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Voluntary madness : my year lost and found in the loony bin
Norah Vincent
Adult Nonfiction RC464.V56 A3 2008

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Vincent's first trip to a mental institution--to which the writing of Self-Made Man drove her--convinced her that further immersion would give her great material for a follow-up. The grand tour consists of voluntary commitments to a hospital mental ward, a small private facility and a boutique facility; but Vincent's efforts to make a big statement about the state of mental health treatment quickly give way to a more personal journey. An attempt to wean herself off Prozac, for example, adds a greater sense of urgency to her second research trip, while the therapists overseeing her final treatment lead her to a major emotional breakthrough. Meanwhile, her fellow patients are easily able to peg her as an "emotional parasite," though this rarely stops them from interacting with her--and though their neediness sometimes frustrates her, she is less judgmental of them than of the doctors and nurses. The conclusions Vincent draws from her experiences tend toward the obvious (the better the facilities, the better chance for recovery) and the banal: "No one can heal you except you." Though keenly observed, her account never fully transcends its central gimmick. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Verdict: In this readable-if meandering-expose, Vincent checks herself into three different mental health facilities to compare conditions. Recommended for specialized mental health-care collections. Background: Since deinstitutionalization swept the mental health landscape decades ago, there has been little examination of the downsized facilities. Vincent (Self-Made Man: One Woman's Year Disguised as a Man), who has struggled with mental illness, commits herself to a big city mental health hospital, a private Midwestern clinic, and an alternative treatment center in an exercise in "immersion journalism." While readers might question the author's need for institutionalization and how her various stays were funded, Vincent's discussions of daily life, treatment approaches, observations of patients and staff, and commentary on the overreliance of medication and the nature of mental illness itself are fresh and valuable.-Antoinette Brinkman, M.L.S., Evansville, IN (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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