incarcerated, then under house arrest. And for the first time the golden boy didn’t have a ready escape hatch from his unraveling life. Ingesting handfuls of antidepressants and tranquilizers and feeling his mind lose traction, he opted for the last resort: electroshock therapy.

At once hilarious and harrowing, Electroboy paints a mesmerizing portrait of a man held hostage by his in-satiable desire to consume. Along the way, it shows us the New York that never sleeps: a world of strip clubs, after-hours dives, and twenty-four-hour coffee shops, whose cheap seductions offer comfort to the city’s lonely souls. This unforgettable memoir is a unique contribution to the literature of mental illness and introduces a writer whose energy may well keep you up all night.


From the Hardcover edition.

Put sex, drugs, art forgeries, and manic depression into a blender, run it at top speed for 10 minutes, and out pops Electroboy, Andy Behrman's high-octane autobiography. The story begins as an exhilarating view into the manic's world, with spontaneous flights to Tokyo, sketchy East Village bars, and a nonstop inner dialogue that makes your pulse race just to keep up. The remainder of the book slows down considerably, starting with Behrman's New Jersey childhood and winding through a successful education, a rapid accumulation of debts, a forged painting scam that lands him in prison, and finally a series of electroshock treatments that allow him to find some balance in life at last.

Between titillating tales of stripping for extra cash and excessive drug use, Behrman charts his experiences with therapists and a wide variety of prescription medications. No clear picture is presented of his attempts at counseling; there is much skipping around between therapists, from whom he manages to hide the extent of his difficulties. In his first experience with Prozac, he doubles his original dose "to speed up" and later fires his psychiatrist for "medicating him like an absolute lunatic." This tale alone makes his doctors come across as more sympathetic characters than Behrman might have intended. Like many confessional memoirs, Electroboy is a blunt tale that relies heavily on the shock value of his über-yuppie behavior, which ends up detracting from the potentially fascinating story of his illness. --Jill Lightner

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My Daughter Susan Smith

My Daughter Susan Smith Lowest new price: $10.70
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Author: Linda H. Russell

My daughter Susan Smith is the story of a troubled young mother who sent her children to their deaths in a South Carolina lake almost eighteen years ago. This book is a quest for understanding -- for those close to Susan and for others.

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Understanding the Borderline Mother: Helping Her Children Transcend the Intense, Unpredictable, and Volatile Relationship

Understanding the Borderline Mother: Helping Her Children Transcend the Intense, Unpredictable, and Volatile Relationship Lowest new price: $63.99
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Author: Christine Ann Lawson
Brand: Brand: Jason Aronson

The first love in our lives is our mother. Recognizing her face, her voice, the meaning of her moods, and her facial expressions is crucial to survival. Dr. Christine Ann Lawson vividly describes how mothers who suffer from borderline personality disorder produce children who may flounder in life even as adults, futilely struggling to reach the safety of a parental harbor, unable to recognize that their borderline parent lacks a pier, or even a discernible shore. Four character profiles describe different symptom clusters that include the waif mother, the hermit mother, the queen mother, and the witch. Children of borderlines are at risk for developing this complex and devastating personality disorder themselves. Dr. Lawson's recommendations for prevention include empathic understanding of the borderline mother and early intervention with her children to ground them in reality and counteract the often dangerous effects of living with a 'make-believe' mother. Some readers may recognize their mothers as well as themselves in this book. They will also find specific suggestions for creating healthier relationships. Addressing the adult children of borderlines and the therapists who work with them, Dr. Lawson shows how to care for the waif without rescuing her, to attend to the hermit without feeding her fear, to love the queen without becoming her subject, and to live with the witch without becoming her victim. A Jason Aronson Book

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The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic

The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic Lowest new price: $26.75
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Author: Darby Penney
Brand: Brand: Bellevue Literary Press

 

The Lives They Left Behind is a deeply moving testament to the human side of mental illness, and of the narrow margin which so often separates the sane from the mad.  It is a remarkable portrait, too, of the life of a psychiatric asylum--the sort of community in which, for better and for worse, hundreds of thousands of people lived out their lives. Darby Penney and Peter Stastny's careful historical (almost archaeological) and biographical reconstructions give us unique insight into these lives which would otherwise be lost and, indeed, unimaginable to the rest of us.”—Oliver Sacks, M.D., Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center, Columbia University Artist, and author of Musicophilia

 

“The haunting thing about the suitcase owners is that it’s so easy to identify with them.”—Newsweek

 

“In their poignant detail the items helped rescue these individuals from the dark sprawl of anonymity.”—The New York Times

 

“[The authors] spent 10 years piecing together . . . the lives these patients lived before they were nightmarishly stripped of their identities.”—Newsday

 

More than four hundred abandoned suitcases filled with patients’ belongings were found when Willard Psychiatric Center closed in 1995 after 125 years of operation. They are skillfully examined here and compared to the written record to create a moving—and devastating—group portrait of twentieth-century American psychiatric care.

