Marjorie Castillo reviews “Anxiety — The Inside Story”

“He argues that psychiatry has no theory of mental disorders, and views psychological disorders as originating in biology. He explains that this ideological perspective is highly problematic because it ignores the source of mental distress, and instead pushes biologically-based treatments that are tied to economic and political interest of people in positions of power.”

Marjorie Castillo’s review of this book (from psychiatrist Dr. Niall McLaren) begins:

Anxiety- The Inside Story: How Biological Psychiatry Got It Wrong by Niall McLaren is insightful, clear, and interesting to read, and was written for a wide audience, even if you do not have a background in psychiatry.

In the first part of his book he provides a brief background about this training and how he concluded the main point of his book; that anxiety is the most powerful of all emotions and it is at the root of psychological disorders, not a genetic or biological defect. He argues that psychiatry has no theory of mental disorders, and views psychological disorders as originating in biology. He explains that this ideological perspective is highly problematic because it ignores the source of mental distress, and instead pushes biologically-based treatments that are tied to economic and political interest of people in positions of power. I appreciated his honesty regarding this matter because this is often left out of textbooks and academic articles. He ends the section with a clear statement about his position regarding the origin of mental disorders and uses case studies to illustrate how his method of taking a psychiatric history can be useful in uncovering the real problem behind a person’s mental distress. Although he provides examples of how to assess the psychiatric history, a specific section outlining why and how he uses specific questions early in the book would have been useful. For example, he describes his patient’s physical characteristics (e.g. tattoos) but doesn’t explain why until later in the book. He claims the questions are in the appendix, but for some reason I could not find it.

In the second part of the book, he digs deeper into the role of anxiety and its origins in human nature. In these chapters, he employs clear definitions to breakdown the distinction between anxiety and other related phenomenon, which is vital to understanding how anxiety is such a powerful driving force behind psychiatric disturbances. He explains how anxiety is a normal response to perceived threat, but it becomes problematic when threat is perceived beyond reason …”

You can read more from here.

Any reply would be very welcome

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