10 books like Outside Mental Health

By Will Hall,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Outside Mental Health. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Anatomy of an Epidemic

By Robert Whitaker,

Book cover of Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America

I have talked to many individuals who have told me that Anatomy of an Epidemic literally saved their lives. Medical and science reporter Robert Whitaker—whose co-written series for the Boston Globe on the abuse of mental patients in research settings was named as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize—is also the author of Mad in America, a history of the failure of mental health treatment. In Anatomy of an Epidemic, Whitaker makes a compelling case that the dramatic increases in serious mental illness in the United States are in large part due to the adverse effects of psychiatric drugs, which can transform episodic conditions into chronic ones.

Anatomy of an Epidemic

By Robert Whitaker,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Anatomy of an Epidemic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Updated with bonus material, including a new foreword and afterword with new research, this New York Times bestseller is essential reading for a time when mental health is constantly in the news.

In this astonishing and startling book, award-winning science and history writer Robert Whitaker investigates a medical mystery: Why has the number of disabled mentally ill in the United States tripled over the past two decades?

Interwoven with Whitaker’s groundbreaking analysis of the merits of psychiatric medications are the personal stories of children and adults swept up in this epidemic. As Anatomy of an Epidemic reveals, other societies have…


Rethinking Madness

By Paris Williams,

Book cover of Rethinking Madness: Towards a Paradigm Shift in Our Understanding and Treatment of Psychosis

I found Rethinking Madness to be a highly original book. Clinical psychologist Paris Williams interviewed individuals who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and other psychoses, and he integrated this research with prominent alternative explanations for madness. In contrast to the gloomy picture painted by establishment psychiatry, Williams describes how full recovery from schizophrenia and other related psychotic disorders is not only possible but is surprisingly common, and that many people who recover from these psychotic disorders do not merely return to their pre-psychotic condition, but often undergo a profound positive transformation with far more lasting benefits than harms.

Rethinking Madness

By Paris Williams,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rethinking Madness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As the recovery research continues to accumulate, we find that the mainstream understanding of schizophrenia and psychosis has lost nearly all credibility:

* After over 100 years and billions of dollars spent on research looking for schizophrenia and other related psychotic disorders in the brain, we still have not found any substantial evidence that these disorders are actually caused by a brain disease.
* We have learned that full recovery from schizophrenia and other related psychotic disorders is not only possible but is surprisingly common.
* We've discovered that those diagnosed in the United States and other "developed" nations are…


Mad Science

By Stuart A. Kirk, Tomi Gomory, David Cohen

Book cover of Mad Science: Psychiatric Coercion, Diagnosis, and Drugs

Mad Science is a comprehensive, engaging, and readable scientific and social critique of current mental health practices. It effectively argues that the fundamental claims of modern American psychiatry are based on misconceived, flawed, and distorted science, and it details psychiatry’s scientifically invalid disorders, unreliable diagnostic methods, ineffective drugs, and damaging use of coercion. The authors are scholars, researchers, and clinicians (Kirk, a professor emeritus of social welfare at UCLA; Gomory, an associate professor of social work at Florida State University; and Cohen, a professor in social welfare at UCLA). 

Mad Science

By Stuart A. Kirk, Tomi Gomory, David Cohen

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mad Science as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*Winner of an honorable mention from theSociety for Social Work and ResearchforOutstanding Social Work Book Award

Mad Science argues that the fundamental claims of modern American psychiatry are based on misconceived, flawed, and distorted science. The authors address multiple paradoxes in American mental health research, including the remaking of coercion into scientific psychiatric treatment, the adoption of an unscientific diagnostic system that controls the distribution of services, and how drug treatments have failed to improve the mental health outcome.

When it comes to understanding and treating mental illness, distortions of research are not rare, misinterpretation of data is not isolated,…


Alternatives Beyond Psychiatry

By Peter Stastny, Peter Lehmann,

Book cover of Alternatives Beyond Psychiatry

I found Alternatives Beyond Psychiatry to be an extremely helpful collection of reports and alternative approaches from an international cast of mental health professionals, ex-patients, lawyers, and social scientists. Peter Stastny is a psychiatrist, documentary filmmaker, and a founder of the International Network Towards Alternatives and Rights-Based Supports; and Peter Lehmann is the founder of Peter Lehmann Publishing and co-founder of the Association for Protection against Psychiatric Violence. Alternatives Beyond Psychiatry includes exciting alternative visions along with concrete self-help and approaches for professionals.

