This was one of my class textbooks and is written for psychology students, but it’s easily accessible to the layperson. If you’re a writer and are thinking about writing a character who’s a therapist or psychiatrist, this book will give you all you need to know about diagnosing mental illness in America. (It’s based on the diagnoses in the DSM-IV.)

In easy-to-follow logic and clear prose, Morrison lays out the steps for diagnosing a patient with a mental illness, or concluding that they’re not mentally ill. He has his own hobbyhorses, most notably his fondness for somatoform disorders, but other than that, the way he thinks is the standard way that diagnosticians think. My caveat is that he doesn’t get into cultural/social factors at all. Otherwise, this is a very good basic text.

Diagnosis Made Easier
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