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Doctoring the MindIs Our Current Treatment of Mental Illness Really Any Good?$
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Richard P. Bentall

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780814791486

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814791486.001.0001

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Brains, Minds and Psychosis

Brains, Minds and Psychosis

The Myth that Mental Illnesses are Brain Diseases

Chapter:
(p.148) 7 Brains, Minds and Psychosis
Source:
Doctoring the Mind
Author(s):

Richard P. Bentall

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814791486.003.0007

This chapter focuses on the question of whether the brains of psychiatric patients are abnormal. Emil Kraepelin assumed that the answer to the question was “yes,” but was unable to provide definitive evidence to support his conviction. Meanwhile, Thomas Szasz retorted that the answer was “no,” and made this assumption the foundation of his objections to conventional psychiatry. The chapter shows that this question is not as straightforward as has often been supposed, and that attempts to answer it have led more often to confusion than to clarity. It illustrates the complaints-orientated approach to psychopathology by describing the current understanding of the mechanisms responsible for paranoid delusions and hallucinations. Far from assuming that abnormal cerebral functioning is the primary cause of illness, complaints-orientated research shows that the troubled brain cannot be isolated from the social universe.

Keywords:   psychiatric patients, brain, conventional psychiatry, psychopathology, paranoid delusions, hallucinations, complaints-orientated research

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