Making Sense of Psychiatric Diagnosis : Reviewed & Recommended

I’m thrilled to announce the release a book by my fellow blogging friend, Ashley at MentalHealth@Home, available on Amazon from September 9th 2019 :

Making Sense of Psychiatric Diagnosis by Ashley L. Peterson.

Amazon UK : Paperback & Kindle

Amazon US : Paperback & Kindle

In a nutshell, this is an exploration of psychiatric diagnosis, with coverage of various conditions and personal experiences from external contributors. It’s a book to uncover the reality of mental illness.

Mental health issues can be viewed as invisible conditions, and I think it’s fantastic that an author has attempted to address issues around diagnosis in such a down to earth, relatable yet professional way. Content like this is instrumental in replacing stigma, judgement and misinformation with compassion, insight and understanding.

I had the honour of being able to share a glimpse of my experience with one of the topics, bulimia, that she covers in this book. Others have also contributed their thoughts to make a collage of colourful, first hand experiences to bring these topics to life.

What To Expect

Ashley covers the experience of diagnosis, issues around misinformation, diagnostic criteria, the role of diagnosis in recovery and a discussion on the the systems of diagnosis. The book is like a sandwich – discussion around general diagnosis, coverage of specific conditions, then more evaluation. There’s also a chapter of what diagnosis means for a patient’s recovery, using interview prompts with the contributors to give personal, first hand insights. 

It covers a range of mental health issues, including the likes of : Anxiety disorders, bipolar, depressive disorders, dissociative disorders, eating disorders, gender dysphoria, neurodevelopment disorders, OCD, psychotic disorders, somatic symptom disorder, substance use, as well as trauma and stress-related disorders.

The chapters for the specific conditions are laid out intuitively to thoroughly cover aspects such as the criteria for diagnosis and symptoms, and an excerpt of a personal story from one of the contributors. At the end, you’ll find information on the contributors and a biography of the author. 

A Thorough & Engaging Read

It’s not often writers can make psychiatry easy to understand, engaging and useful all in one go. But Ashley has managed to do just this, covering and exploring the issues around mental illness diagnosis and the criteria with which individuals are assessed against. She covers the topics thoroughly and makes highly relevant, extremely thought-provoking points throughout.

Who’s it for? I would argue anyone and everyone, those with and those without experience of any mental health issues / mental illness, medical professionals, friends and loved ones of those with mental illness, workers in the medical/social/psychological/psychiatric fields, those with a passing interest in such conditions, and anyone wanting to broaden their understanding of psychiatry and the human condition.

From The Author

As per Ashley, here’s a little about her book :

“Making Sense of Psychiatric Diagnosis aims to cut through the misinformation, stigma, and assumptions that surround mental illness and give a clear picture of what mental illness really is.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th edition (DSM-5) has been criticized for overly subjective diagnostic criteria and pathologizing normal human experience.  This book will discuss the right and the wrong way to use the DSM, and the problems inherent in trying to diagnose oneself or others.

The book is structured based on diagnostic groupings in the DSM-5.  It will help readers to understand the diagnostic criteria for a wide range of different mental illnesses, and gain an appreciation for what those criteria actually mean.  Since symptom criteria can only capture a part of what a condition is truly like, many of the diagnoses in this book are paired with narratives from contributors with first hand lived experiences of these illnesses.

With the fusion of diagnostic information, clinical experience, and lived experience, this book offers a unique, well-rounded perspective on the reality of mental illness.

Pick Up Your Copy

I’m really glad I was able to read this & honoured to be able to have contributed in a very small way to the personal side of this book. It’s an incredibly insightful and thought-provoking read that I’m thrilled to highly recommend.

Amazon UK : Paperback & Kindle

Amazon US : Paperback & Kindle

Caz  ♥

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20 Comments

  1. September 19, 2019 / 5:34 pm

    Thanks so much lovely! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

    • September 23, 2019 / 12:03 pm

      My pleasure! 😊 xx

  2. September 20, 2019 / 11:07 am

    Sounds really good, psychiatry is not always easy to understand especially if you’re dealing with this from non professional stance. Thanks for the heads up. Congrats to Ashley, too! x

    Also, quite aside, I am not sure what I’ve done, or if it is just my mobile, but I cannot for the life of me leave a comment here when I go through my mobile, online, or via the app. No idea why. I can like, but get an error message whenever I try to leave a comment. Thought I’d let you know, just in case someone else has the same problems.

    • September 23, 2019 / 2:45 pm

      Absolutely, that down to earth approach is so helpful. Thank you so much for letting me know about the commenting issue. Are you trying to do it through the WP reader or directly through the blog URL on Internet Explorer? I think because I’m self hosted with a paid-for theme, comments can only be made on the blog itself and not through the WP reader. Does that sound like it could explain the issue, or is it something else? Technology eh, brilliant when it works and a pain in the arse when it doesn’t!
      I hope you have a lovely week ahead 😊 xx

  3. September 21, 2019 / 2:41 am

    This is great, Caz. Good luck and best wishes to your friend — and to you as a contributor. I did a fair amount of writing and editing about mental health issues, and though that was years ago, I’m not sure we’ve made much headway in vanquishing the stigma. This book seems to be a valuable aid in that regard, among others.

