Paul Komarek is a consultant and author who makes difficult subject matter approachable, simple to understand, and much less scary. He focuses on the “social” elements of “biopsychosocial” issues such as mental illness and drug abuse. His first book Defying Mental Illness has been named a “Top 20 Book for Parents and Teachers of Children with Special Needs’ by Special Needs Book Review.
Simply written, consensus-based, positive and complete, the book covers schizophrenia, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, childhood mental illness, suicide prevention and more. The book builds recovery with strengths that endure despite the presence of symptoms. It's what a person needs to know to get started with recovery, what family members need to know to support recovery, and what faith-based and community groups need to know to help the people they serve.
Revised and updated for 2014. The 2014 edition includes updated material on healthcare system strategies, suicide prevention, violence prevention, as well as expanded coverage of addiction.
What others are saying about Defying Mental Illness"Defying Mental Illness provides what's needed most: a lucid and more than adequate introduction to mental illness." -- NAMI E-Advocate"As a practicing psychologist I am very impressed with Defying Mental Illness. We have too few books on the market that really take the sting out of what can be a frightening situation . . . I like the fact that the book is such an easy read and yet so complete. Every resource facility out there, including police stations, schools, doctor's offices, community centers, etc. should have this book in their library or easily accessible in a waiting room, a shelf in an interviewer's office, etc." -- Dr. Barbara Becker HolsteinA Top 20 Book for Parents and Teachers of Children with Special Needs "It is easy to understand and complete so it is suitable for people in recovery, caregivers, faith-based, church and community outreach workers who work in mental health. Readers will appreciate the chapters on finding treatment, paying for mental health care, housing, employment and disability, involuntary hospitalization, the criminal justice system, and links to allies and advocacy groups. The case studies describing a few journeys towards recovery bring hope to the readers." -- Lorna D'Entremont, Special Needs Book Review
The first section helps people understand what they are facing. It includes brief descriptions of mental illness symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, mood swings and other behavior changes, and describes major mental health disorders including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and borderline personality disorder. The authors use a developmental approach to childhood mental illness, contrasting ordinary childhood patterns with the extreme symptoms that may require intervention. The book suggests using benign, safe parenting techniques that improve structure and reduce stress, and supports a thoughtful approach to initiating treatment. Also covered are developmental disabilities like autism and fetal alcohol syndrome, as well as special education, including individualized education plans (IEPs) and so-called 504 plans. A chapter on treatment discusses therapy and medication, offering brief notes on various categories of medication. The book emphasizes the need to understand risks and benefits when deciding about any course of treatment.
Subsequent sections focus on locating allies to promote recovery, finding resources to support recovery, planning both long-term and short-term, and following the recovery plan. The authors discuss planning for safety in advance of a mental health crisis, responding to a person in crisis, assessing risk of violence, and preventing suicide. The book suggests ways to help people who become involved in the criminal justice system, and covers involuntary hospitalization and guardianship. Further chapters discuss ways to locate treatment, find or retain housing, maintain employment or access vocational rehabilitation services. There is coverage of Social Security and SSI disability benefits and claims process, plus information about Medicare and Medicaid.
Gawande, a practicing surgeon, addresses his profession's ultimate limitation, arguing that quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families. Gawande offers examples of freer, more socially fulfilling models for assisting the infirm and dependent elderly, and he explores the varieties of hospice care to demonstrate that a person's last weeks or months may be rich and dignified.
Full of eye-opening research and riveting storytelling, Being Mortal asserts that medicine can comfort and enhance our experience even to the end, providing not only a good life but also a good end.