50 Signs of Mental Illness

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A Guide to Understanding Mental Health

James Whitney Hicks

View Inside Format: Cloth
Price: $27.50
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This compelling book introduces a wide range of psychiatric symptoms and their treatments. Written for anyone concerned about his or her own mental health or about symptoms observed in family members or close friends, the book is packed with useful and reassuring information. It is both easy to read and difficult to put down.
The volume presents fifty signs that may—or may not—signal mental illness. Arranged alphabetically, the signs include everything from anger to sexual preoccupations, from cravings to obsessions. Dr. James W. Hicks, a highly regarded psychiatrist with extensive clinical experience, begins each topic with a vignette to illustrate the symptom. He explains how a specific sign can be caused by several different illnesses and may even be a normal response to stress. And he outlines available treatments as well as strategies for coping with each symptom.
Nearly one in three individuals experiences psychiatric symptoms each year. This book clarifies the significance of such signs and guides its readers toward appropriate treatment choices. It is an invaluable resource for anyone seeking a more informed perspective on mental illness.

James Whitney Hicks, M.D., is director of clinical services at the Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center in New York City. He is also assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at New York University.

A selection of Behavioral Science Book Club 

Fifty Signs discusses these and more:

antisocial behavior – anxiety – appetite disturbances – compulsions – deceitfulness – delusions – denial – depression – euphoria – fatigue – flashbacks – grief – hallucinations – identity confusion – intoxication – jealousy – mania – memory loss – mood swings –nonsensical speech – obsessions – panic – paranoia – self-mutilation – sexual preoccupations – sleep problems – sloppiness – suicidal thoughts

"Tackling psychological problems begins when we notice their signs. Dr. James Hicks has used this fact to devise an exceptionally practical guide for anyone struggling with the questions of mental illness."—Anand Pandya, M.D., NYU School of Medicine, Bellevue Hospital Center, and NAMI Board of Directors

“Dr. Hicks has done what many doctors are afraid to do: tossed aside the jargon and described in everyday terms what mental illness looks and feels like. This is an important and wonderfully accessible book!”—Charles Barber, project director, Yale Program for Recovery and Community Health and Author of Songs from the Black Chair: A Memoir of Mental Interiors

"The direct address, the concrete examples, and the quality of the writing give a dramatic, page-turning quality to the text."—Michael Rowe, Yale School of Medicine


“Concrete stories, a wide range of information, helpful advice—a most useful book for the general reader.”—Michael Rowe, Yale School of Medicine

"Each of us has experienced one or several of the various forms of emotional distress described in this enormously helpful book—and who has not worried about their meaning and sometimes wondered whether, or how, to seek treatment? Finally, here is the book that answers every question lucidly, directly and authoritatively. Dr. Hicks deserves the thanks of every reader, for his remarkable contribution to mental health."— Sherwin B. Nuland, M.D., author of Lost In America: A Journey With My Father and How We Die


"Hicks opens each chapter with a good story or character study, wasting no words and packing in much more than one might expect without getting heavy. . . . A reservoir of useful knowledge, this belongs in almost every library serving real people."—Library Journal

"A welcome addition to a general reference library shelf. The curious and the casual reader will find it a useful and authoritative tool for understanding mental illness. . . . The Recommended Resources in the back of the book is an outstanding listing of books, organizations, and Web sites about treatment, suggestions for managing illness, and nationwide support groups."—Janice Gabrovsek, NAMI Advocate


"A smart, alphabetically arranged layperson's guide to common symptoms ranging from anxiety to deceitfulness that may be either personal quirks or signs of psychosis. . . . Beyond the fifty signs, the expansive index helpfully guides readers to relevant discussions, and there is an ample list of recommended resources for those seeking further information."—nashuatelegraph.com

"A smart, alphabetically arranged layperson’s guide. . . . Fascinating observations abound. . . . The book includes valuable information about the benefits and side effects of available medications. . . . The expansive index helpfully guides readers to relevant discussions."—Gregory Mott, Washington Post

"This book provides authoritative yet easy-to-understand explanations for a wide range of symptoms, including anxiety, mood swings, cravings, memory loss, and self-esteem problems. Hicks also offers treatment and coping strategies. Most important, the book clearly defines the line between behaviors that are normal (if troublesome) and those that require professional attention."—Health

"The tone is friendly, interested, and inviting, and the scholarship behind it is seamless. . . . The book should have wide lay appeal, but as one who trains residents and medical students, I believe it would also be useful for apprentice general clinicians and therapists. Compared with training student professionals to listen, it is more difficult to teach them how to talk to patients in a helpful way. The strength of this book is not in outdoing a textbook or in presenting a novel material, but in parsing subjects and phrasing acceptable ways to speak about them. It wouldn't hurt doctors to read a bit of Hicks' book and commit some of his patient-friendly language to memory."—David V. Forrest, American Journal of Psychiatry

Winner of the 2006 “Ken” Award, the Kenneth Johnson Memorial Research Library of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill’s New York City Chapter.

 Semi-finalist for the 2006 Independent Publisher Book Awards in the Health/Medicine/Nutrition category.

Selected for Association of American University Presses (AAUP)Books for Public and Secondary School Libraries, 2006

Selected as a 2007 AAUP University Press Book for Public and Secondary School Libraries.
ISBN: 9780300106572
Publication Date: April 11, 2005
416 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4

Sales Restrictions: For sale in North America only
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