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50 Signs of Mental IllnessA Beautiful MindA Beautiful MindA Bright Red ScreamA Casebook of Ethical Challenges in NeuropsychologyA Corner Of The UniverseA Lethal InheritanceA Mood ApartA Research Agenda for DSM-VA Slant of SunA War of NervesAbnormal Psychology in ContextADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your LifeAddiction Recovery ToolsAdvance Directives in Mental HealthAggression and Antisocial Behavior in Children and AdolescentsAl-JununAlmost a PsychopathAlterations of ConsciousnessAm I Okay?American ManiaAmerican Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical NeurosciencesAn American ObsessionAngelheadAnger, Madness, and the DaimonicAnthology of a Crazy LadyApproaching NeverlandAs Nature Made HimAsylumAttention-Deficit Hyperactivity DisorderAttention-Deficit/Hyperactivity DisorderBeing Mentally Ill: A Sociological Theory Betrayal TraumaBetrayed as BoysBetter Than ProzacBetter Than WellBeyond AppearanceBeyond ReasonBinge No MoreBiological UnhappinessBipolar 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in AmericaCrazy Like UsCreating HysteriaCritical PsychiatryCruel CompassionCultural Assessment in Clinical PsychiatryCulture and Mental HealthCulture and Psychiatric DiagnosisCultures of NeurastheniaDaddy's GirlsDante's CureDarwinian PsychiatryDaughter of the Queen of ShebaDaughters of MadnessDeinstitutionalization And People With Intellectual DisabilitiesDelivered from DistractionDepression In Later LifeDepression SourcebookDepression-Free for LifeDescriptions and PrescriptionsDestructive Trends in Mental HealthDevil in the DetailsDiagnosis: SchizophreniaDiagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV-TRDirty Filthy Love DVDDisorders Of DesireDisrupted LivesDissociative ChildrenDivided MindsDr. Andrew Weil's Guide to Optimum HealthDr. Weisinger's Anger Work-Out BookDSM-IV SourcebookDSM-IV-TR CasebookDSM-IV-TR in ActionDSM-IV-TR Mental DisordersE-TherapyEccentricsElectroshockEmergencies in Mental Health PracticeEmergency PsychiatryEmotional and Behavioral Problems of Young ChildrenEmotions and LifeEmpowering People with Severe Mental IllnessEssential PsychopharmacologyEssentials of Cas AssessmentEssentials of Wais-III AssessmentEthics and Values in PsychotherapyEthics in Mental Health ResearchEthics in Psychiatric ResearchEthics, Culture, and PsychiatryEverything In Its PlaceFamily Experiences With Mental IllnessFatigue as a Window to the BrainFear of IntimacyFinding Iris ChangFinding Meaning in the Experience of DementiaFlorid StatesFolie a DeuxFor the Love of ItForensic Nursing and Multidisciplinary Care of the Mentally Disordered OffenderFountain HouseFrom Madness to Mental HealthFrom Trauma to TransformationGandhi's WayGender and Its Effects on PsychopathologyGender and Mental HealthGenes, Environment, and PsychopathologyGetting Your Life BackGracefully InsaneGrieving Mental IllnessHandbook of AttachmentHandbook of DepressionHandbook of Self and IdentityHealing the SplitHerbs for the MindHidden SelvesHigh RiskHope and DespairHow Clients Make Therapy WorkHow People ChangeHow to Become a SchizophrenicHow We Think About DementiaHughes' Outline of Modern PsychiatryHumanizing MadnessHysterical MenHystoriesI Hate You-Don't Leave MeI Never Promised You a Rose GardenI Thought I Could FlyI'm CrazyImagining RobertImpulse Control DisordersIn Others' EyesIn Two MindsInsanityIntegrated Behavioral Health CareIntegrative MedicineIntegrative Mental Health CareIntuitionJust CheckingKarl JaspersKissing DoorknobsKundalini Yoga Meditation for Complex Psychiatric DisordersLaw and the BrainLaw, Liberty, and PsychiatryLegal and Ethical Aspects of HealthcareLiberatory PsychiatryLife at the BottomLife at the Texas State Lunatic Asylum, 1857-1997Life Is Not a Game of PerfectLithium for MedeaLiving Outside Mental IllnessLiving with AnxietyLiving With SchizophreniaLiving with SchizophreniaLiving Without