Mental Illness and the Body: Beyond Diagnosis

Mental Illness and the Body: Beyond Diagnosis


Observation of the body helps psychiatrists to determine the cause and treatment of mental illness. To form a diagnosis, practitioners conduct detailed observations of patients’ appearance, posture, gesture and gait, thereby using the body as a diagnostic index. However, within routine mental health practice, there is little consideration of how the bodily presentation of patients may reflect aspects of their "lived experience." With reference to a range of theoretical perspectives including philosophy, psychoanalysis, feminism and sociology, Mental Illness and the Body explores the ways in which understanding "lived experience" may usefully be applied to mental health practice. Key features include: – an outline of history British psychiatry including treatments – interviews with a variety of psychiatrists and nurses – an analysis of feminism and the way its insights have been applied to understanding mental health and illness – in-depth interviews with eight patients diagnosed with mental illness "Mental Illness and the Body" is essential reading for mental health practitioners, allied professionals and anyone with an interest in the body and mental illness.
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