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Between Sanity and Madness: Mental Illness from Ancient Greece to the Neuroscientific Era
Allan V. Horwitz
Oxford University Press / Hardcover / 2020-01-01 / 019090786X
Psychiatry / History
price: $43.95 (may be subject to change)
376 pages
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This book examines several perennial issues about mental illness: how different societies have distinguished mental disorders from normality; whether mental illnesses are similar to or different from organic conditions; and the ways in which different eras conceive of the causes of mental disorder. It begins with the earliest depictions of mental illness in Ancient Greek literature, philosophy, and medicine and concludes with the portrayals found in modern neuroscience. In contrast to the tremendous advances other branches of medicine display in answering questions about the nature, causes, and treatments of physical diseases, current psychiatric knowledge about what qualities of madness distinguish it from sanity, the resemblance of mental and physical pathologies, and the kinds of factors that lead people to become mentally ill does not show any steady growth or, arguably, much progress. The immense recent technological advances in brain science have not yet led to corresponding improvements in understandings of and explanations for mental illnesses. These perplexing phenomena remain almost as mysterious now as they were millennia ago.


1. Puzzles of Mental Illness
2. Before Psychiatry
3. A Biological Century
4. Freud Transformation of Normality
5. Mental Illness Becomes Ubiquitous
6. The Decline and Fall of Dynamic Psychiatry
7. Diagnostic Psychiatry
8. Biology Reemerges
9. The Successes and Failures of the DSM Revolution
10. The Past and Future of Mental Illness

About the Author:

Allan V. Horwitz is Board of Governors Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Sociology at Rutgers University. He has published over 100 articles and chapters about various aspects of mental health and illness as well as nine books, including Creating Mental Illness (University of Chicago Press 2002), The Loss of Sadness: How Psychiatry Transformed Normal Misery into Depressive Disorder (Oxford University Press 2007 with Jerome Wakefield), All We Have to Fear (Oxford University Press 2012 with Jerome Wakefield), A Short History of Anxiety (Johns Hopkins University Press 2013), and PTSD: A Short History (Johns Hopkins University Press 2018). In 2006, he received the Leonard Pearlin Award for Distinguished Lifetime Contributions to the Sociology of Mental Health and in 2016 the Leo G. Reeder Award for Lifetime Contributions to Medical Sociology, both from the American Sociological Association. He has been a Fellow-in-Residence at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (2007-2008) and at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford (2012-2013).

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