Depression and Manic DepressionLost in the MirrorLove's ExecutionerLoving Someone With Bipolar DisorderMad in AmericaMad TravelersMad, Bad and 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the SoulOf Two MindsOn Being Normal and Other DisordersOn Our Own, TogetherOn The Stigma Of Mental IllnessOrigins of Human NatureOut of Its MindOut of the ShadowsOvercoming Compulsive HoardingPathologies of BeliefPathways through PainPersonal Recovery and Mental IllnessPersonality Disorder: Temperament or Trauma?Pillar of SaltPoints of ViewPoppy ShakespearePosttraumatic Stress DisorderPsychiatric Cultures ComparedPsychiatric Diagnosis and ClassificationPsychiatric Genetics and GenomicsPsychiatric Illness in WomenPsychiatrists and Traditional HealersPsychiatryPsychiatry and ReligionPsychiatry in SocietyPsychological Dimensions of the SelfPsychology and the MediaPsychopathia SexualisPsychopathologyPsychopathyPsychotic DepressionQuitting the Nairobi TrioRaising a Moody ChildRapid Cognitive TherapyRebuilding Shattered LivesReclaiming Soul in Health CareReclaiming the SoulRecollection, Testimony, and Lying in Early ChildhoodRecovery from SchizophreniaRecovery in Mental IllnessRedressing the EmperorRelational Mental HealthRemembering TraumaRepressed SpacesResearch Advances in Genetics and GenomicsRestricted AccessRethinking the DSMReviving OpheliaRewarding Specialties for Mental Health CliniciansSaints, Scholars, and Schizophrenics: Mental Illness in Rural IrelandSchizophreniaSchizophrenia RevealedSchizophrenia: A Scientific Delusion?Self-Determination Theory in the ClinicShunnedShynessSigns of SafetySilencing the VoicesSlackjawSocial Cognition and SchizophreniaSocial Inclusion of People with Mental IllnessSoul Murder RevisitedSounds from the Bell JarSpeaking Our MindsSpontaneous HealingStop PretendingStraight Talk about Psychological Testing for KidsStranger Than FictionStreet CrazyStudy Guide to the DSM-IV-TRSurviving Manic DepressionSurviving SchizophreniaSurviving SchizophreniaTaking Charge of ADHD, Revised EditionTaking the Fear Out of ChangingTalking Back to PsychiatryTarnationTeen LoveTelling Is Risky BusinessTelling SecretsThe Age of InsanityThe American Psychiatric Press Textbook of PsychiatryThe American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook Of Child And Adolescent PsychiatryThe Anger WorkbookThe Anorexic SelfThe Behavioral Medicine Treatment PlannerThe Betty Ford Center Book of AnswersThe Bipolar ChildThe Bipolar Disorder Survival GuideThe Body in PsychotherapyThe Borderline Personality Disorder Survival GuideThe Broken MirrorThe Burden of SympathyThe Cambridge Medical Ethics WorkbookThe Case for Pragmatic PsychologyThe Center Cannot HoldThe Chemical Dependence Treatment Documentation SourcebookThe Chemical Dependence Treatment PlannerThe Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Clinical Child Documentation SourcebookThe Clinical Documentation SourcebookThe Complete Adult Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Condition of MadnessThe Construction of Power and Authority in PsychiatryThe Couples Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Criminal BrainThe Cultural Context of Health, Illness, and MedicineThe Day the Voices StoppedThe Death of PsychotherapyThe Depression WorkbookThe Difficult-to-Treat Psychiatric PatientThe Early Stages of SchizophreniaThe Employee Assistance Treatment PlannerThe Employee Assistance Treatment PlannerThe Epidemiology of SchizophreniaThe Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality DisorderThe Essentials of New York Mental Health LawThe Ethical WayThe Evolution of Mental Health LawThe Explosive ChildThe Fall Of An IconThe Fasting GirlThe Forensic Documentation SourcebookThe Forgotten MournersThe Gift of Adult ADDThe Good EaterThe Green ParrotThe Healing Power of PetsThe Heart of AddictionThe Heroic ClientThe Insanity OffenseThe Invisible PlagueThe Last Time I Wore a DressThe Limits of Autobiography