DIAGNOSIS: SCHIZOPHRENIA: A Comprehensive Resource for Patients, Families, and Helping Professionals

Rachel Miller, Author, Susan Mason, Author, Susan Mason, Joint Author . Columbia Univ. $52 (248p) ISBN 978-0-231-12624-3 ISBN 0-231-12625-5

Shrouded in myth and mystery, distorted by sensationalist films like The Three Faces of Eve and mistakenly confused with multiple personality disorder, schizophrenia, the authors argue, is one of the least understood mental disorders in the world. It affects 1% of the U.S. population, and this book, primarily targeted at those with the disease, marks an important entry in the mental health genre, particularly since it is coauthored by a group of 35 patients (from a New York treatment program) and has first-person accounts of diagnosis, delusional states and recovery. Miller and Mason, social workers who specialize in the issue, note that while it's still not clear if there is a cure for schizophrenia, many people can successfully manage the condition through a combination of structured routines, medication and therapy. Readers with short attention spans will be able to handle the short chapters, which offer straightforward, nonjudgmental advice on handling a variety of symptoms. Of particular interest are the sections addressing how much information to give co-workers and employers. The authors assume no prior knowledge or background on the subject, and their book is far easier to understand than the classic title for schizophrenics and their families, E. Fuller Torrey's Surviving Schizophrenia. Illus. (Sept.)

Forecast:While the press information indicates that the publisher hopes to capitalize on the recent interest in Andrea Yates and John Nash, a more general readership seems unlikely, given the book's obvious orientation toward people diagnosed with schizophrenia, their friends and relatives.

Reviewed on: 06/10/2002
Release date: 08/01/2002
Genre: Nonfiction
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