Transforming madness : new lives for people living with mental illness /

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Neugeboren, Jay.
Edition:1st ed.
Imprint:New York : William Morrow & Company, c1999.
Description:390 p. ; 25 cm.
Format: Print Book
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Hidden Bibliographic Details
Notes:Includes bibliographical references (p. [359]-378) and index.
Review by Choice Review

Neugeboren (writing, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst) has written a compelling and readable book about people living with mental illness. Through telling personal stories, the author convincingly demonstrates that individuals with psychiatric symptoms can move beyond defining themselves as disabled and can experience recovery. Interspersed among these stories of success is the author's personal experience of dealing with his brother Robert's mental illness. Following up Imagining Robert (1997), a book devoted to his brother's life story of illness and chronic care, Neugeboren recounts here Robert's recent experience and need for continued hospitalization. The author concludes that what matters most in treating mental illness is not where the care is, but the quality of care and treatment. Successful treatment must be based on a comprehensive support system that includes meaningful personal relationships provided by not only mental health professionals, but also peers: that is, people who have experienced mental illness. The book also includes a cogent critique of the over-reliance on medications and an extensive annotated bibliography. The book should appeal to general readers, undergraduates, and graduate students and professionals in the mental health field. ; formerly, University of Windsor

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review

Neugeboren surveys the mental health care system, discussing what he sees as its faults and the possibilities for the future. Because his brother suffers from mental disease, it's no academic matter for the author. The problems Neugeboren found go beyond the social stigmas attached to mental illness. He argues, among other things, that many treatment programs incorrectly separate the mentally ill from society, to the detriment of patient, family, and community. Using the testimony of patients and mental health professionals, he concludes that drug treatment, though at times the best option, is frequently overused. But Neugeboren also discovered innovative, successful programs. One, for example, places increasing responsibility on the mentally ill for getting better, making them an active part of the process. The case histories and stories of his brother's struggle to get better create a compassionate overview of an issue the U.S. is just beginning to look at squarely. --Brian McCombie

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

A quiet revolution is taking place in the care and treatment of the mentally ill, observes Neugeboren in this invaluable state-of-the-art report. Within the last five to 10 years, antipsychotic medications have become much more effective and their side effects less debilitating. Just as important, he notes, is the emergence of recovery programs, peer support centers and community treatment facilities that make it possible for the severely mentally ill to go to college, hold down jobs, marry and raise childrenÄeven without being fully cured. There is a downside, though: general hospitals, now the primary providers of inpatient psychiatric care in the U.S., are as dreadful as they were a quarter-century ago, the author opines. In his moving 1997 memoir, Imagining Robert, Neugeboren, who is also a novelist (The Stolen Jew) and teaches at UMassÄAmherst, discussed his brother's three decades of breakdowns and hospitalizations. This deep personal involvement with psychiatric illness propels the present book, an open-ended odyssey in which the author astutely probes a profession deeply divided between psychotherapeutic and pharmacological approaches. While acknowledging the value of drugs, Neugeboren makes a strong case for psychotherapy in the treatment of schizophrenia, other psychoses and mood disorders. Though the narrative at times feels padded, the searing profiles of people who have recovered and built new lives, often after having been pronounced medically hopeless, along with Neugeboren's selective evaluations of treatment programs, will make his journey enlightening to patients, their families and caregivers, as well as to general readers. Author tour. Agent, Richard Parks. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

"Drugs are not enough" might telegraph the message of this major survey of our mental health system, its virtues and sins, and its patients, therapists, and managers. Neugeboren, a novelist, guardian/biographer of his mentally ill brother (Imagining Robert, LJ 11/1/96), and teacher (Univ. of Massachusetts), brings out the possibilities for life afterÄand withÄserious mental illness. He tells the stories of many individuals who are living well despite terrible psychiatric histories, thanks to programs that include good psychotherapy and social support along with psychiatric medication. Unfortunately, many programs lack an essential human element, and the drive for pharmaceutical research to make psychosis medically curable just like other illnesses leaves psychotherapy, rehabilitation, and follow-up care in the shadows. Neugeboren provides a literate, lively guide, rich in history, biography, and economics as well as psychology and neurochemistry. This should be on the short list of books on mental health that can be called great. Recommended for all libraries.ÄE. James Lieberman, George Washington Univ. Sch. of Medicine, Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

Clearly, we could be doing much more to help those with mental illness. This is a thoughtful consideration of what social settings, assistance, and connections would offer the most help to those striving to return to productive, fulfilling lives. Novelist Neugeboren wrote earlier of his brother Robert's severe, chronic, incapacitating mental illness (Imagining Robert, 1997). Here he relates travels and visits to facilities, and conversations both with mental health care professionals and with those who've made it back to a more normal life from severe illness; all undertaken while undergoing a parallel search for a more humane life and home for his brother. Robert Neugeboren has for years lived in locked psychiatric wards, punctuated by brief, unsuccessful forays to hopelessly inadequate community residences. His story and others related here drive home the message that not only is our biological understanding of mental illness grossly incomplete, but that progress in improving care has been distressingly slight. Neugeboren patiently examines a few outstanding facilities (one in New Hampshire, one in the Bronx, N.Y., to which Robert eventually was transferred) and sets out suggestions for an ideal facility. He suggests, in the end, small, community-based assisted living facilities similar to those we now have for the elderly, which could be adjusted for level of care as regressions and remissions occurred and ``so that one was not living only with others who suffered from serious mental illness. And cost should be a consideration.' Neugeboren pegs an excellent Boston-area supervised residential program with strong support services to cost between $25,000 and $35,000 per person per year, while 'the cost of keeping my brother on a locked ward without anything resembling psychological, vocational or educational counseling'without anythingi that might offer the possibility for a fuller, more productive life outside a hospital'is, according to the New York State Office of Mental Health, $127,000 a year.' An affecting personal story, coupled with a well-supported plea for revolutionizing care.

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Review by Choice Review

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Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

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Review by Kirkus Book Review