Making Sense of Psychiatric Diagnosis

Book cover: Making Sense of Psychiatric Diagnosis by Ashley L PetersonThis 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 aims to cut through the misinformation, stigma, and assumptions that surround mental illness and give a clear picture of what mental illness really is.

The book pairs diagnostic criteria and descriptions for a variety of mental illnesses in the DSM-5 with nineteen first-hand narrative accounts of what it’s like to live with those conditions. The book is also infused with the author’s own experience as a mental health nurse and person living with depression.

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 to Making Sense of Psychiatric Diagnosis:


“I love this book!! I could not put it down! It was actually a page turner…something very unusual for a clinical book in this therapist’s experience….user friendly for clinicians or non.” – Sandi,


“Fantastic book which is simple to understand. A must have for students and newly qualified practitioners.” – emmanuel,

“This book does an amazing job breaking down various mental illnesses and I highly recommend it for everyone.” – Sandy Pace, author of Your Mental Health and You, Goodreads

“I love this book and I’m not just saying that because I have a small piece in it. I love that she incorporated real people’s stories into this book. It gives it a personal touch.

If you want to know more about a mental disorder you have or that someone you love has, this is the perfect book for you. I highly recommend it!” – Casey, This Bipolar Brat

“This engrossing book brings into the light, the reality of those that live with mental disorders and illnesses, while inviting readers to experience those lifelong challenges, firsthand…  This book accomplishes to carefully and skillfully dissolve the steep, cold walls of mental health stigma and allows it’s readers to peer into the diagnosis’s that will never define any of it’s contributors who battle their illnesses, fearlessly.” – excerpt from Mike, Katy Mae, and the gang of Our DID Journey

“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:


Mental Health @ Home Books bundle

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