What determines the form of mental illness from which particular people suffer? Professor Claridge's central theme is that “psychiatric” disorders--even in their most severe forms--are abnormal manifestations of temperamental and personality characteristics we all possess to a greater or lesser degree. Examining the major forms of abnormality from this point of view, the author puts particular emphasis on the continuity between schizophrenia and normal behavior.
From the Preface
The exact origins of this book are, I must confess, lost to me, though I do recall that in its present form it began to take shape in the waiting-room of a car body repair shop just north of Oxford. If that seems too casual a beginning, I should explain that my melancholic visit to that establishment eventually led to a more sanguine encounter with Philip Carpenter of Blackwell's. After seeing an early version of the manuscript he suggested to me that, with some revision, it might make a publishable book. Among other things I am grateful to him for articulating what was wrong with the original version and for focusing my mind on the laborious task of reshaping it. The book now conveys as well as it can, I believe, the ideas I meant to impart, at least to the audience for whom it was intended: students of psychology, psychiatry, and allied disciplines, inquisitive professionals in other specialties, and even those members of the general public interested in what an academic (alias clinical) psychologist has to say about mental illness.