Monday, November 5, 2007

Second Edition: Manic-Depressive Illness, Goodwin and Jamison

Having a personal and familial interest in the subject, I was happy to see from Oxford University Press, a new edition of Goodwin and Redfield's introduction to manic-depressive illness.

I assume that the OUP release (exert below), a beautifully written piece of expositional prose, is the work of Kay Redfield Jamison, author of Touched With Fire: Manic Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperment.

Manic-Depressive Illness: Bipolar Disorders and Recurrent Depression, Second Edition by Frederick K. Goodwin and Kay Redfield Jamison chronicles the medical treatment of manic and depressive episodes, strategies for preventing future episodes, and psychotherapeutic issues common in this illness. In the excerpt below the authors introduce their second edition.

It has been 17 years since the publication of the first edition of this text; they have been the most explosively productive years in the history of medical science. In every field relevant to our understanding of manic-depressive illness—genetics, neurobiology, psychology and neuropsychology, neuroanatomy, diagnosis, and treatment—we have gained a staggering amount of knowledge. Scientists and clinicians have gone an impressive distance toward fulfilling the hopes articulated by Emil Kraepelin in the introduction to his 1899 textbook on psychiatry. Those who treat and study mental illness, he wrote, must first, from bedside observation, delineate the clinical forms of illness; they must define and predict its course, determine its causes, and discover how best to treat and then ultimately prevent insanity. Psychiatry, he argued, was a “young, still developing science,” and it must, “against sharp opposition, gradually achieve the position it deserves according to its scientific and practical importance. There is no doubt that it will achieve the position—for it has at its disposal the same weapons which have served the other branches of medicine so well: clinical observation, the microscope and experimentation.” Kraepelin was right, as usual. And he was remarkably astute in his observations and predictions about the immensely complex group of disorders collectively known as manic-depressive illness.

Manic-depressive illness magnifies common human experiences to larger-than-life proportions. Among its symptoms are exaggerations of normal sadness and joy, profoundly altered thinking, irritability and rage, psychosis and violence, and deeply disrupted patterns of energy and sleep. In its diverse forms, manic-depressive illness afflicts a large number of people—the exact number depending on how the illness is defined and how accurately it is ascertained. First described thousands of years ago, found in widely diverse cultures, manic-depressive illness always has fascinated medical observers, even as it has baffled and frightened most others. To those afflicted, it can be so painful that suicide seems the only means of escape; indeed, manic depressive illness is the most common cause of suicide. We view manic-depressive illness as a medical condition, an illness to be diagnosed, treated, studied, and understood within a medical context. This position is the prevailing one now, as it has been throughout history. Less universal is our diagnostic conception of manic-depressive illness, which evolved as we were writing both editions of this book. Derived from the work of Kraepelin, the “great classifier,” our conception encompasses roughly the same group of disorders as the term manic-depressive illness in European usage. It differs, however, from contemporary concepts of bipolar disorder. Kraepelin built his observations on the work of a small group of nineteenth-century European psychiatrists who, in their passion for ever finer distinctions, had cataloged abnormal human behavior into hundreds of classes of disorder. More than any other single individual, Kraepelin brought order and sense to this categorical profusion. He constructed a nosology based on careful description, reducing the categories of psychoses to two: manic-depressive illness and dementia praecox, later renamed schizophrenia. It is to Kraepelin, born in the same year as Freud, that we owe much of our conceptualization of manic-depressive illness. It is to him that we owe our emphasis on documenting the longitudinal course of the illness and the careful delineation of mixed states and the stages of mania, as well as the observations that cycle length shortens with succeeding episodes; that poor clinical outcome is associated with rapid cycles, mixed states, and coexisting substance abuse; that genetics is central to the pathophysiology of the disease; and that manic-depressive illness is a spectrum of conditions and related temperaments.

Read the rest HERE


  1. Mr Russell,

    In light of your interest on this topic, I'd like to send you a copy of "MOMMY I'M STILL IN HERE" for possible review on your site. Here is a link to my publisher's webpage: www (dot)behlerpublications (dot) com/titles-mclaughlin (dot) shtml

    Also, Please go to janedevin (dot)com and read what she said about the book. I hope to hear back from you soon.

  2. For those interested in linking to Kate McLaughlin's book, links



    I can't write a review--not anytime soon, but I will leave links to your book in response to your comment. At the top of the blog you'll see an invitation to authors. You're more than welcome to click there, leave a review or release information and links, and I'll transfer them to a post so they'll be visible.

    You'll see another book --the Dog about Town--posted there the same way.


  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. The distinction between bipolar disorder and schizophrenia was useful at the time - but many other psychiatric disorders still trouble the lexicon of mental disease.

    I asked a psychologist for the name/diagnosis of a liar who lies even when his/her lie is counterproductive. He had no answer.

    Your very welcome point of view is a window upon futhre discussion.

  5. How does telling a lie you know to be against your self-interest differ from other self-destructive behaviors?

    I can't say I understand what a 'lie' is. A lie is moral category. Various forms of deception are woven so deeply into our social relations, our self-image, our sense of well being--at what point do they become "lies?"

    Does it have to do with shades of consciousness--how aware we are of our deceptions? Aren't the deepest "lies" the ones we use to hide from the delusions we need to maintain our sense of being in the world?