James Hicks, M.D., 50 SIGNS OF MENTAL ILLNESS (Yale University Press)

Dr. James Hicks
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About the Book

This compelling book introduces a wide range of psychiatric symptoms and their treatments. Written for anyone concerned about his or her own mental health or about symptoms observed in family members or close friends, the book is packed with useful and reassuring information. It is both easy to read and difficult to put down.

The volume presents fifty signs that may--or may not--signal mental illness. Arranged alphabetically, the signs include everything from anger to sexual preoccupations, from cravings to obsessions. Dr. James W. Hicks, a highly regarded psychiatrist with extensive clinical experience, begins each topic with a vignette to illustrate the symptom. He explains how a specific sign can be caused by several different illnesses and may even be a normal response to stress. And he outlines available treatments as well as strategies for coping with each symptom.

Nearly one in three individuals experiences psychiatric symptoms each year. This book clarifies the significance of such signs and guides its readers toward appropriate treatment choices. It is an invaluable resource for anyone seeking a more informed perspective on mental illness.

See the Table of Contents for links to the complete Introduction and Chapter excerpts.


“Dr. Hicks has done what many doctors are afraid to do: tossed aside the jargon and described in everyday terms what mental illness looks and feels like. This is an important and wonderfully accessible book!”--Charles Barber, project director, Yale Program for Recovery and Community Health and Author of Songs from the Black Chair: A Memoir of Mental Interiors, and Comfortably Numb.

"Each of us has experienced one or several of the various forms of emotional distress described in this enormously helpful book--and who has not worried about their meaning and sometimes wondered whether, or how, to seek treatment? Finally, here is the book that answers every question lucidly, directly and authoritatively. Dr. Hicks deserves the thanks of every reader, for his remarkable contribution to mental health."— Sherwin B. Nuland, M.D., author of Lost In America: A Journey With My Father and How We Die

"Tackling psychological problems begins when we notice their signs. Dr. James Hicks has used this fact to devise an exceptionally practical guide for anyone struggling with the questions of mental illness."--Anand Pandya, M.D., NYU School of Medicine, Bellevue Hospital Center, and NAMI Board of Directors

“Concrete stories, a wide range of information, helpful advice--a most useful book for the general reader. The direct address, the concrete examples, and the quality of the writing give a dramatic, page-turning quality to the text."--Michael Rowe, Yale School of Medicine


"Author James Whitney Hicks ... has delivered a smart, alphabetically arranged layperson's guide to common symptoms ranging from anxiety to deceitfulness that may be either personal quirks or signs of psychosis. ... Fascinating observations abound... " - Gregory Mott, Washington Post

"Bottom line: This is an excellent starting point for understanding mental health". - Mary Beth Regan, Baltimore Sun" >>>> READ ENTIRE REVIEW

"This resource on the symptoms of mental illness and their treatment is a solid gem. ... A reservoir of useful knowledge." - E. James Lieberman, George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC for Library Journal

"This book provides authoritative yet easy-to-understand explanations for a wide range of symptoms.... Most important, the book clearly defines the line between behaviors that are normal (if troublesome) and those that require professional attention." -Health Magazine

"Written in everyday language, the information is readily accessible to the reader... The Recommended Resources in the back of the book is an outstanding listing...." -Janice Gabrovsek, NAMI Advocate

"50 Signs is a helpful resource for early intervention." bp Magazine

The tone is friendly, interested, and inviting, and the scholarship behind it is seamless.... It wouldn't hurt doctors a bit to read Hicks' book and commit some of his patient-friendly language to memory." - David Forrest, MD, for the American Journal of Psychiatry >>>>READ ENTIRE REVIEW


Selected as one of two best non-fiction books of 2005 by the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Recipient of one of five 2006 Ken Book Awards given annually by the Kenneth Johnson Memorial Research Library of the NAMI-NYC Metro chapter for outstanding books of literary merit that have substantially contributed to the public's awareness and better understanding of mental disorders.

Selected as a public and secondary school library book by the Association of American University Presses in 2006 and 2007.

Semi-finalist in the health category for the 2006 Independant Publisher Book Awards.


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