"The problem is that patients keep coming—all the more since there are now fewer options out there for them, public or private."

An in-depth treatise regarding the history of psychiatry, the book traces the beginning of treatment starting with the history of religious influence. This includes the forward-thinking Alexian Brothers, which was a Catholic religious order that began 700-800 years ago in Europe. The work then takes us through the history of early hospitals, medical schools, surgery, medicine, psychiatric wards, the use of ECT (electroconvulsive therapy), and lobotomies as well as Freudian theory and psychoanalysis. Also explored are the value of psychiatric medicines, behavioral treatment, and the positives and negatives of health care, including managed care. This thorough analysis of 228 pages is then followed by an extensive list of references which adds to the professional depth of this work.

With his long-term work in psychiatry including work at the Alexian Brothers behavioral health hospitals, the author expertly delivers an important work regarding the history and current practices of psychiatry. The book is steeped in insight with its analytical focus and depth of information. While it switches back and forth regarding history, it flows in the presentation and is a fascinating read, especially for those in the field of mental health services, not just psychiatry.

The exploration of the negatives (including such horrors as lobotomies and the problems of managed care) and the positives (including the advancement of psychiatric medicines) is a balanced look at how medical practices including psychiatry have developed. Showing how the Alexian Brothers’ treatment model has kept them in business might be a business model for others. Finally, this book shows how things need to change in the future—something everyone must understand for psychiatry to continue to help those in need.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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