In his book, Schizophrenia: A Brother Finds Answers in Biological Science (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013), biologist Ronald Chase explores the frequently misunderstood condition through an engaging combination of scientific exploration and personal memoir. In recounting the life of his older brother, Jim, who was a bright young graduate student at UCLA when his episodes began to intensify, Chase tells the story of how the treatment of schizophrenia has changed since the 1950s, connecting events in his own life to research on the causation and treatment of schizophrenia. He grapples with difficult questions about why the condition persists from an evolutionary perspective, and the stigma associated with it.
Chase takes a hard line on the physical nature of schizophrenia; only by accepting it as a disorder of the biological brain, rather than the moral mind, can we begin to find the right, albeit complex answers and accommodate those who suffer from the condition. Though individuals with schizophrenia can live long lives, Chase's meetings with Jim call upon the reader to ask themselves how we, as a society, can help make these lives more meaningful. This book is essential reading for those interested in the stories behind brain disorders, and those who want to learn more about how mental illness has changed over the last 50 years.