Book Talk: The Curious Case of the Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital: And Other Controvers
With “The Curious Case of the Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital,” Dr. Anthony D’Agostino shares experiences and insights from his considerable time in the medical world, specifically the field of psychiatry. He portrays the evolution of the fields, centered on the Alexian Brothers’ institution, and showing how science’s understanding of the subject developed from dubious guesswork into the sophisticated grasp and precise treatments we have today.
The monograph takes a historical approach, charting the growth and development of psychiatry as well as the Alexian Brothers' mission. He outlines international, national and local trends of mental health care delivery. With this, readers will see how the medical field drastically changed, particularly mental health, due to a combination of scientific advancement, personal commitment, and institutional effort.
After all, the fields have gone a long way from electroshock therapy or grasping at straws with regards to shellshock and Vietnam Syndrome. Understanding has grown, as well as the efficacy of treatments. Yet not everything has been resolved, more still needs to be known, to improve treatments for those dealing with conditions such as depression and PTSD. Aside from the science itself, the way medicine is practiced also needs to be examined, with for-profit systems scrutinized and contrasted with other ways. Healthcare is more than just a financial transaction, the mission of doctors and carers goes beyond “business,” patients and communities are more than customers or markets, and some institutions have existed and served for quite sometime before the commercialization of medicine. By understanding the past, and how the field evolved to what it is now, one can realize that the status quo is not eternal, that what is taken for granted can actually change over time—hopefully for the better.
The Alexian Brothers have performed their mission for more than 800 years. This in-depth glimpse at their journey took D'Agostino years of research and study, but like his medical practice, it was driven by his interest and passion. Now he shares this treasure trove of information to readers everywhere.
Including residency training and military service in the Vietnam era, D'Agostino has been practicing psychiatry since 1966 and has witnessed and participated in those changes, especially in general medical and psychiatric hospitals.
"I wrote this book because of serious doubts about so-called 'free market' incentives in psychiatry and medicine and raise concerns (I hope) about who has control when it comes to quality and price," he says. "I also thought the general reader might be interested in some current practices in psychiatry, some of which the lay public still regard as controversial."
Reviews and What Readers Say
“ Medicine has changed in a variety of ways since it’s inception many centuries ago. Mental health, especially, has changed for the better, especially considering how those who were mentally ill were ostracized, ridiculed, and placed in horrifying institutions where they were tortured and thereby the illnesses grew in strength. Thankfully, though, that type of environment has changed, for the better. Psychiatrists have the task of meeting with the individual and ensuring everything in their power is being done to assist the person with their problems, through the diagnoses, prevention, study, and treatment, as the definition states, of the illness.In The Curious Case of the Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital: And Other Controversies in Psychiatry, author Anthony M D'Agostino (MD), discusses the practice of psychiatry, its evolution, the growth of the Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital, as well as the funding the U.S. sets aside for these services. An engrossing book of tales, in what could be real situations, detailed descriptions of what exactly the ABBHH is, and how it has affected others, will have you hooked from page one.Reading the tales, facts, and growth of the ABBHH, as well as other events that have happened in the services of Psychiatry, was a truly fascinating experience and I could not put it down. It did not take me long to complete reading it, for the writing and information I learned was incredible and captivating. I have always been interested in the study of medicine, especially regarding mental health, for I think it’s so important for all aspects of the human psyche to be healthy: emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally. Therapy, to many is seen as taboo, especially in countries where it isn’t very common to speak openly about mental health, or some areas here in America, can be a very helpful service that has the potential to increase the quality of life. I believe that a hospital such as ABBHH, which is still functioning today, would be able to be of assistance to someone who seeks it.If you or a loved one are suffering from any form of ill health, whether it’s depression, anxiety, excessive mood swings, or need someone to talk to, it is always advised to seek a professional. If, however, you feel scared or worried to speak to a stranger, find someone close to you. It is never safe and healthy to remain silent, for it can be dangerous for yourself and others if you’re feeling unsteady and insecure, for emotions have a way of gripping the spirit sometimes, threatening to bring you down, and even create hostile situations. Reading the history of psychiatry, at least at this hospital, was a real eye-opening experience for me, and I strongly recommend that if you have an interest in the topic and want to learn more about the practice of it at this hospital, definitely give this one a go. ”
― Katherine, Amazon Client
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Anthony D'Agostino, MD has served a Chief Medical Officer for Illinois-based Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital in Hoffman Estates and Chair for the Department of Psychiatry at Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove Village from 1979 to 2011. He completed his medical degree at the University of Illinois (UIC), interned at Los Angeles Country General Hospital, and did residency training in psychiatry at UIC, the University of California (UCLA) and the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Dr. D'Agostino is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, where he served as the Illinois representative for the Assembly and as a Vice Chair of their Managed Care Committee from 1996-2002. He is also Past President of the Illinois Psychiatric Society (1986-1987) where he also served on the Health Insurance and Ethics committees for nearly two decades. He has also served as a consultant for the Hospital Licensing Branch of the Illinois Department of Public Health (1978-1986).