Reviewed Books & Films

« October 2013 | Main | December 2013 »

November 2013

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Of Monsters and Men

APA In their review of Monstrous Crimes and the Failure of Forensic Psychiatry by John Douard and Pamela Schultz, Juanita Baker and Vanessa Edkins write,

The authors mention that it is only 1 percent of sex offenders who are very dangerous, but they are driving society’s fear that has led to all sex offenders being labeled monsters, and to all of them being inhumanely and unjustly treated not only through civil commitment but also by labeling and stigmatizing them for life.
Do you believe that it is appropriate for society to treat sex offenders differently from other felons?

Read the Review
ReviewHow Should Society Treat Sex Offenders: As Monsters or With Humanity?
By Juanita N. Baker and Vanessa A. Edkins
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2013 Vol 58(45)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Should Psychologists Embrace or Abandon DSM‑5?

APA The November 20th release of PsycCRITIQUES includes two reviews of the newly released Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as well as reviews of four other books relevant to the new edition of the manual. These reviews, written by several of the most prominent authorities in the field, are often—but not uniformly—critical of the latest version of the DSM.

Psychologists almost always have the option of using codes from the World Health Organization's (WHO) International Classification of Diseases (ICD), and use of ICD-10 codes will be required by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) after October 1, 2014. Use of a standardized nomenclature will bring diagnostic coding in the United States in line with the taxonomy used by other WHO member countries, and it will facilitate cross-cultural research on mental illness.

Has the DSM outlived its usefulness? Does it have any value other than serving as an important reference tool and repository for mental health information? Is it overpriced? Should psychology professors teach both ICD and DSM coding, or will mastering the ICD codes be sufficient for clinical practice?

Read the Reviews
ReviewLet's Help Psychiatry Get Back on the Right Track…Again!
By Theodore Millon
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2013 Vol 58(45)
  • A review of the books Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM–5; Desk Reference to the Diagnostic Criteria From DSM–5; and The Pocket Guide to the DSM–5 Diagnostic Exam

ReviewOn the Origin of the Specious: The Evolution of the DSM–5
By Greg J. Neimeyer
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2013 Vol 58(45)
  • A review of the books Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM–5; Desk Reference to the Diagnostic Criteria From DSM–5; and The Pocket Guide to the DSM–5 Diagnostic Exam

ReviewDSM–5: The Perfect Storm
By Peter E. Nathan
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2013 Vol 58(45)
  • A review of the books Saving Normal: An Insider's Revolt Against Out-of-Control Psychiatric Diagnosis, DSM–5, Big Pharma, and the Medicalization of Ordinary Life; The Book of Woe: The DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry; and Our Necessary Shadow: The Nature and Meaning of Psychiatry

ReviewMental Health on Trial
By Richard Frank
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2013 Vol 58(45)
  • A review of Mad Science: Psychiatric Coercion, Diagnosis, and Drugs

Thursday, November 14, 2013

It’s Going to Take More Than Uncovering the Biological Underpinnings of Anorexia to Combat Its Stigma

APA C. Alix Timko's review of Decoding Anorexia: How Breakthroughs in Science Offer Hope for Eating Disorders highlights the long history of anorexia and the shifts that have taken place in the understanding of the disorder. Decoding Anorexia describes the biological factors that contribute to the development and progression of the disorder rather than focusing on the psychological and social factors, including media images, which have been highlighted in the past. Although anorexia is acknowledged as a biologically based mental illness, the contradictory genetic and biological research findings that have sometimes been observed are noted as well.

Timko argues that the focus on the genetic and biological underpinnings of the disorder may assist in reducing the stigma and blaming often encountered by those diagnosed with the disorder. The focus on the genetic and biological basis of the disorder follows a general trend in mental health. However, despite significant efforts to convince the public that mental illnesses are diseases like diabetes and cancer, stigma remains. If data on the biological basis of other disorders have not reduced stigma, why would it do so for an eating disorder? Are we more understanding of individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer's?

I question the extent to which we are using what we know about stigma and prejudice to develop effective public communication and education campaigns. Although complete biopsychosocial understanding of these disorders is essential for improved treatment, it seems to me that evidence-based communication strategies rather than wishful thinking about the changes in attitudes that a biological understanding might produce are required to address the stigma faced by those diagnosed with mental disorders.

Read the Review
ReviewShedding Light on the Enigma of Anorexia Nervosa
By C. Alix Timko
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2013 Vol 58(42)

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Flight: A Powerful and Popular Film on Addiction

APA The engaging film Flight, starring Denzel Washington as Whip, an airline pilot suffering from alcohol dependence, offers viewers a wide range of material to consider—powerful portrayal of addiction, realistic consequences of a disease, the struggle of recovery, emotional turmoil, and hope.

As Ronda Dearing and Molly Rath emphasize in their PsycCRITIQUES review, this film does not take the approach of most addiction films emphasizing the "why" of the addiction, such as abuse/trauma, parents with alcoholism, and/or persistent feelings of failure. Instead, the focus is on the present-day character of Whip, who is facing major challenges and displays his full personality—his addictive behaviors, his positive character strengths, and his struggle to make the right decisions. Thus, viewers see a more realistic, complex human being. Viewers are likely to have a range of reactions to the portrayal, for example, empathy, sympathy, admiration, disgust, anger, gratitude, and pride.

What were some of your emotional reactions to the portrayal of Whip? Did your feelings change as the film progressed?

The film recently won a Prism award for best substance abuse film because of its accuracy in the portrayal of an individual suffering this condition. Would you consider Denzel Washington's portrayal of addiction to be spot-on in terms of accuracy? What would you change?

Read the Review
ReviewAn Ordinary Day
By Ronda L. Dearing and Molly S. Rath
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2013 Vol 58(37)

Editor of PsycCRITIQUES

Danny Wedding, PhD

Chair of Behavioral Sciences,
College of Medicine,
American University of Antigua

Associate Editors of PsycCRITIQUES

Related Links

Bookmark and Share

Send Feedback

rss Subscribe to the Blog

rss Subscribe via FeedBurner

Subscribe to Blog Updates via Email Here…