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Beyond Madness

'Beyond Madness' cover image

Beyond Madness

The Pain and Possibilities of Serious Mental Illness

Reveals proven solutions for bettering the lives of people with serious mental illness, their families, and their communities.

Leading scientist and gifted storyteller Rachel A. Pruchno, PhD, was shocked to encounter misinformation, ignorance, and intolerance when she sought to help her daughter, newly diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Turning to the scientific literature, Dr. Pruchno eventually found solutions, but she realized many others would need help to understand the highly technical writing and conflicting findings.

In Beyond Madness—part memoir, part history, and part empathetic guide—Dr. Pruchno draws on her decades as a mental health professional, her own family's experiences with mental illness, and extensive interviews with people with serious mental illness to discuss how individuals live with these illnesses, including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and major depression.

The book

• presents real-world vignettes that vividly describe what it is like to experience some of the most troubling symptoms of a severe mental illness
• offers practical advice for how individuals, family members, and communities can help people with a serious mental illness
• explains how people with mental illness can find competent health care providers, identify treatment regimens, overcome obstacles to treatment, cope with stigma, and make decisions
• provides insight into programs, such as Crisis Intervention Training, that can help people undergoing mental health crisis avoid jail and get the treatment they need
• takes aim at the popular concept of "rock bottom" and reveals why this is such a harmful and simplistic approach
• advocates for evidence-based care
• documents examples of communities that have embraced successful strategies for promoting recovery
• shows that people with serious mental illnesses can live productive lives

Meticulously researched and engagingly written, Beyond Madness is a call to action and a promise of hope for everyone who cares about and interacts with the millions of people who have serious mental illness. Family members, friends, teachers, police, primary care doctors, and clergy—people who recognize that something is wrong but don't know how to help—will find the book's practical advice invaluable.