What is Mental Disorder?: An essay in philosophy, science, and values

Paperback | March 15, 2008

byDerek Bolton

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The effects of mental disorder are apparent and pervasive, in suffering, loss of freedom and life opportunities, negative impacts on education, work satisfaction and productivity, complications in law, institutions of healthcare, and more. With a new edition of the 'bible' of psychiatricdiagnosis - the DSM - under developmental, it is timely to take a step back and re-evalutate exactly how we diagnose and define mental disorder.This new book by Derek Bolton tackles the problems involved in the definition and boundaries of mental disorder. It addresses two main questions regarding mental illness. Firstly, what is the basis of the standards or norms by which we judge that a person has a mental disorder - that the person'smind is not working as it should, that their mental functioning is abnormal? Controversies about these questions have been dominated by the contrast between norms that are medical, scientific or natural, on the one hand, and social norms on the other. The norms that define mental disorder seem tobelong to psychiatry, to be medical and scientific, but are they really social norms, hijacked and disguised by the medical profession? Secondly, what is the validity of the distinction between mental disorder and order, between abnormal and normal mental functioning? To what extent, notwithstanding appearances, does mental disorder involve meaningful reactions and problem-solving? These responses may be to normal problems ofliving, or to not so normal problems - to severe psycho-social challenges. Is there after all order in mental disorder? With the closing of asylums and the appearance of care in the community, mental disorder is now in our midst. While attempts have been made to define clearly a concept of mental disorder that is truly medical as opposed to social, there is increasing evidence that such a distinction is unviable -there is no clear line between what is normal in the population and what is abnormal. 'What is Mental Disorder?' reviews these various crucial developments and their profound impact for the concept and its boundaries in a provocative and timely book.

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The effects of mental disorder are apparent and pervasive, in suffering, loss of freedom and life opportunities, negative impacts on education, work satisfaction and productivity, complications in law, institutions of healthcare, and more. With a new edition of the 'bible' of psychiatricdiagnosis - the DSM - under developmental, it is...

Derek Bolton read philosophy at Cambridge University and completed a doctorate subsequently published as 'An Approach to Wittgenstein's Philosophy' in 1979. He subsequently trained in Clinical Psychology and has worked in the Institute of Psychiatry and Maudsley Hospital in London for many years. He is the author of many papers in cli...

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Kobo ebook|Oct 1 2009

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.79 inPublished:March 15, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198565925

ISBN - 13:9780198565925

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Table of Contents

1. The current diagnostic manuals: aims, methods, and questions2. The sciences on mental order/disorder and related concepts: normality, meaning, natural and social norms3. Mental disorder and human nature4. Clinical definition: distress, disability and the need to treat5. Boundaries and terminology in flux6. Some conclusions