Whispers: The Voices of Paranoia

Whispers: The Voices of Paranoia

4.5 12
by Ronald K. Siegel
     
 

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Combining the insights of a gifted research scientist with vivid tales that are usually the realm of the novelist, Dr. Ronald Siegel lets his readers experience the suspicion, terror, and rage that possess the mind of the paranoid. This is the first book to investigate the actual experience of paranoia and to demonstrate that under the right conditions - drugs or… See more details below

Overview

Combining the insights of a gifted research scientist with vivid tales that are usually the realm of the novelist, Dr. Ronald Siegel lets his readers experience the suspicion, terror, and rage that possess the mind of the paranoid. This is the first book to investigate the actual experience of paranoia and to demonstrate that under the right conditions - drugs or deprivation, for example - anyone can be driven into that state. And indeed, eight million Americans already have been. The paranoid inhabits a different realm of being, one that tilts the world ever so slightly. The senses detect these differences and sound mental alarms. Delusions and hallucinations feed on each other, flourishing with amazing speed. The paranoid becomes locked in a new mode of thinking - viewing life as from a cell. In a dozen case studies, Dr. Siegel follows his patients into the shadow lands where paranoia flourishes - drug addiction, prison, organized crime, and terrorism. He introduces us to mild cases where there is only a vague sense that something is out there stalking, to those with apocalyptic visions so intense that they shake the foundations of an entire community. We meet the old woman who hears her teeth whispering, the beautiful ballet dancer who falls in love with a shadow, and the cocaine addict for whom the invasion of imaginary bugs was strong enough to kill. This intrepid journey through the mind's dark corridors ends with a reflective coda exploring the suicide of Ernest Hemingway, and there is no better guide than Dr. Ronald Siegel.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Pharmacologist Siegel brilliantly explores the mind of the paranoid in this chilling, wholly engrossing report. His 12 case studies include a cocaine-addicted ballet dancer who murders a coke dealer after developing an erotic fixation on him, an aerospace inventor who believes his enemies have launched a satellite to transmit messages into his brain, a laid-off insurance salesman-turned-God's-prophet, and a frail octogenarian convinced that her dentist has implanted a spying device in her ``whispering'' teeth. Siegel ( Intoxication ), a UCLA research professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences, begins by analyzing Hitler's paranoid hatred of Jews, made more virulent, the author believes, by amphetamine addiction. Next we meet a paranoid neo-Nazi graduate student at UCLA, who created a crude computer program to simulate Hitler's mind. Siegel closes with a look at Ernest Hemingway's paranoid final year, which culminated with his suicide. This startling survey suggests there is a continuum of paranoia and that paranoid episodes can be triggered by drugs, thyroid disorders, pernicious anemia or psychological traumas such as false arrest, social isolation or an intensely humiliating episode. (June)
Library Journal - Library Journal
This book offers a compelling series of vignettes depicting experiences of paranoia. By providing an explanatory connection between his subjects' past histories, personalities, and present experiences, Siegel creates a believable setting for the dramatic events, thoughts of persecution, and feelings of panic or terror that play out in the lives of the paranoid. Many of the cases reveal drug abuse or drug intoxication at their centers. Nevertheless, each has its own merits. The author's investigation of the facts and his vivid descriptions are skillfully recorded, as is his narration of his own paranoid experience. For most general collections.-Bonnie Hoffman, Stony Brook, N.Y.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780684802855
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
02/09/1996
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
296,018
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Ronald K. Siegel, Ph.D., is Associate Research Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA. A contributor to such publications as Omni and Scientific American, he is also the author of the highly regarded Intoxication and Fire in the Brain. He has served as a consultant to the World Health Organization and to two presidential commissions, and is frequently called upon as an expert in high-profile criminal cases. He lives in Los Angeles.

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