Beyond Psychiatric Expertise

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In this book, a noted expert in forensic psychiatry discusses the difficulties in defining mental illness and in determining whether a particular behavior is a product of mental illness. He examines criminal responsibility, commitment to mental hospitals, the patient’s desire to refuse treatment, guardianship of the elderly, the desire to nullify contracts because of “unsound mind,” requests for leaves of absence because of mental illness, and disability and personal injury situations. The problems raised when it must be decided if a mentally ill person qualifies for treatment paid by the government or by insurers and the question of parental mental illness in child custody battles also are considered. Throughout the text, the author analyzes society’s purposes in posing the question of whether a behavior results from mental illness, and he offers guidelines on how psychiatrists may participate in the decision making process when the questions are beyond their expertise. (675 pp.)

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