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The Split Mind is a book about schizophrenia. The reader is informed in the book's "Introduction" that the author, Kevin Alan Lee, has schizophrenia. The reader is informed further, in the book's introductory chapter, that Lee wishes to share his life experiences, and by so doing, hopefully help others. Towards that end, Lee describes the book, in the "Foreword", as a hybrid of a memoir and a reference book, regarding schizophrenia. And indeed, the textual tapestry is crafted artfully with autobiographical anecdotal threads interwoven deftly with strands of didactically reviewed scientific materials focusing especially on schizophrenia. The substantive contents, in a manner contributing further to the reader's edification, are suffused as well with thoughtfully critical opinions and a plethora of practical suggestions.
In an intellectually enlightening manner, the text's contents are considerably research referenced. In this regard, Lee's scope of schizophrenia centric research interest is global. Multitudinous citations, for research materials embedded in the textual soil, are presented in the "Bibliography", joined to the text's far end; these research citations are alphabetized, by author last name. The text's extensive Bibliography enhances its appeal, didactically, and is a didactic bridge, to further study.
Critical readers may question critically the relative scientific rigor, of Lee's review of selected scientific materials pertaining to schizophrenia, and other mental illnesses; and, in this vein, critically inject the opinion that Lee's review efforts are insufficiently rigorous, for academics and professionals.
But it cannot reasonably be gainsaid that the discourse of Lee, concerning particularly Lee's review of scientific materials, customarily reveals considerable erudition of a considerably instructive nature.
In a different critical vein, critical minded readers may inject criticism that the substance of the book is heavily laden, anecdotally, with autobiographical details of Lee's life, thus diluting its relative potency, from an academic perspective.
But the autobiographical matter forming anecdotally an integral part of the book's substantive composition animates the book's substance in an informative way that likely contributes materially to its value and appeal to many readers.
The end substantive result of Lee's diligently cerebral toil is an intellectually savory blend of the ingredients of anecdotally described, and substantively enlivening, personal details of Lee's life mixed with more generalized discourse, instructively reviewing selected scientific materials relevant especially to schizophrenia.
Across the length and breadth of the book, Lee informatively traverses considerable substantive ground. Particular areas reached encompass: selected personal details of Lee's early life (Chapter 2); the onset of Lee's schizophrenia, including sobering comment on Lee's delusions of paranoia and grandeur (Chapter 3); the prescribed drug regimen of Lee, including side effects, and Lee's problems with fatigue, concentration, and short term memory loss (Chapter 4); a pithily instructive review of some of the extant science regarding a multitude of mental illnesses (Chapter 5); the diagnosing of schizophrenia, extending to discussion of hallucinations, delusions, and "subtypes" of schizophrenia (Chapter 6); informative discourse focusing on possible causes of schizophrenia (Chapter 7); discerning comment on treating schizophrenia, reaching importantly to comment about the prescribing of antipsychotic medications and attendant clinical challenges (Chapter 8); psychological counseling (Chapter 9); edifying discussion concerning recovery from mental illness (Chapter 10); thoughtful commentary by Lee, riveting readers' attention on how schizophrenia patients may be able to maintain a state of remission (Chapter 11); thoughtfully opinionated comment regarding stigma associated with schizophrenia, and other mental illnesses (Chapter 12); the area of children and adolescents with schizophrenia (Chapter 13); and Lee's forthrightly presented view with respect to mental illness, personal autonomy, and refusal of treatment (Chapter 14).
Cautious voices may sound notes concerning Lee's book.
It may be noted, cautiously, that the life experience of every person with schizophrenia is unique.
A further note of caution is that expert views relating to schizophrenia may diverge from those given by Lee.
On the other side of the ledger, the many autobiographical details recollected anecdotally by Lee, in tandem with Lee's skilled review of numerous schizophrenia centric research materials, offer a dual personal as well as research perspective, concerning schizophrenia, which will very likely be of great educational value to many readers.
Persons with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses, and their family members, certainly have much to gain educationally from reading this book.
The likely great educational value of Lee's book extends further to researchers and clinicians working professionally in the mental health field.
Health policy makers and law makers, likewise, potentially have much to gain, professionally, from a carefully considered reading of this very fine book.
© 2012 Leo Uzych
Leo Uzych (based in Wallingford, PA) earned a law degree, from Temple University; and a master of public health degree, from Columbia University. His area of special professional interest is healthcare. Twitter @LeoUzych