Making Sense of Psychiatric Diagnosis Review


Barnes and NobelNook

Ashley (mentalhealth@home) has worked as a mental health nurse for 15 years while battling her own mental illness. Her professional experience and research comes together well in her second book.

This book is focused on the importance of a psychiatric diagnosis and how difficult it can be to diagnose someone. It plays a role in the resources available for recovery and helps the person better understand why they are the way they are. Ashley goes over what the DSM-5 is, how it’s used, what is wrong with it and more.

There are many mental illnesses and subtypes. This book goes over some of the more common ones. Each section includes the criteria to be diagnosed with the disorder with an explanation of each one and a contribution from a blogger about their experience with mental illness that brings realism.

I love how it is written in way that breaks the stigma of a psychiatric diagnosis meaning your mental illness defines you like a label. Ashley wrote this book in a way that teaches people what mental illness is and that a psychiatric diagnosis means what you want it to mean.

I highly recommend reading this book. I learned facts about my social anxiety in this book that I never knew before. Only 12% of shy people have social anxiety. They aren’t the same like I thought. From beginning to end, I was engaged.


Making Sense of Psychiatric Diagnosis aims to cut through the misinformation, stigma, and assumptions that surround mental illness and give a clear picture of what mental illness really is.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th edition (DSM-5) has been criticized for overly subjective diagnostic criteria and pathologizing normal human experience.  This book will discuss the right and the wrong way to use the DSM, and the problems inherent in trying to diagnose oneself or others.  

The book is structured based on diagnostic groupings in the DSM-5.  It will help readers to understand the diagnostic criteria for a wide range of different mental illnesses, and gain an appreciation of what those criteria actually mean.  Since symptom criteria can only capture a part of what a condition is truly like, many of the diagnoses in this book are paired with narratives from contributors with first hand lived experiences of these illnesses.  The book is also infused with the author’s 15 years of experience as a mental health nurse working with clients with a wide range of psychiatric illnesses, as well as her own experience living with depression.

With the fusion of diagnostic information, clinical experience, and lived experience, this book offers a unique, well-rounded perspective on the reality of mental illness.

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