Why do some people with mental illnesses recover while others with the same diagnosis do not? According to New Yorker editor Rachel Aviv, part of the answer lies in the gap between people’s real experiences and the language of contemporary psychiatry that names and defines their conditions. In her new book, “Strangers to Ourselves,” Aviv writes about people she says “have come up against the limits of psychiatric ways of understanding themselves” – a woman who stopped taking her medication because she didn’t know not who she was without them, a man subjected to years of failed psychoanalysis, and Aviv herself, who at the age of six was hospitalized for refusing to eat. We’ll talk to Aviv about his findings.
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