Mental illness is a highly controversial and contested field,informed by the ideas and research of academics and practitionersworking in psychiatry, psychology, pharmacology, sociology,genetics and the neurosciences. This book brings clarity to acomplex field, exploring core issues ranging from debates about theway the concept has been developed, transformed and expanded overtime, to controversies over its causes.The author evaluates critiques of the concept of mental illness andof the way its expanding boundaries now define a far wider range ofmental states, experiences and activities as pathological,examining some of the changes that have been made in officialpsychiatric classifications since the Second World War. Arguingthat these boundaries need to be restricted, the author contendsthat many of the phenomena identified as mental illness are normalreactions to life’s difficulties and that, while individualsmay need support, it is not appropriate or helpful for suchphenomena to be pathologized and treated as indicative of mentaldisorder. Other important topics covered include the way mentalillness is measured, its distribution across populations and overtime, and the different types of care provided for those withidentified mental illness. Mental Illness will prove invaluable for intendingpractitioners in medicine, psychiatry, mental health nursing,social work and clinical and health psychology, as well as forstudents in psychology, sociology, and the health sciences.
About the Author
Joan Busfield is Professor of Sociology at the University of Essex.
Table of ContentsList of Figures and Tables
1 Concepts and Classifications
2 Counting Cases
3 Contested Causes
5 Conceptual Controversies
6 Care, Control and Costs