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How Dysfunctional Families Spur Mental Disorders: A Balanced Approach to Resolve Problems and Reconcile Relationships [Hardcover]

David M. Allen MD

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Book Description

July 1 2010 031339265X 978-0313392658

Millions of Americans have psychological issues or are affected by those of their family members, ranging from anxiety and bipolar disorder to mood and personality disorders. The growth of Big Pharma, combined with an increasing desire of managed care providers to find simple and "quick fixes," has resulted in an often myopic focus on biological causes of dysfunctional symptoms. There is plenty of evidence to indicate that this propensity to only prescribe pills is often deeply misguided, however.

This book examines the role of dysfunctional family interactions in the genesis and maintenance of certain behavioral problems. The author presents a case for regaining a balance in terms of the biological, psychological, and family-system factors in psychiatric disorders and suggests a way to accomplish this.

Product Details

Product Description


• Questions America's Big Pharma-motivated, quick-fix/take-a-pill mentality towards any psychological ill

• Addresses the controversy regarding the role of parents' contributions to psychological and behavioral problems of their children, a current subject addressed in popular TV shows including Dr. Phil and Supernanny

• The bibliography references all original source material and journal articles discussed

• An index is provided for all subjects, names, and content areas discussed in the book

"This thought-provoking book is a worthwhile contribution to the mental health field…Taking a strongly educative approach, Allen demonstrates caring and concern for readers as he leads them toward becoming more informed and discerning consumers and supporters of quality mental health care."



"It pulls the curtain back from the world of psychotherapy, psychopharmacology, and more. It is an informative and entertaining collection of the many facets of the field. I know that from time to time, I will be pulling this book back off the shelf to peruse a favorite chapter or two."



"…supplies the reader with an in depth understanding of various dysfunctional family configurations…a great reference tool to add to your library."


The Clinical Practitioner


"All too often, mental health practice is being driven by downright bad science as well as conclusions that are being leapt to before all the scientific evidence is in. The result is treatment that does the patient a disservice. Dr. Allen does a superb job in sorting out what we really know, what is speculative, and what is completely bogus in the field. This volume is essential reading for both consumers and providers alike."


John Rosemond, family psychologist, Internationally syndicated columnist, speaker, and author of 14 best-selling parenting books, and The Diseasing of America's Children: Exposing the ADHD Fiasco and Empowering Parents to Take Back Control


Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book targets several pressing issues in today's mental health system Oct. 7 2010
By mothedoc - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A well thought out and argued, far-ranging discussion of today's mental health health challenges. Suitable both for professionals as well as patients and their families, the book is informative without being overtly technical.
Dr. Allen justifiably exposes drug company marketing techniques as well as dogmatic schools of psychotherapy and preaches a saner, more humane treatment system.
Well worth reading.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real help and hope for dysfunctional families Sept. 19 2010
By Anna Wisner - Published on
Dr. Allen tells it like it is in today's mental health field. His well-written book sheds light on the reasons so many patients and families in need are not getting what qualifies as real help, and instead are desperately bouncing from one so-called symptom-based `band-aid' solution to another. He further details the social and economic problems in the field of psychopharmacological and other psychiatric research; through his words, we can begin to understand why the mental health field appears so costly, fractured and ineffective, and why many mentally disturbed patients remain seemingly untreatable. Allen's book educates the reader so that he may be able to examine studies of therapies and drugs with a clear, unemotional eye. He also offers invaluable help in determining what constitutes a skilled psychopharmacologist, psychiatrist, therapist. Readers of this book are left with the idea that, while there is no magic pill or therapy, there is hope if one does his part in obtaining quality help.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real scoop on mental health treatments. May 31 2011
By WinsurferLA - Published on
We're all a bit crazy, and Dr. Allen's book is a easy read that helps one understand how, why and perhaps what we can and can't do about it.

His review of the various approaches to understanding and treatment of "mental disorders", by showing how far off the mark trusted physicians were in the past, helps make his point that just because everyone seems to think they've got the answers, it ain't necessarily so. The human mind is far too complex for simple explanations offered by many.

Once a person is thought to have a mental disorder, the treatment begins, and it is here that Dr. Allen is at his best, showing in a tongue-in-cheek manner, how the pharmaceutical industry has sought to exploit people's weaknesses for profit. He'll make you pause and think about your doctor's possible silent agenda next time you receive a prescription even if it has nothing to do with your mental state of mind.

Dr. Allen's key objective is to help the reader better understand what can and can't help those with mental disorders related to family situations; without a guide to the sand-traps, it is tough to improve your score.

In my opinion, Dr. Allen's book is recommended reading for those seeking to help themselves, family or friends with mental disorders as it facilities understanding the problems and issues in a manner that is both friendly and easily comprehensible
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read for Patients and Families of Patients with Borderline Personality Disorder Aug. 4 2010
By James Woods - Published on
Allen uses a family systems approach to understand the motives behind the seemingly dysfunctional behavior of patients with Borderline Personality Disorder. Highly Recommended.

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