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Mania: A Short History of Bipolar Disorder (Johns Hopkins Biographies of Disease)

3.47 of 5 stars 3.47  ·  rating details  ·  19 ratings  ·  4 reviews
This provocative history of bipolar disorder illuminates how perceptions of illness, if not the illnesses themselves, are mutable over time. Beginning with the origins of the concept of mania—and the term maniac—in ancient Greek and Roman civilizations, renowned psychiatrist David Healy examines how concepts of mental afflictions evolved as scientific breakthroughs establi ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published May 22nd 2008 by Johns Hopkins University Press
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Clearly written and never too dry. This does a great service to the subject as a history and also to Healy's other subject, which is the brave new world we're entering via expansions of the DSM that pathologize human variation, as well as diagnosis by proxy, and drug trials that leave a lot to the imagination.
Fun fact for painters: Carbamazepine was one of a series of tricyclic molecules stemming from the iminodibenzyl dye, summer blue.
Chilling words: "Adolescence has been easy to deal with beca
Sian Jones
Perhaps I should have known from the description (and publisher) that this is an academic text that pursues finer points of medical historiography, but I think I was hoping for something along the lines of Peter Kramer's "On Depression". And while I found the parts of the book I read to be intellectually interesting, it didn't provide the practical, contemporary information I was looking for, so I stopped reading.
Kristen Blankenship
May 25, 2010 Kristen Blankenship rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: yes
This book has an important while disturbing message. I think it is important for people to read especially those who are concerned with their own personal mental health or that of their child. The three star rating was given only because the writing style for me was very labored. It was full of references, but for me it was so much that I got a bit lost. I guess you might say it was somewhat like a text book. Of course, I am sure I will return to this book in the future for that very reason.
More like a 3.5. Very interesting, especially when it turned into a discussion of randomized controlled trials and their role in modern pharmacology. I will have to find more biographies of disease.
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David Healy is a former secretary of the British Association for Psychopharmacology and author of over 120 articles and 12 books, including The Antidepressant Era and The Creation of Psychopharmacology.
More about David Healy...

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