Alternatives Beyond Psychiatry

By Peter Stastny, Peter Lehmann,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Alternatives Beyond Psychiatry as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The great book of alternatives to psychiatry around the world. (Ex-) users and survivors of psychiatry, therapists, psychiatrists, lawyers, social scientists and relatives report about their alternative work, their successes, their individual and collective experiences. The book highlights alternatives beyond psychiatry, current possibilities of self-help for individuals experiencing madness, and strategies toward implementing humane treatment.These are some of the questions, which are addressed by the 61 authors-(ex-) users and survivors of psychiatry, medical practitioners, therapists, lawyers, social scientists, psychiatrists and relatives from all continents: What helps me if I go mad? How can I find trustworthy help for a relative…


History of Madness

By Michel Foucault, Jonathan Murphy (translator),

Book cover of History of Madness

Foucault’s classic 1961 book, History of Madness, was republished in 2006 in its entirety, exposing the serious omissions of the earlier English translation. In its full form, it stands the test of time as a groundbreaking book that exposed the origins of the modern rational self as the product of repeated attempts to understand, exclude, contain, eliminate, and treat ‘madness’. Foucault’s main argument was that since the Renaissance, our understanding of madness shifted from a philosophical phenomenon into an objective medical science. In the Renaissance, madness could still provide wisdom and insight. Yet, during the 17th and early 18th Centuries, numerous institutions of confinement, such as asylums and poor houses, were established to contain both madness and economic redundancy.’

Foucault characterises the modern experience of madness as defined purely by medical science. He claims this perspective is limiting and definitely not a move towards the ‘truth’ of madness. His…

History of Madness

By Michel Foucault, Jonathan Murphy (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked History of Madness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When it was first published in France in 1961 as Folie et Deraison: Histoire de la Folie a l'age Classique, few had heard of a thirty-four year old philosopher by the name of Michel Foucault. By the time an abridged English edition was published in 1967 as Madness and Civilization, Michel Foucault had shaken the intellectual world.

This translation is the first English edition of the complete French texts of the first and second edition, including all prefaces and appendices, some of them unavailable in the existing French edition.

History of Madness begins in the Middle Ages with vivid descriptions…


The Man Who Thought He Was Napoleon

By Laure Murat, Deke Dusinberre (translator),

Book cover of The Man Who Thought He Was Napoleon: Toward a Political History of Madness

The 1840 burial of Napoleon’s remains in the Invalides coincided with the psychiatric admission of fourteen men who claimed they were the real Napoleon, and he lived on yet. A number of Napoleons—or those claiming to be Napoleon’s son—had also emerged during the emperor’s own lifetime, suffering from the recently identified “delusions of grandeur” diagnosis.

Murat offers a larger study of madness and asylums in nineteenth-century France, and the impact of political events, including the French Revolution and the Terror, on psychiatric patients and doctors. Her chapter on “madhouse Napoleons” is particularly intriguing, as it reveals how the ghosts of powerful historical leaders can infiltrate the minds of the disturbed. For me, the book also raises questions about memory and psychology more generally, about why the mad latched onto Napoleon specifically, and how history or historical figures can live on in surprising places.

The Man Who Thought He Was Napoleon

By Laure Murat, Deke Dusinberre (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Man Who Thought He Was Napoleon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Man who thought he was Napoleon is built around a bizarre historical event and an off-hand challenge. The event? In December 1840, nearly twenty years after his death, the remains of Napoleon were returned to Paris for burial - and the next day, the director of a Paris hospital for the insane admitted fourteen men who claimed to be Napoleon. The challenge, meanwhile, is the claim by great French psychiatrist Jean-Etienne Dominique Esquirol (1772-1840) that he could recount the history of France through asylum registries. From those two components, Laure Murat embarks on an exploration of the surprising relationship…


The Lobotomist's Wife

By Samantha Greene Woodruff,

Book cover of The Lobotomist's Wife

There is nothing more satisfying than a well-researched story about the history of medicine. 

This shocking story takes place in the mid-twentieth century and centers on Ruth, a hospital administrator whose husband invented the ice pick lobotomy for the treatment of psychiatric illness. As the surgery gains popularity, Ruth soon learns of debilitating complications from the procedure. Could the touted miracle cure be doing more harm than good?

