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Trouble in Mind: An Unorthodox Introduction to Psychiatry 1st Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0801898075
ISBN-10: 0801898072
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Written for the medical student and the psychiatric resident and the psychology and social work intern. For those readers, it is a masterly summary of what we know about the normal brain, and how it goes awry.

(Metapsychology)

Dean MacKinnon has written an ambitious book for psychiatrists and psychologists, and indeed for the interested general reader. Most texts that address normal brain function keep it compartmentalized in separate chapters (often written by separate authors) from theories of psychopathology. Such texts almost never take on the risky project of connecting neurobiology with concepts of mind. MacKinnon has made rich connections that will fire the imagination of clinicians, giving them a way to situate human experience in the function and malfunction of our brains.

(Steven Hyman, M.D., Provost, Harvard University, Former Director, National Institute of Mental Health)

Dr. MacKinnon's thoughtful and provocative book begins with the premise that 'psychiatry has no coherent concept of mind' and that the orthodox approach to psychiatric diagnosis neglects the nature of mind and mental illness. As an alternative to the superficial symptom checklists of the DSMs, MacKinnon provides a richly detailed model for understanding both our mental life and its breakdown in various forms of mental illness. By conceptualizing 'mind' as a function of brain, MacKinnon is able to present a compelling and systematic account of our mental life, in both health and disease. He gives due weight to both biological and humanistic modes of explaining psychiatric illness, and his book will greatly enrich the understanding of trainees and seasoned clinicians alike.

(Ronald Pies, M.D., SUNY Upstate Medical University, Tufts University School of Medicine, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus, Psychiatric Times)

A masterly summary of what we know about the normal brain, and how it goes awry.

(Nassir Ghaemi Metapsychology)

Trouble in Mind is rich with ideas and I think that it will become a classic of non-mainstream psychiatric thinking.

(Stephen Ginn BMJ)

MacKinnon is a wonderful guide and interpreter... an excellent resource for new trainees, and experienced clinicians.

(Chad Sylvester, Barry A. Hong PsycCRITIQUES)

About the Author

Dean F. MacKinnon, M.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press; 1 edition (December 3, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801898072
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801898075
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,248,927 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
With Trouble in Mind, author Dean MacKinnon takes on a challenging task: to demystify the field of psychiatry to a broad audience of readers. But, with its engaging, almost conversational, style, replete with humor, humility, and an immense grasp of the field, he succeeds! The book hooks you in from the very beginning, with a fascinating introduction to psychiatry's central conundrum. From there, it leads you, effortlessly, through some pretty sophisticated concepts about the brain/mind. One of the book's greatest strengths is the author's ability to convey to the reader, in a direct, jargon-free way, the specifics of several, increasingly complex, levels of mental life (to which he gives evocative names, such as "the organic mind" and "the integral mind"). Trouble in Mind details the functional aspects of each level of mind in a voice that is straightforward, but never dull. The book concludes with a refreshingly thoughtful model of psychiatry that is able to account for all mental illnesses, whether they arise from biological or psychological (or a combination of both) origins. This is a tour de force, and highly recommended to anyone interested in making sense of the oft-troubled field of psychiatry.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a third-year psychiatry resident, I am in the midst of training, constantly trying to acquire clinical experience and to better understand my patients, as well as the field of psychiatry.

I found "Trouble in Mind" thought-provoking and extremely well-written. I would certainly recommend the book to any student or resident looking for an in-depth inquiry into psychiatry and psychopathology. Anyone who is concerned about the epistemological roots of psychiatry, or thinking about the underlying "edifice" of psychiatry, in this age of emerging and revisionary DSM classifications and evolving nosology, would be very well-served by this book.

In "Trouble in Mind", Dr. MacKinnon seems to have deftly woven a new potential paradigm for approaching patients afflicted with mental illness, by depicting the mind and mental life, on different explanatory levels. For each progressive level of the mind portrayed in the book, he articulates a description of function, as well as an associated pathologic disruption that may be seen in a patient presenting with a mental illness.

Beginning with the "elementary mind", Dr. MacKinnon reviews basic biological "input and output functions" of the mind, such as arousal, appetite, and perception, and then describes their associated disruptions as they may present in a clinical setting, including delirium, or disorders of appetite, or hallucinations. He then progresses to the "integral mind", describing functions of mental life such as attention, memory, habit, and motive, and also describes their disruptions including distraction, amnesia, addiction, or anhedonia. In the "synthetic mind", he advances his model to describe secondary functions of mental life such as bias, personality, and belief, and here too describes associated dysfunction.
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Format: Hardcover
As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, I found Trouble in Mind; An Unorthodox Introduction to Psychiatry to be thoughtful, enlightening and often genuinely delightful.
Dean F. MacKinnon, M.D. takes the standard diagnostic approach of DSM and broadens its application to the entirety of the human experience. He links the organic functions of the brain to the real life actions of patients struggling for balance and mental health. In doing so, he instructs and alerts practitioners to the effects and the risks of treatments and modalities, as well as to the array of results that may complicate treatment. By underscoring the importance of individuality in treatment, MacKinnon goes far beyond simple diagnosis and into the very personal and intuitive realm of human interaction--listening, learning and being aware of the person behind the illness. This approach emboldens practitioners not to shrink from the complexity of individual circumstances and lives.
MacKinnon's breadth of knowledge, humor and insight are evident throughout this book and especially in his provocative discussions of concepts such as free will, where he takes the reader from questions about its actual or perceived nature and validity to its connections to biological systems and chemical pathways. Rich discussions such as these contribute to a deeper understanding of the range of human capacity that encompasses illness and health.
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Format: Hardcover
Dr. MacKinnon's book weaves the biology of the brain with the concepts of psychiatry in a clear way that a lay-person can easily understand. Although some of the biology is complicated, it is so clearly explained that the reader becomes more knowledgeable. I have recommended this book to numerous families and patients because as a nurse I feel that it is important for everyone to understand the concepts of psychiatry so that they can better understand the treatments their friends and families may be receiving. Dr. MacKinnon's tone is respectful and compassionate towards the individuals that suffer from the diseases he describes, and this alone makes this book a uniquely valuable text for all.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My expectations of this book were probably too high.
I hoped it would provide a seasoned mental health
professional with a different way of viewing mental
disorders than that provided in the DSM V.

It proved to be just another standard text on the
current thinking in the field written by a clear, but
not original, thinker.
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