    Hope you’re regaining your strength and feeling much better after your recent procedures.
    Annie xx

    • September 23, 2019 / 2:47 pm

      Thank you for such a lovely comment, Annie. It’s disheartening that you don’t think much has improved in terms of stigma over the last few years. I think there’s more openness and awareness of mental health issues, but the stigma is much harder to deal with because it’s so incredibly pervasive. Hopefully, over time, it can be chipped away at bit by bit. Fingers crossed!  ♥ I hope you have a good week lovely xx

  4. September 21, 2019 / 11:38 am

    Sounds like a fantastic book. I tend to agree with the criticism surrounding the DSM and this book sounds like a great and much needed resource. I hope to pick it up sometime soon and will be sure to come back here when I do. Thanks so much for sharing all this info about it! Xx

    • September 23, 2019 / 2:56 pm

      I agree, I also think mental health is such a complex issue and individual variation in terms of symptoms and therefore diagnosis is huge. I hope you find it an equally interesting read if you do check it out, Michelle. Thanks for the comment! I hope you’re keeping as well as possible 🌷 xx

  5. September 21, 2019 / 12:18 pm

    I think this sounds like a wonderful book, full of much-needed information! xo

    • September 23, 2019 / 2:57 pm

      It really is, and I’m glad the subject has been discussed because I think it’s a really important one to break down and take a closer look at. Thanks for the comment lovely! I hope you have a good week ahead 😊
      xx

  6. Kim
    September 21, 2019 / 4:47 pm

    Wonderful and looking forward to reading. Much needed for the mental health community!

    • September 23, 2019 / 2:59 pm

      Totally agree, it’s definitely much needed and I’m so glad the issues around the DSM, symptoms and diagnoses have been discussed. Ashley’s done a fantastic job with it. I hope you find it equally engaging and interesting if you check it out. Thanks for the comment, Kim! 😊

  7. September 22, 2019 / 8:28 pm

    I think another blogger, Alexis Rose? is in this book. It sounds like a great idea to have personal stories applicable to the diagnosis. Congrats on your contribution to this book!

    • September 23, 2019 / 3:00 pm

      Yes, and I totally agree the personal stories give it that human touch and show the reality of mental health and illness at work. Thank you so much for the comment! I hope you’re keeping well and having a good week so far lovely xx

  8. September 23, 2019 / 12:42 am

    Lulu: “Congratulations to your friend and to you, contributor! We wish her great success with the book!”

    • September 23, 2019 / 3:07 pm

      I’m sure Ashley will really appreciate that, thanks Lulu! I hope you’re behaving yourself this week and playing nice with the Charlie & Chaplin 😉 x

  9. September 23, 2019 / 11:03 pm

    many tx for informing us, Caz!

    • September 30, 2019 / 2:59 pm

      You’re welcome, thank you for reading! Hope you have a lovely week ahead 😊 xx

  10. October 10, 2019 / 7:30 am

    Hello
    Firstly thank you so much for following my blog. This is how I stumbled on your wonderful work. I have just ordered your book and am very much looking forward to reading it. As you may have figured out, I’m Buddhist & therefore tend to be very analytical about everything, not accepting anything until it’s been checked out and evidenced. For me, there’s a long way to go in psychiatry, and to be frank, it’s been very difficult in my previous line of work as a Mental Health Social Worker. On the one hand, here in the West we live in a very medicalised society and most services operate this way. For example, you visit the GP with depression you get prescribed tablets which have side effects. Then you need more to counteract those effects, it’s the same with psychiatric diagnosis and treatment. So this is from a work perspective but from a spiritual one, my belief is there’s a root cause to everything (The Buddhist Cause & Effect) and so Pschiatry is doing nothing more than sanding over the issue with pharmacological drugs, ECT or otherwise and dumbing down the very tool that may cure it – The Mind.
    I look forward to your book and I’ll leave feedback
    Best wishes Julie

    • October 10, 2019 / 5:35 pm

      I think Ashley does well in her book with presenting the issues in a down to earth way and covering thoroughly the issues around diagnosis. Although Western culture does put emphasis on treatment and management, along with long fancy names for conditions and disorders, there’s also an understanding of the need for holistic approaches, and that may be more in line with your view, too. I’m of the opinion that it’s far too complex a subject to say it’s one of the other and I think a mix of approaches are often needed – lifestyle, medication, cognitive therapy etc – but it will vary for every person, as with the cause, if one exists, and nature of the mental health experience. I hope you enjoy reading Ashley’s book, and thank you for the comment, Julie!😊x

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