I have recently read De-Medicalizing Misery [palgrave macmillan, 2011]. It’s a comprehensive collection of articles, edited by Mark Rapley, Joanna Moncrieff, and Jacqui Dillon. The table of contents provides a sense of the book’s scope.
Table of Contents
- Carving Nature at its Joints? DSM and the Medicalization of Everyday Life, Mark Rapley, Joanna Moncrieff, and Jacqui Dillon
- Dualisms and the Myth of Mental Illness, Philip Thomas and Patrick Bracken
- Making the World Go Away, and How Psychology and Psychiatry Benefit, Mary Boyle
- Cultural Diversity and Racism: An Historical Perspective, Suman Fernando
- The Social Context of Paranoia, David J. Harper
- From Bad Character to BPD: The Medicalization of ‘Personality Disorder’, James Bourne
- Medicalizing Masculinity, Sami Timimi
- Can Traumatic Events Traumatize People? Trauma, Madness, and Psychosis, Lucy Johnstone
- Children Who Witness Violence at Home, Arlene Vetere
- Discourses of Acceptance and Resistance: Speaking Out about Psychiatry, Ewen Speed
- The Personal is The Political, Jacqui Dillon
- ‘I’m Just, You Know, Joe Bloggs’: The Management of Parental Responsibility for First-episode Psychosis, Carlton Coulter and Mark Rapley
- The Myth of the Antidepressant: An Historical Analysis, Joanna Moncrieff
- Antidepressants and the Placebo Response, Irving Kirsch
- Why Were Doctors So Slow to Recognize Antidepressant Discontinuation Problems? Duncan Double
- Toxic Psychology, Craig Newnes
- Psychotherapy: Illusion with No Future? David Smail
- The Psychologization of Torture, Nimisha Patel
- What Is to Be Done? Joanna Moncrieff, Jacqui Dillon, and Mark Rapley
Each author brings to the general topic his or her unique perspectives, and the result is persuasive and inspiring.
Here’s a quote from the final chapter:
“In this volume we have attempted to show that the modern conception of madness and misery as diseases, illnesses or disorders that can only be understood within a specialist body of knowledge, fails to do justice to the range and meaning of the experiences these concepts refer to. More seriously, by designating people’s distress as illness, we ignore the abuse that individuals may have suffered, and in a wider sense, we obscure the features of modern society that make sanity a precarious state for many people. We enthrone a very particular, and very partisan, ‘truth’ by wreaking violence on the life experience and subjectivity of those we purport to ‘help’. Diagnoses of schizophrenia, depression or ‘reactive attachment disorder’ are entirely inadequate descriptions of the problems and difficulties that people experience, and the unfolding life story in which those problems are set. Such labels render people’s experiences as meaningless as if they denoted a rash, a boil, or a cough (cf Parry, 2009). Moreover, the experiences we have come to be familiar with under the rubric of ‘psychiatric symptoms’ may be more of a signal that all is not well, a signal that something needs to change, than a problem itself. But, as we have seen in this collection, this perspective is one that is anathema to currently hegemonic medicalized understandings.”
I strongly recommend this book.
Disclosure: I have no financial ties to this book or to any publications that I recommend on this website.