Mad, Bad And Sad: A History of Women and the Mind Doctors from 1800 to the Present

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Mad, Bad And Sad: A History of Women and the Mind Doctors from 1800 to the Present

Mad, Bad And Sad: A History of Women and the Mind Doctors from 1800 to the Present

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I was looking for information on how the mental health profession has developed and the role women patients played in it. Appignanesi offers a detailed and critical review of the last two centuries of "mind-doctoring", from alienism to physiognomy to psychoanalysis to psychiatry. Because Appignanesi has a complex story to tell there is no blaming at work in this wonderful book, but a shrewd and sympathetic apprehension of what is at stake in the difficult histories of both the Mind Doctors and those they seek to help. I found the sections about the various amendments to the diagnostic manuals for mental health rather heavy going and could quite happily have skipped those bits had I not thought I might miss something interesting in doing so.

Women play a key role here, both as patients - among them Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, and Marilyn Monroe - and as therapists. With work by Alice Anderson, Louise Bourgeois, Helen Chadwick, Tracey Emin, Anna Furse, Susan Hiller, Sarah Lucas and Francis Upritchard.

From Theroigne de Mericourt, Fury of the Gironde, who descended from the bloody triumphs of the French Revolution to untameable insanity in La Salpetriere asylum, to Mary Lamb, sister of Charles, who in the throes of a nervous breakdown turned on her mother with a kitchen knife.

While I second her preoccupation about the excess categorisation of mental conditions with its possibility of misdiagnosing and risk in self-diagnosing, I found her a little exaggerated when it comes to the condemnation of pill-prescriptions, even though her conclusion was then a bit neutral. The usual answer is that since psychopathy cannot be treated effectively then it is a matter for the judiciary. Or are there life events unique to the female experience that make women more susceptible to mental health problems? Her reading of 'the most iconic mind doctor' is generous, although she examines in detail why Freud has been portrayed as sexist.I intend to reveal a link between medical understanding of menstruation and the representation of women as unstable in literature. Sexual orientation disturbance (SOD) was replaced on the list in 1980 with egodystonic homosexuality (EDH). I put off reading the book after being lent it on the justified expectation that it would be upsetting in parts, however it was entirely worth persisting with and more accessible than I anticipated. I found Appignanesi's writing style readable and impressively measured, while the content was extremely thought-provoking. After noticing some outright false statements that might seem inconsequential in their importance, the fact that there was clearly no fact checking and the author seems to just assume that what she remembers off the top of her head is true, also means that I can't really trust anything that she has written to be true.

Why would anyone reading this need to know the exact address at the time of a psychoanalyst from more half a century ago?What was affectionately known as "shell shock" is now a recognized disease resulting from horrendous trauma. This is the story of how we have understood extreme states of mind over the last two hundred years and how we conceive of them today, when more and more of our inner life and emotions have become a matter for medics and therapists. Possession, love, sex (too much or too little), religion, abuse, grief, and heredity, to name a few – the causes of women’s madness are myriad.

  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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