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Madness Explained: Psychosis and Human Nature
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Madness Explained: Psychosis and Human Nature

4.23  ·  Rating Details  ·  294 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews

Today most of us accept the consensus that madness is a medical condition: an illness, which can be identified, classified and treated with drugs like any other.

In this ground breaking and controversial work Richard Bentall shatters the myths that surround madness. He shows there is no reassuring dividing line between mental health and mental illness. Severe mental disord

Kindle Edition, 656 pages
Published (first published June 5th 2003)
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Mar 18, 2013 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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, psychiatr
Jan 30, 2014 Greta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 more than just sanity and insanity, mental health and mental illness. We're not ...more
Dec 07, 2009 Abailart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 s
May 22, 2016 Holly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 au
Mar 24, 2016 Andrew rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The title of this book is misleading. Bentall has no better - but, in my view, a potentially more 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 co
William Sandnes
Aug 04, 2014 William Sandnes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Madness Explained takes you on a journey through psychiatric history, research and development, and argues that the long-prevailing doctrine after Emil Kraepelin is deficient regarding many aspects.

Without reducing the book to a sentence, the main theme of the book is that psychosis and different kinds of mental disorders should be viewed as variations of normal psychology - that it belongs on a continuum between sane and insane, rather than being a different entity. He argues that we should no
Helene von Tabouillot
A scientific page turner is not something you come across often. Capable of changing your perspective, and very educational. Reading this book liberated me from some of my symptoms, just from knowing their nature and origin.
Apr 28, 2016 Stephanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Probably 4.5-5 stars realistically, because it is not perfect. It is, however, hugely interesting and well written and offers compelling analysis throughout.
Sep 03, 2014 Jasper rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
amazing, but dragging, pull through and it truly is profound though
Terri-louise Fountain
I have to give this book a neutral rating of 3 stars. Whilst it is well written and easy to read especially for those unfamiliar to the subject, I personally disagree with some of the points made. Whilst I agree that there are faults within the bio-medical model and its treatments, I can't completely accept the cognitive model as in this book, as there are some equally awful research papers with poorly constructed statistics on both sides. What I do appreciate though is the authors acceptance th ...more
Alannah Clarke
An interesting book but also something I never thought I would have to read for an English Literature module, on the surface it does look like something somebody would use for psychology. But overall it's something that can easily be used to help understand the mental illness I see in my module as the book is well written and offers such an interesting argument.
Rashad Raoufi
he makes a very powerful arguement, the book is well wrritten and absorbing to anyone with an interest in mental health, although there is alot of information to comprehend, the simple style makes it very clear and easy to read and understand,thought provoking and stimulating read.
Dec 21, 2009 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: counseling
Bentall is a non-Christian psychologist who doesn't buy in to the medical model for the description and explanation of madness. A very good book for an explanation of the history of mental illness and another good explanation for the etiology of schizophrenia.
Apr 05, 2013 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
It's very academic, and 200 pages in I was becoming slightly tired with the repetition of the book. This study suggests this, this study suggests that etc. Read it if you work in this field or are just interested in psychosis in general.
Oct 22, 2008 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this book examines the causes of many of the symptoms of madness in a humane and in-depth manner. There is some info as well about who ends up becoming mentally ill.
Mar 20, 2013 Natalie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed this book! An excellent introduction to the fundamentals of history and philosophy of psychology, paired with radically new approach to psychiatric issues.
Jul 22, 2012 Rowan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very clear and humane. I used it for building character and for a paper i was writing and it provided useful details for both.
Feb 03, 2013 Yolande rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
Very well written and thought provoking.
Angus MacHaggis
Jun 05, 2012 Angus MacHaggis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now I know me madness better!!!
Irma Strydom
May 18, 2013 Irma Strydom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very good read!
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