PATIENTS OR PRISONERS?: The Mentally Ill in America by Robert A. Liston

PATIENTS OR PRISONERS?: The Mentally Ill in America

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In keeping with this author's tendency to overreach, Patients or Prisoners? combines a much needed discussion of the civil rights of mental patients with a simplistic summary of the debate between the medical and behavior models of psychological disorders. Despite an infelicitous, sometimes downright ungrammatical style which is a problem in itself, Liston's review of commitment procedures and recent court decisions of ""right to treatment"" should be very useful. However, his discussion of etiology and treatment is heavily weighted by his reliance on the arguments of Torrey's controversial Death of Psychiatry, and many of Liston's own formulations--such as the statement that overconsumption of alcohol is the ""physical cause"" of alcoholism--are cloudy. As this is an area that leaves even specialists in confusion a tighter, more balanced presentation is called for. But in the absence of a really satisfactory presentation the grapplings of a well-meaning generalist like Liston can't be entirely dismissed.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1976
Page count: 112pp
Publisher: Franklin Watts