Nine Dimensions of Madness

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Nine Dimensions of Madness

Redefining Mental Health

Author: Robert L. Gallon

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In a book that reframes the mental health debate, Robert L. Gallon challenges the widely-held notion that mental disorders are medical diseases. Drawing on his extensive experience as a psychologist who has worked with thousands of patients, he argues that there are no objective indicators of mental disorders and therefore no way of drawing a distinct line between people who have them and people who don’t. He outlines an alternative to the disease model defined by nine dimensions of dysfunction that encompass the range of human dysfunctions typically classified as mental disorders. He explains the origin of these problems, not as chemical imbalances and genetic abnormalities, but as the complex interaction of biological, psychological and social factors, called the Biopsychosocial model.

Gallon explains the history of psychiatry and how it came to develop a medical model that codifies mental disorders in the psychiatric bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), now in its fifth edition. He demonstrates how, in 1950s and 1960s when the miracle psychiatric drugs came on the market, it was to the great economic advantage of both pharmaceutical companies and psychiatrists to describe people’s problems in the language of medicine. His alternative to this disease model suggests descriptive types–Reality Misperception, Mood Dysfunction, Anxiety, Cognitive Competence, Social Competence, Somatoform Dysfunction, Substance Dependence, Motivation and Impulse Control, and Socialization Dysfunction–that we can construct to discuss the kinds and severities of problems people experience. These are not discrete abnormalities, but are sorts of dysfunction that can be placed on dimensions of dysfunction.
Table of Contents
Part I History of Madness
1. Introduction and Some Definitions
2. How madness became Medical 3. The Rise of Psychiatric Diagnosis 4. An Alternative Model
Part II Dimensions of Madness 5. Reality Misperception
6. Mood Dysfunction
7. Anxiety
8. Cognitive Competence
9. Social Competence
10. Somatoform Dysfunction
11. Substance Dependence
12. Motivation and Impulse Control 13. Socialization Dysfunction
Part III Treatment and Other Issues 14. What is Mental Health Treatment?
15. The Future


Product Info

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6 x 9
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About the Author

Robert L. Gallon, PhD, has taught in the Department of Psychiatry and was a psychologist at the Psychosomatic Medicine Clinic at the Jefferson Medical School. As Chief Psychologist at Eastern Maine Medical Center he worked with the Rehabilitation Medicine Department to found a Chronic Pain Program. He was a Psychological Examiner for the court for involuntarily committed psychiatric patients and a consulting psychologist for the State Forensic Service. Over the course of his career, has evaluated more than 5000 individuals in a wide variety of circumstances.

Reviews/Press Quotes

“Readers of this eye-opening book will find their beliefs and assumptions about ‘mental disorders’ forever changed. Dr. Gallon has an axe to grind and he grinds it to a razor-sharp edge. He is scathing in his indictment of the medical model that prevails in psychiatry, which he sees as not only fundamentally flawed, but self-serving. Combining scholarly research with his personal experiences as a clinical psychologist, with fascinating examples and anecdotes, the book is an eminently readable exploration of ‘madness’ in our time.”
—Howard Ehrlichman, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Psychology, Queens College of the City University of New York and coauthor of Personality Psychology: The Science of Individuality
“An interesting and important book. The subject, mental disease and disorder, is worthy of careful attention. Gallon beautifully illustrates the differences between taxonomy and typology. The changes in treatment, the consequences to society of those changes, and the advocates of those changes are well laid out. He does not shrink from the responsibility of defining where he stands or what direction we should take.”
—Julius R. Krevans, MD, Emeritus Dean of the Medical School and Emeritus Chancellor, University of California, San Francisco

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