Peter Sutcliffe: mad or/and bad?

Last Thursday a mental health tribunal ruled that Peter Sutcliffe (aka ‘The Yorkshire Ripper’ and now know as Peter Coonan) no longer required clinical treatment and could be moved back to a mainstream prison. 1  Some in the tabloid media have inferred from this decision that this means that Sutcliffe is ‘bad’ rather than ‘mad’; in […]

What is psychosis?

The term ‘psychosis’ has a number of connotations, all of them negative. It’s often used in place of the word ‘madness’. It is also used as a term for schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder (manic depression), and paranoia. There is also a fairly widely held, though mistaken, view that psychotic individuals cannot be treated by psychoanalysis or […]

Bipolar and psychosis

Darian Leader has recently written a book on bipolar1, which is the new name for an old form of psychosis, namely manic-depressive insanity (to use the term adopted by Emil Kraepelin). Leader’s central argument is that manic depression (bipolar) is an attempt to avoid contradiction, because the individual is unable to bear conflicting ideas, e.g. […]

Is James Holmes psychotic?

In the wake of James Holmes’ shooting frenzy in Aurora, which left twelve people dead and at least 58 injured, arguments have already begun about his state of mind, and more specifically whether he is mentally ill or not.  Interestingly, part of the argument seems to hinge on whether a psychotic individual could have planned […]

Psychosis: the Breivik dilemma

One of the interesting things to come out of the ongoing Anders Breivik trial is that there seems to be a disagreement amongst the psychiatric profession regarding Breivik’s mental state.  The original psychiatric report published last November concluded that he was psychotic.1 The second psychiatric report, published in April by two forensic psychiatrists concludes that […]