The LobotomistThe Madness of Our LivesThe Mark of ShameThe Meaning of AddictionThe Meaning of MindThe Medical AdvisorThe Mind/Mood Pill BookThe Most Solitary of AfflictionsThe Mozart EffectThe Naked Lady Who Stood on Her HeadThe Older Adult Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe OutsiderThe Pastoral Counseling Treatment PlannerThe PDR Family Guide to Natural Medicines & Healing TherapiesThe Places That Scare YouThe Plural SelfThe Problem of EvilThe Psychology of Religion and CopingThe Quiet RoomThe Real World Guide to Psychotherapy PracticeThe Right to Refuse Mental Health TreatmentThe Rise of Mental Health NursingThe Roots of the Recovery Movement in PsychiatryThe Savage GirlThe Self-Help SourcebookThe Talking CureThe Trick Is to Keep BreathingThe Unwell BrainThe Virtuous PsychiatristThe Way of TransitionThe Wing of MadnessThe Wisdom in FeelingTheoretical Evolutions in Person-Centered/Experiential TherapyTherapy's DelusionsTheraScribe 3.0 for WindowsThis is Madness TooThoughts Without a ThinkerThrough the Looking GlassTo Have Or To Be?Toxic PsychiatryTransforming MadnessTraumaTraumatic PastsTraumatic Relationships and Serious Mental DisordersTreating Affect PhobiaTreating Chronic and Severe Mental DisordersTreating Self-InjuryTreatment and Rehabilitation of Severe Mental IllnessTreatment Plans and Interventions for Depression and Anxiety DisordersTwinsUnderstanding and Treating Violent Psychiatric PatientsUnderstanding Child MolestersUnderstanding DepressionUnderstanding ParanoiaUnderstanding the Stigma of Mental IllnessUnderstanding Treatment Without ConsentUnholy MadnessUnspeakable Truths and Happy EndingsUsers and Abusers of PsychiatryViolence and Mental DisorderVoices of MadnessVoices of RecoveryVulnerability to PsychopathologyWarning: Psychiatry Can Be Hazardous to Your Mental HealthWashing My Life AwayWhen History Is a NightmareWhen Someone You Love Is BipolarWhen the Body SpeaksWhen Walls Become DoorwaysWitchcrazeWomen and Borderline Personality DisorderWomen and Mental IllnessWomen Who Hurt ThemselvesWomen's Mental HealthWrestling with the AngelYou Must Be DreamingYour Drug May Be Your ProblemYour Miracle Brain
The Medical Advisor (First
Edition) is a large and heavy book, with 1152 large format pages. It calls itself a complete guide to
alternative and conventional treatments to both physical and mental
problems. Since it is published by
Time-Life Books and has a lengthy list of consultants at prestigious
institutions, one expects it to be well researched, conservative in its
recommendations, and easy to use. By-and-large,
it lives up to these expectations. (Note
that the first edition is out of print; the second
edition has the same number of pages.)
main sections of the book are a small one on emergencies and first aid, then
800 pages on ailments and options, and an index of conventional and natural
medicines. It also contains a
dictionary of conventional medicine and alternative therapies, a set of general
guidelines to health, recommendations on eating, a visual diagnostic guide with
photographs of problems visible on the surface of the body, an atlas of the
body (I wonder why they do not use the word anatomy), and three
I will not
pretend to have read the whole book, but I have owned it for about four years
though, and my wife and I have consulted it on many occasions. It is often a useful starting place when you
are wondering what is wrong with you; it has plenty of pictures and diagrams,
and it is user friendly. Its great
attraction is that it combines both conventional medical views with alternative
one has strange aches or pains, one feels faint, or one has an odd combination
of symptoms. Browsing through a book
like this can be helpful in working out if what the underlying problem might
be, whether it is worth the time and expense to see a physician, and how one
might deal with the problem. But it can
be also be a way to worry oneself needlessly.
