• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

A Short Introduction to Psychiatry is designed to give readers a clear picture of the profession of psychiatry as it is today as well as an understanding of the subject from which to develop further study. The author describes the development of the profession, the route to qualification and the scope of contemporary practice, including the work done by psychiatrists in a range of specialisms - from child psychiatry to addiction services and forensic psychiatry. Drawing on the experience of people who have been through psychiatric treatment, the book also explores what psychiatry is like from the patient's/user's perspective. Many criticisms have been levelled against the profession and the author, Linda Gask, summarizes key debates which have been and continue to be played out between psychiatry's critics and its defenders. A Short Introduction to Psychiatry is for anyone looking into psychiatry for the first time, whether with a view to training or out of more general interest.


This book is not a textbook of psychiatry in the usual sense that a textbook generally contains the knowledge base of the subject in question. Instead it is a book about psychiatry, the profession and its practitioners, in the context of the history and culture of mental illness and mental health care. I hope that it will complement general textbooks of psychiatry and be of interest to psychiatrists in training, as well as to those considering psychiatry as a profession and other readers, including allied professionals, who simply want to understand what psychiatry is. Confusion often arises because ‘psychiatry’ may be used interchangeably with ‘mental health care’ and this book is concerned with the specific nature of the former as practised by psychiatrists rather ...

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