Views & Reviews Medical classics

A Mind That Found Itself

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 10 May 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:1009
  1. Robert Hierholzer, clinical professor, University of California, San Francisco (Fresno Medical Education Program)
  1. Hierholzer5{at}

    Long before celebrities started going public about their struggles with mental disorders, Clifford Beers produced a vivid personal account of what it's like to live with bipolar disorder. A Mind That Found Itself, published almost 100 years ago, is widely regarded as having helped launch the mental hygiene movement, the precursor of today's mental health consumer movements. Apart from this historical significance, the work is also a primer on bipolar disorder while being a good, if not gripping, read. Indeed, William James thought that it read like fiction while also having interest for the scientist.

    In a sense, the story is simple. A recent Yale graduate becomes …

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