This text shatters the myths that surround madness. It shows that there is no reassuring dividing line between mental health and mental illness. Severe mental disorders can not be reduced to brain chemistry, but must be understood psychologically, as part of normal behaviour and human nature.
THIS BOOK WILL EXPLAIN WHAT MADNESS IS, TO SHOW THAT IT CAN BE UNDERSTOOD IN PSYCHOLOGICAL TERMS, AND THAT BY STUDYING IT WE CAN LEARN IMPORTANT INSIGHTS ABOUT THE NORMAL MIND. THE BOOK WILL ARGUE THAT TRADITIONAL APPROACHES TO MADNESS MUST BE ABANDONED IN FAVOUR OF A NEW APPROACH WHICH IS MORE CONSISTENT WITH THAT WE NOW KNOW ABOUT THE HUMAN MIND. OVER THE LAST CENTURY OR SO IT HAS BECOME SO COMMONPLACE TO REGARD MADNESS SIMPLY AS A MEDICAL CONDITION THAT IT HAS BECOME DIFFICULT TO THINK OF IT IN ANY OTHER WAY. BENTALL ARGUES INSTEAD THAT DELUSIONS, HALLUCINATIONS AND OTHER UNUSUAL BEHAVIOURS ARE BEST UNDERSTOOD PSYCHOLOGICALLY, AND THAT SUCH EXPERIENCES FOR THE MOST PART REPRESENT EXAGGERATIONS OF MENTAL FOIBLES TO WHICH WE ARE ALL PRONE.