Making Sense of Psychiatric Diagnosis

Book cover: Making Sense of Psychiatric Diagnosis by Ashley L Peterson

This is the official book page for Making Sense of Psychiatric Diagnosis: Understanding the DSM-5 by Ashley L. Peterson.

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Making Sense of Psychiatric Diagnosis: Understanding the DSM-5 covers the DSM-5 criteria for a variety of mental illnesses, including what’s involved in making a diagnosis, the symptom criteria for each diagnosis, and an explanation of what the various symptoms actually look like.  It will explain why a person’s diagnoses may change over time, and discuss some of the weaknesses in this kind of diagnostic system.

The book will also touch on why trying to self-diagnose is problematic, and why clinical expertise is required to determine what’s pathological and what’s not.

In order to give a clearer picture of what different psychiatric diagnoses are actually like to live with, the book includes first-hand accounts from people who have actually experienced each diagnosis.

With the fusion of diagnostic information, clinical experience, and lived experience, this book offers a unique, well-rounded perspective on the reality of mental illness.

Reader responses:

“I love how it is written in way that breaks the stigma of a psychiatric diagnosis meaning your mental illness defines you like a label.  Ashley wrote this book in a way that teaches people what mental illness is and that a psychiatric diagnosis means what you want it to mean.

I highly recommend reading this book. I learned facts about my social anxiety in this book that I never knew before. Only 12% of shy people have social anxiety. They aren’t the same like I thought. From beginning to end, I was engaged.” – excerpt from Michelle Tikalsky, author of Shattered


“It’s not often writers can make psychiatry easy to understand, engaging and useful all in one go. But Ashley has managed to do just this, covering and exploring the issues around mental illness diagnosis and the criteria with which individuals are assessed against. She covers the topics thoroughly and makes highly relevant, extremely thought-provoking points throughout.” – excerpt from Caz at Invisibly Me


“Ashley’s book can be summarized as, “The DSM-5 for Dummies.” I wish I had this book when I was in graduate school because it would have made understanding mental illness much easier!

I would recommend this book to everyone, as it removes a lot of the mental health jargon and concisely describes various mental illnesses.” – excerpt from Johnzelle Anderson, Panoramic Counseling


“My favorite thing is that this book is partly factual with the great explanations of DSM-5 diagnoses, but it’s also personal and relevant to real life. If I were a psych student in college, I’d want to read this. Because it’s not just dull facts–it’s the people behind the facts, the faces and voices behind the diagnoses.” – Meg Kimball, Goodreads


Find excerpts here: