A Dose of Sanity: Mind, Medicine, and Misdiagnosis

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Wiley, Oct 16, 1997 - Medical - 272 pages
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A psychiatrist explains why it's not all in your headShould you be taking Prozac or penicillin? Is your child hyperactive or does she suffer from carbon monoxide poisoning? Are you depressed, or have you contracted Lyme disease?Before you take that pill, make sure that your doctor is treating the real problem. Doctors are far from infallible. And if the numbers indicate anything, your chances of a pychiatric misdiagnoses are a lot better than you might think. A Dose of Sanity exposes the problem, recounts startling examples of tragic misdiagnoses, and shows how to avoid ones that may cost you your life.In psychiatry today, easily treatable medical problems are misdiagnosed as mental disorders at an alarming rate. Conservative estimates indicate that as many as 41% of patients are incorrectly diagnosed with psychiatric disorders. To mask the symptoms, these patients are 'treated' with powerful drugs like Lithium and Prozac. The tragedy is that many of these 'psychiatric' disorders could be easily cured, if only the physician had identified the real medical problem.According to Walker, these critical mistakes take place so frequently because too many psychiatrists have abandoned thorough examinations in favor of 'cookbook' diagnoses. Rather than looking for possible physical disorders, clinicians rely heavily on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders (DSM) to label their patients' conditions. All too often these labels--terms like 'depressed,' 'anxious,' or 'hyperactive'--are actually symptoms whose real causes are never pinpointed. The consequences of this so-called 'DSMing of America' can prove dangerous, and in some cases, fatal.Using compelling case studies, A Dose of Sanity explains how and why this phenomenon has become such a dangerous problem and demonstrates the costly consequences for both patients and the doctors. Confronting the psychiatric establishment head-on, Walker offers practical guidelines that readers can use to protect themselves from misdiagnosis.Reads like a medical mystery novel, with intriguing stories that illustrate all-too-common cases of psychiatric misdiagnosisDiscusses the unique difficulties of diagnosing children and the elderly Offers readers a system of self-assessment that can help them avoid being misdiagnosedSYDNEY WALKER, III, M.D. (La Jolla, California) is a board certified neuropsychiatrist. He is the director of the Southern California Neuropsychiatrist Institute, and founder of Behavioral Neurology International.

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A DOSE OF SANITY: Mind, Medicine, and Misdiagnosis

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An incisive attack on the American Psychiatric Association that cuts to the quick. Walker (Help for the Hyperactive Child, 1978), a neurologist as well as a psychiatrist, contends that few ... Read full review

A dose of sanity: mind, medicine, and misdiagnosis

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Walker, director of Southern California's Neuropsychiatric Institute, here argues that clinicians should not rely exclusively on standard psychiatric labels. He contends that labels such as depression ... Read full review

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About the author (1997)

SYDNEY WALKER III, M.D., is a board-certified neuropsychiatrist, Director of the Southern California Neuropsychiatric Institute, and founder of Behavioral Neurology International.

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