The Lobotomist's Wife

By Samantha Greene Woodruff,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Lobotomist's Wife as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An enthralling historical novel of a compassionate and relentless woman, a cutting-edge breakthrough in psychiatry, and a nightmare in the making.

Since her brother took his life after WWI, Ruth Emeraldine has had one goal: to help those suffering from mental illness. Then she falls in love with charismatic Robert Apter-a brilliant doctor championing a radical new treatment, the lobotomy. Ruth believes in it as a miracle treatment and in Robert as its genius pioneer. But as her husband spirals into deluded megalomania, Ruth can't ignore her growing suspicions. Robert is operating on patients recklessly, often with horrific results. And…


The Memory Palace

By Mira Bartok,

Book cover of The Memory Palace

A harrowing and beautiful tale of two sisters growing up with a paranoid schizophrenic mother. The author describes a fine line between gentle artistic creativity and debilitating mental illness. The reader will come away with a better understanding of how deeply children are affected growing up in a dysfunctional and traumatic environment. A mother's love and a journey to forgiveness teach us the complex meaning of love.

The Memory Palace

By Mira Bartok,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Memory Palace as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the tradition of The Glass Castle, two sisters confront schizophrenia in this New York Times bestselling poignant memoir about family and mental illness. Through stunning prose and original art, The Memory Palace captures the love between mother and daughter, the complex meaning of truth, and one family’s capacity for forgiveness.

*A Washington Post Best Book of the Year *
*The National Book Critics Circle Award Winner for Best Autobiography*

“People have abandoned their loved ones for much less than you’ve been through,” Mira Bartók is told at her mother’s memorial service. It is a poignant observation about the relationship…


Eight Key Brain Areas of Mental Health and Illness

By Jennifer Sweeton,

Book cover of Eight Key Brain Areas of Mental Health and Illness

We are continually learning how the brain works through the work of neuroscientists. Dr. Sweeton uses her knowledge in the field to give readers a view into our brain and what we know at the present time about its functioning, how it is affected by mental illness, and what changes can occur through brain-based therapy. We have made great strides in helping individuals with such illnesses as schizophrenia and bipolar and learning how disorders such as PTSD occur and impact the brain. The book’s information is reader-friendly. The more we know about this fascinating area of the body, the better treatments that can be developed to help those who suffer from trauma-impacting events become more resilient and whole. 

Eight Key Brain Areas of Mental Health and Illness

By Jennifer Sweeton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Eight Key Brain Areas of Mental Health and Illness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Recent advances in affective neuroscience reveal long-held secrets of mental health and illness in the brain. However, the gap between brain science and clinical practice is wide, and many clinicians find neuroscience to be tedious, overly technical and laborious to learn. Eight Key Brain Areas of Mental Health and Illness bridges this gap, providing key information about the neuroscience of mental illness so clinicians can apply it in their work.

In this handbook, clinical psychologist and best-selling author Jennifer Sweeton details the eight main areas of the brain affected by mental illness, how brain changes show up in the therapy…


Madhouse

By Andrew Scull,

Book cover of Madhouse: A Tragic Tale of Megalomania and Modern Medicine

Although Madhouse reads like a Stephen King novel, everything it recounts is actually true. At the turn of the twentieth century, Henry Cotton, a psychiatrist and the medical director of the New Jersey State Hospital at Trenton, thought he had found the solution to mental illness. His unconventional approach to treatment, however, left more people dead and disfigured than effectively cured. Andrew Scull’s deeply-researched narrative of Cotton’s medical interventions is a horrifying, yet entirely gripping, account of the lengths people have gone in the name of psychiatric treatment.

Madhouse

By Andrew Scull,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Madhouse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Reads as much like a novel as it does a work of medical scholarship."-Patrick McGrath, New York Times Book Review

Madhouse revealsa long-suppressed medical scandal, shocking in its brutality and sobering in its implications. It shows how a leading American psychiatrist of the early twentieth century came to believe that mental illnesses were the product of chronic infections that poisoned the brain. Convinced that he had uncovered the single source of psychosis, Henry Cotton, superintendent of the Trenton State Hospital, New Jersey, launched a ruthless campaign to "eliminate the perils of pus infection." Teeth were pulled, tonsils excised, and stomachs,…


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