Only Great Psychology Books Make It On To This Page

A Lethal Inheritance is “book of the month” on All About Psychology.  Here’s Kaitlin Bell Barnett’s review…

Costello makes an impassioned argument for knowing one’s family history of mental illness, much as one might gather information about cancer, high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease. Amazingly, she notes, this information is not part of routine psychiatric diagnostic screenings. As such, it’s up to individuals to know their own family histories, even if this means being “thrust into the role of sleuths,” and coming up against family members’ reluctance to disclose family secrets or discuss uncomfortable topics. But gathering such information is vital, Costello argues, because for children with a family history of mental illness, early signs of dysfunction are usually not “just a phase,” but, rather, portents of worse suffering ahead.

Had Costello been armed with such knowledge, she would have intervened earlier and more forcefully with her own boys. She spends a considerable portion of the book’s first third discussing her older son’s psychotic break and subsequent diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia at 18, then retracing his gradual, years-long disintegration, which included withdrawn, delinquent behavior and drug use starting in his early teens. She and her husband didn’t ignore these signs of dysfunction, but, she says, they were too primed by cultural tropes emphasizing teenager delinquency to recognize them as signs of future mental illness, rather than simply ornery behavior. Her younger son, meanwhile, “her little prince,” became a master of pleasing her and hiding his feelings, so that his own depressive breakdown several years after his brother’s came as a complete surprise. Costello devotes a scant dozen pages to his problems, perhaps because the topic of teen depression is more well-worn territory than that of pre-psychosis…read the entire review by clicking below.

via Only Great Psychology Books Make It On To This Page.

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