Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
A Lethal Inheritance: A Mother Uncovers the Science Behind Three Generations of Mental Illness Paperback – January 24, 2012
|New from||Used from|
Books with Buzz
Discover the latest buzz-worthy books, from mysteries and romance to humor and nonfiction. Explore more
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
From NAMI E-News - Although schizophrenia is often described in scientific, medical or psychological terms, it is, like all illnesses, an intensely personal experience. By focusing on individuals with mental illness and their families Costello gives a good overview of where we are now in uncovering its causes and treatments. 11/2011
"This honest, lucid book examines the urgent problems of family history and early diagnosis in mental illness from a personal and scientific standpoint. It will be invaluable to families trying to understand their own history, and to those who have been blind to such history."
--ANDREW SOLOMON, The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression
"This book should be required reading for any parent with a family history of mental illness, for pediatricians, and for educators. Costello elegantly weaves personal history and scientific research into a compelling and profoundly important narrative..."
--AYELET WALDMAN, author of Bad Mother
"...A Lethal Inheritance is a graceful balance between science and memoir."
--LINDA GRAY SEXTON, author of Half in Love, Surviving the Legacy of Suicide, and Searching for Mercy Street: My Journey Back to My Mother, Ann Sexton "
From the Author
I began this book project with the premise that the world didn't need another memoir of mental illness -- unless I could find a novel and useful reason for sharing the intimate details of what had been the worst decade of my life.
After dealing in 1998 with the diagnosis of my eldest son Alex at age seventeen with paranoid schizophrenia, I then confronted my own lifelong depression followed rapidly by my youngest son's depression and anxiety disorder -- while navigating the emotional and practical fallout. Nothing prepares you for such an unraveling -- particularly when you come from a family steeped in denial, addiction, and hidden mental illness, as mine was. Eventually I would see that these historical family dysfunctions and secrets were as central to the story I had to tell as were the present-day diagnoses, and treatment decisions I was encountering.
This is how I came to the decision to use my own family going back three generations as a case study on how mental illness and addiction traverse families.
From the book:
I've learned three important lessons on my journey through mental illness. First, that I've done things in the wrong order. If we, as parents, get treatment for our own psychological or addiction issues, our children will suffer far less mental illness. If they're already struggling with a mental health challenge, we'll be of much greater help to them. That leads to my second discovery: intervening sooner for a mental health problem is better than picking up the pieces later -- for everyone. Lastly, I've learned that although we're each born with inherited liabilities and assets, throughout our lives our minds become largely what we make of them. Put simply, nurture can trump nature.
Once we get these three things, the game has changed, and we're living in the prevention model of mental wellness where healthy minds rule.
To read an excerpt: alethalinheritance.com/about-the-book/excerpt/
More About the Author
In her work as a mental health advocate, she has been a board member of the Mental Health Association of San Francisco, a producer of strength based recovery training materials for care managers at S.F.'s Family Services Agency and a speaker for parents and care providers around the country.
After co-authoring four books with medical and psychological experts, Victoria released two titles in 2012.
Using memoir and the latest findings from genetics, brain imaging and behavioral science she tells a far reaching, and yet intimate story that will resonate with anyone who has dealt with mental illness in the family in A Lethal Inheritance, A Mother Uncovers the Science Behind Three Generations of Mental Illness, coming from Prometheus Books on January 24, 2012.
Visit the book website at: http://alethalinheritance.com
Alpha Books released Costello's how to on writing a healing memoir, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing a Memoir.
Currently available books include the psychology primer she coauthored for parents and college students, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Child and Adolescent Psychology, written with child psychiatrist Dr. Jack Westman. Her Everything Parent's Guide to Children with OCD written with Stephen Martin, MFT, is a well established parental resource.
In addition to her publishing activities in the mental health field she has hands on experience as the Executive Director of a community mental health center in Santa Rosa, CA.
Speaking and workshops topics include: prevention of mental health disorders for parents and children, using the latest science to interpret your personal risk based on family mental health histories, building emotional resilience and positive communication in families, strength based recovery, and self healing through memoir writing.
Top Customer Reviews
But it is the science and research documented in this book that make it a true treasure. Ms. Costello skillfully manages the challenge of presenting academic information and statistics that are at once enlightening and a pleasure to read.
My small issue with this book is its title. As a layperson with personal interest in mental health issues, I put down this book feeling as though a family history of mental health disorders does not mean an individual is left with a lethal inheritance. Even if your family tree is plagued with suicides, unexplained deaths and drug abuse as a means of self-medication, Ms. Costello and her extensive research offer steps to break the vicious genetics of mental illness. It's a happy irony that a book called A Lethal Inheritance can offer hope for you and your children.
A must read for anyone who has EVER struggled with mental illness or has a family history of addiction, bipolar disorder, depression, conduct problems, ADHD etc.
Along with a detailed & painful family history, the author gives some tips for how to protect a child from the family curse. She presents up-to-date scientific research in an understandable way. This book is very readable & is highly recommended for any parent who has a mental illness.
There is a lot of good information in the book, but I found it an uneasy mix of personal memoir and reporting on mental health issues. As a memoir, it didn't quite work for me. Although the author describes her sons' problems, and her own, there is a detached quality to her writing that kept me from connecting to them as people. Moreover, the author reports her own problems--drinking, depression, marital issues, self-destructive dating patterns--with honesty but little analysis or introspection. The unfortunate effect is to render her a less-than-sympathetic character. She often seems more concerned with the next medical intervention to take rather than with the person involved.
So, as a memoir, I found it lacking. As an investigation of current scientific research into mental illness, I think it is much better. There is a lot of interesting and useful information presented, including a point-by-point program of what to do as a parent if your child is facing mental health problems.
The memoir parts offer compelling evidence of the authors sincere motives in writing such a book. I really appreciated her honesty about both her personal life and the positive and negative issues of current mental health treatments. She plays no favorites, blames no singular entity, and makes no excuses.
The genealogy bit was probably my least favorite but that only means I liked it rather than I loved it. Those who enjoy genealogy and have a family history trail will like this section - a mini investigative drama snuck into a scientific memoir.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is a combination memoir and compilation on medical studies on mental illness. I did not enjoy the way it was organized and hoped for more memoir and less clinical... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Kindle Customer
Beware if all you want is a good story. This is more than that. Costello has done an amazing amount of research into the genetics, expression, diagnosis, and treatment of the... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Janice Kvale
Close to finishing this book. Story of my life on many levels. More often than not severely mentally ill persons are unable to avail themselves of treatment. Read morePublished 16 months ago by fiona craig
A great read of a parent and her children in the mind field of mental illness. Book is an easy read. Is worth the purchase and I will read the book over and over again.Published 17 months ago by grace
Recommended for anyone and everyone who has experienced addiction and or mental illness in their family. For some, it may be too close to the heart, reading this woman's story. Read morePublished 21 months ago by maria miriam
This book is most informative about a mother's journey of discovery about her ancestors and their illnesses and how that inheritance has affected her own health and that of her two... Read morePublished on November 13, 2013 by C. J. Everett
The author tells her story with love and compassion. I found it especially comforting, having lived for years with someone in the family with mental illness. Read morePublished on October 31, 2013 by Caroline McGirr
I'll need to read this book again to grasp all the information there is to consider. However as a family member
who is watching others go through addiction and depression... Read more