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Madness in the Streets : How Psychiatry and the Law Abandoned the Mentally Ill Paperback – August 1, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0967993904 ISBN-10: 0967993903

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Madness in the Streets : How Psychiatry and the Law Abandoned the Mentally Ill + Out of the Shadows: Confronting America's Mental Illness Crisis + The Insanity Offense: How America's Failure to Treat the Seriously Mentally Ill Endangers Its Citizens
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 436 pages
  • Publisher: Treatment Advocacy Center (August 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0967993903
  • ISBN-13: 978-0967993904
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #945,728 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Taking aim at advocacy groups who view the homeless as ordinary people down on their luck, the authors of this scorching critique cite findings that 30% to 40% of the homeless suffer from major mental illness, and that a high proportion are substance abusers. Isaac, a sociologist, and freelance journalist Armat, blame the abandonment of the homeless mentally ill on the anti-psychiatry movement (led by Thomas Szasz, Ronald Laing, among others), on civil libertarians and on psychiatrists who foster the "delusion that preventive community psychiatry could eliminate mental illness." Arguing that we have replaced the mental hospital with the 18th-century poorhouse which threw together the mentally ill, the retarded, criminals and the displaced, they warn that a humane system of care will be costly and might involve treatment of some mentally ill persons against their will. Their support for judicious use of electroshock therapy will also stir controversy.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Isaac and Armat, a sociologist and a journalist, respectively, look retrospectively at the causes behind the deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill in the 1970s--a phenomena they abhor. Their solution to this monstrous error is to combine community services with active psychiatric treatment. Chapters expose how the "madness myth" started with anti-psychiatry proponents R.D. Laing and Thomas Szasz, ex-patient groups, and radical psychiatrists like Jeffrey Masson. The authors also lambast lawyers who eliminated involuntary commitment and sued hospitals and doctors for failure to treat. But perhaps the most riveting portion of this well-researched, disturbing, and lucid expository is the devastation wreaked on families by untreated relatives afflicted with mental illness. A good companion to Ann Braden Johnson's Out of Bedlam ( LJ 9/1/90). Recommended for larger collections.
- Janice Arenofsky, formerly with Arizona State Lib., Phoenix
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bradley P. Hayton on February 23, 2012
Format: Paperback
So often we forget the plight of the severely mentally ill, even though we are in the mental health profession. But then again, that probably is the problem. We work with those who are already mentally healthy, or at least almost. Like the world, we enjoy working with college students or high-functioning adults who are good conversationalists. The severely mentally ill are relegated to the streets.

Isaac and Armat hit us with our own neglect. The severely mentally ill compose between one-third and one-half of the homeless population. Why? The authors blame the anti-psychiatry movement, specifically R. D. Laing, Thomas Szasz, and the ex-patient movement. Government, and the rest of our culture, has been heavily influenced by their philosophy and political rhetoric, while ignoring the scientific evidence and humanitarian compassion. Irving Goffman and others joined forces to defame state hospitals, and then to defund them. Community mental health centers were to replace them, but as Torrey points out in his Nowhere to Go, the CMHs almost exclusively treat the non-severely mentally ill.

There is much rhetoric about preventing mental illness, but the trouble is that no one really knows how to prevent it, since science really hasn't determined its source. Instead, the federal and state governments pour their resources into programs designed to treat the severely mentally ill, but don't actually provide such treatment.

The stories of broken families, suicides, and people thrown out on the street break your heart. Families are caught between a rock and a hard place. Patients are allowed to refuse treatment even though their minds are "ill," while family members watch their loved ones destroy themselves or be raped or killed on the street.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Julia Acuna on March 31, 2007
Format: Paperback
I read this book and could not put it down. It really explains how our mental health policy in America became so distorted. The abandonment of our mentally ill in the name of freedom and self determination was ill thought out. This book is thorough and riveting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Oneill on May 25, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Its a good source of information for people in the mental health or in any kind of social work, or responsible for public policy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JANE C. WINN on March 4, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For those of us who have lived these fifty years loving and caring for a family member with mental illness this story seems like reading our family diary. We remember doctors who used their own money to purchase medicine in the 1950's and we find it hard to forgive the people who made it difficult for us to care for our family member. This book will make you examine your ideas about who is the one with the mental illness and perhaps encourage you to learn more.
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