The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th edition (DSM-5) has been criticized for overly subjective diagnostic criteria and pathologizing normal human experience. This book will discuss the right and the wrong way to use the DSM, and the problems inherent in trying to diagnose oneself or others.
The book is structured based on diagnostic groupings in the DSM-5. It will help readers to understand the diagnostic criteria for a wide range of different mental illnesses, and gain an appreciation of what those criteria actually mean. Since symptom criteria can only capture a part of what a condition is truly like, many of the diagnoses in this book are paired with narratives from contributors with first hand lived experiences of these illnesses. The book is also infused with the author's 15 years of experience as a mental health nurse working with clients with a wide range of psychiatric illnesses, as well as her own experience living with depression.
With the fusion of diagnostic information, clinical experience, and lived experience, this book offers a unique, well-rounded perspective on the reality of mental illness.
Ashley’s first career was as a pharmacist, but she chose to give that up to become a nurse. While completing her nursing degree she realized that mental health resonated more with her than any other area, and she has worked in the field for her entire 14+ year career. She has published papers in a number of academic nursing journals.
She was first diagnosed with depression in 2007, and since then she has been passionate about speaking up to challenge the stigma around mental illness. She completed a Master of Psychiatric Nursing degree despite two hospitalizations while she was in grad school.
She is the author of the blog Mental Health @ Home, where she talks candidly about all things mental health-related. You can find the blog at mentalhealthathome.org.
Ashley lives in Vancouver, Canada, with her beloved pet guinea pigs.