Understanding Mental Disorders aims to help current and future psychiatrists, and those who work with them, to think critically about the ethical, conceptual, and methodological questions that are raised by the theory and practice of psychiatry. It considers questions that concern the mind’s relationship to the brain, the origins of our norms for thinking and behavior, and the place of psychiatry in medicine, and in society more generally. With a focus on the current debates around psychiatry’s diagnostic categories, the authors ask where these categories come from, if psychiatry should be looking to find new categories that are based more immediately on observations of the brain, and whether psychiatrists need to employ any diagnostic categories at all. The book is a unique guide for readers who want to think carefully about the mind, mental disorders, and the practice of psychiatric medicine.
"By interspersing short chapters, equally short endnotes and incisively-curated follow-up readings with a mix of illustrations, the three authors, a psychiatrist, a philosopher, and (for our purposes) a visual artist, have produced a veritable page-turner…. On the whole, this book offers a fair-minded, and measured defense of key tenets of present day medical psychiatry. Extreme positions, including mind-body reductionism, are rejected, and person-centered approaches to care find favor. In their preface the authors note the hoped-for readership of this volume: psychiatrists and other medical practitioners, and also those who encounter psychiatric diagnosis in other ways, such as patients. But we can add a further group. This would be an ideal text to introduce to the philosophy of mental health undergraduate students in philosophy or to graduate students in other disciplines." Jennifer Radden, Metapsychology Online Reviews
Part I: Mental disorder 1.1 What is mental disorder? 1.2. What makes a mental disorder mental? 1.3. What makes a mental disorder disordered? Part II: Psychiatry and society 2.1. Two ways in which social factors can contribute to mental disorder 2.2 Are we changing people when we should be changing societies? 2.3 Sexuality and disobedience Part III: Dodging nosology 3.1 Psychiatric diagnosis 3.2 Psychiatry without diagnostic categories? 3.3 Categories unlike chemistry's 3.4 Giving the brain no more than its due