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Change Your Brain, Change Your Life: The Breakthrough Program for Conquering Anxiety, Depression, Obsessiveness, Anger, and Impulsiveness

Change Your Brain, Change Your Life: The Breakthrough Program for Conquering Anxiety, Depression, Obsessiveness, Anger, and Impulsiveness Lowest new price: $3.00
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Author: Daniel G. Amen
Brand: Harmony

BRAIN PRESCRIPTIONS THAT REALLY WORK
In this breakthrough bestseller, you'll see scientific evidence that your anxiety, depression, anger, obsessiveness, or impulsiveness could be related to how specific structures in your brain work. You're not stuck with the brain you're born with. Here are just a few of neuropsychiatrist Dr. Daniel Amen's surprising--and effective--"brain prescriptions" that can help heal your brain and change your life:
To Quell Anxiety and Panic:
¸  Use simple breathing techniques to immediately calm inner turmoil
To Fight Depression:
¸  Learn how to kill ANTs (automatic negative thoughts)
To Curb Anger:
¸  Follow the Amen anti-anger diet and learn the nutrients that calm rage
To Conquer Impulsiveness and Learn to Focus:
¸  Develop total focus with the "One-Page Miracle"
To Stop Obsessive Worrying:
¸  Follow the "get unstuck" writing exercise and learn other problem-solving exercises

In this age of do-it-yourself health care (heck, if the doctor only sees you for 10 minutes each visit, what other options are there?), Change Your Brain, Change Your Life fits in perfectly. Filled with "brain prescriptions" (among them cognitive exercises and nutritional advice) that are geared toward readers who've experienced anxiety, depression, impulsiveness, excessive anger or worry, and obsessive behavior, Change Your Brain, Change Your Life milks the mind-body connection for all it's worth.

Written by a psychiatrist and neuroscientist who has also authored a book on attention deficit disorder, Change Your Brain contains dozens of brain scans of patients with various neurological problems, from caffeine, nicotine, and heroin addiction to manic-depression to epilepsy. These scans, often showing large gaps in neurological activity or areas of extreme overactivity, are downright frightening to look at, and Dr. Amen should know better than to resort to such scare tactics. But he should also be commended for advocating natural remedies, including deep breathing, guided imagery, meditation, self-hypnosis, and biofeedback for treating disorders that are so frequently dealt with by prescription only.

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Girl, Interrupted

Girl, Interrupted Lowest new price: $15.77
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Author: Susanna Kaysen

Girl Interrupted is a clear-sighted, unflinching document that gives lasting and specific dimensions to our definitions of sane and insane, mental illness and recovery.

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The Science of Evil: On Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty

The Science of Evil: On Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty Lowest new price: $17.05
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Author: Simon Baron-Cohen

Borderline personality disorder, autism, narcissism, psychosis, Asperger's: All of these syndromes have one thing in common--lack of empathy. In some cases, this absence can be dangerous, but in others it can simply mean a different way of seeing the world.

In The Science of Evil Simon Baron-Cohen, an award-winning British researcher who has investigated psychology and autism for decades, develops a new brain-based theory of human cruelty. A true psychologist, however, he examines social and environmental factors that can erode empathy, including neglect and abuse.

Based largely on Baron-Cohen's own research, The Science of Evil will change the way we understand and treat human cruelty.

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Advancing Social Justice Through Clinical Practice

Advancing Social Justice Through Clinical Practice Lowest new price: $72.24
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Brand: Brand: Routledge

There is a healthy development in the human service professions these days. At community clinics, private practices, and universities around the country mental health professionals and service providers are working with increased awareness of the toxic effects of social inequities in the lives of people they aim to help. Quietly, by acting out their beliefs on justice and equality, clinicians are redressing the balance between professing our craft as clinicians and professing our humanity as citizens.

Advancing Social Justice Through Clinical Practice is a comprehensive volume that bridges the gap between the psychosocial realities of clients and the dominant clinical practices. It offers an array of conceptual and practical innovations to address both individual suffering and social inequities fueling this suffering. This is an empowering tool and a must read for mental health professionals. The accessible writing style also makes it ideal for teachers and students in the field.

The book opens with a discussion of the historical, ethical, and experiential foundations for the development of social justice-based practice. Parts II and III present conceptual frameworks, strategies, and techniques used by social justice oriented practitioners. The final section discusses various ways to develop the skills and competencies required of mental health professionals aspiring to be both agents of individual and social transformation. Filled with hope, critical analysis, and uncommon clinical wisdom, this is a book like no other in the field.

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