Nassir Ghaemi

A Clinician's Guide to Statistics and Epidemiology in Mental Health: Measuring Truth and Uncertainty

In the course of writing and teaching about mood disorders, I often discussed the results of research studies with clinicians and patients. In the process, I found that clinicians and patients needed, and wanted, to learn about the methods used to conduct these studies. In other words, one could not understand the results unless one understood more about the research methods, i.e., statistics. Yet I could find no simple book about statistics which I could recommend to the average clinician or patient, no book which was written in plain English, without excessive mathematics, and which explained the relevance of statistical concepts for the practitioners. So I decided to write it.

This book is, I think, the only book directed to the mental health clinician, and to educated patients, which covers the whole range of statistics in a way that is directly clinically relevant, with many clinical examples along the way.

Using clear language in favour of complex terminology, limitations of statistical techniques are emphasized, as well as the importance of interpretation - as opposed to 'number-crunching' - in analysis. Uniquely for a text of this kind, there is extensive coverage of causation and the conceptual, philosophical and political factors involved, with forthright discussion of the pharmaceutical industry's role in psychiatric research. By creating a greater understanding of the world of research, this book empowers health professionals, and informed patients, to make their own judgments on which statistics to believe - and why.

This paperback book is now available for pre-ordering from Cambridge University Press.

Selected Works

Clinical Psychiatry
A new textbook on the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric conditions. Oxford University Press, 2019.
Psychiatry, psychology
Depression is complex, and we need guides to help us understand it, guides who comprehend it existentially as part of normal human experience and clinically as sometimes needing the right kind of treatment, including medications. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013.
History/Psychiatry/Psychology
An investigation into the surprisingly deep correlation between mental illness and successful leadership, as seen through some of history’s greatest politicians, generals, and businesspeople. Penguin Press, 2011.
Ideas in psychiatry
A sequel and successor to The Concepts, the first book length critique of the BPS model. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008.
A comprehensive survey of psychiatric thinking. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003.
Clinical psychiatry
Accessible and clinically relevant, this book describes statistical concepts in plain English with minimal mathematical content. Cambridge University Press, 2008.
A clinical handbook about the diagnosis and treatment of depression and bipolar disorder. Wolters Kluwer, First edition 2003, Second edition 2008.

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