A few years ago, my wife suddenly felt very faint and had intense chest
pain. Under fainting, this book lists
seven possible causes: they include low blood pressure, low blood sugar,
stress, stroke, or heart attack. The
cause was probably low blood sugar, stress, or maybe a panic attack, but I
think we entertained the possibility that she had had a minor heart
attack. But this is a problem that
arises when using any medical encyclopedia, and this book does say, Brief,
infrequent fainting with no other symptoms usually is not a cause for concern.
Medical Advisor seems useful for mental health problems. For example, suppose one wants to know if
one is having a panic attack, and if so, what to do about it. Under Panic
Attack, the book lists the symptoms, and says if you have recurrent panic
attacks and persistent fear of panic attacks or change your behavior
significantly because of such attacks, you have panic disorder. It recommends that you should call your
doctor. It also tells you how to tell
the difference between a panic attack and a heart attack. (The idea that most people have a person
they can call my doctor seems rather outdated in the age of managed care:
those people lucky to have health coverage often just see the physician,
physicians assistant or nurse who is available when they go in for an
for Panic Attack goes on to explain that the underlying cause is not clear,
and explains some of the possible candidates.
It mentions that some medical problems and medications, including
antidepressants at high dosages can cause them. For conventional treatments, it lists psychotherapy,
antidepressants, and antianxiety drugs mentioning alprazolam specifically. For alternative choices, it lists
aromatherapy using oil of lavender, body work such as qigong and yoga, herbal
therapies, including skullcap or valerian tea, hypnotherapy, mind/body medicine
such as meditation, and under nutrition and diet, it recommends magnesium as
well as avoiding caffeine, alcohol and sugar.
It also recommends ways to prevent panic attacks: learning to recognize
them, reassuring yourself you can survive them, slow, deep breathing, taking
your time, and going easy on yourself rather than being overly critical.
have got the basic information, you can use the rest of the book to learn more:
- In the
listing of conventional and natural medicines, one finds that alprazolam
has the brand name Xanax. It
explains that it is in the benzodiazepine class of drugs, and says to see Benzodiazepines
for further information on side effects and possible drug
interactions. It cautions not to
confuse Xanax with Zantac I wasnt aware that people ever confused the
two! It also briefly lists some of
the side effects of Xanax.
very little information about qigong in the book, but there is an
illustrated appendix on yoga position.
are two listings for skullcap in the section on medicines, one as Chinese
herb, and the other as a western herb.
It is interesting to compare the two and see the similarities and
differences. Both list target
ailments, preparations, and side effects.
to the section on eating for health, one finds that fish, green leafy
vegetables, milk, nuts, seeds and whole grains are good sources of
magnesium, and information about magnesium supplements.
Although theres a bibliography, the entries themselves
contain little information about the scientific studies that have been done of
different treatments, so one must simply rely on the expertise of the
authors. This book is not as
comprehensive in its coverage of alternative medicine as The PDR Family Guide to
Natural Medicines & Healing Therapies, nor is it as scholarly or
thorough as the Natural
Health Bible in its discussion of herbs, supplements and vitamins. But The Medical Advisor is an
excellent all-round resource to have at home if you want to inform yourself
about your health and how to treat health problems.
See the Second Edition at Amazon.com.
Second edition also listed with table of contents at Barnes & Noble.com:
Medical Advisor: The Complete Guide to Alternative and Conventional Treatments
First edition listed at Barnes & Noble.com:
The Medical Advisor: The Complete Guide to Alternative and Conventional Treatments
© 2002 Christian Perring. First Serial Rights.
Ph.D., is Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College,
Long Island. He is editor of Metapsychology Online Review.
His main research is on philosophical issues in psychiatry.
He is especially interested in exploring how philosophers can
play a greater role in public life, and he is keen to help foster
communication between philosophers, mental health professionals,
and the general public.