Book Review: A Lethal Inheritance

When the administrator of yet another high school informed Victoria Costello that her seventeen year old son Alex was not to come back, followed by Alex running her car into a fence for no apparent reason, she had little choice but face facts. Especially as those facts included a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia, an outcome not completely unexpected as Alex had shown signs of being “different” since early childhood. Two years after his older brother’s breakdown, Victoria’s “perfect” son Sammy began exhibiting signs of mental illness as well. Plagued with depression for much of her life, Victoria gained the courage to cast off years of denial. As Victoria searches for medical answers, effective treatment options and delves into her family history, she discovers long kept secrets and half-truths that veiled two suicides and a line of assorted mental illness spanning three generations.

Although Victoria’s story could easily be depressing, this deeply personal book details one family’s journey through the stigma, denial, treatment difficulties and emerging medical research to reach a point where Alex, Sammy and their mom are enjoying life as never before. Filled with solid science, useful guidelines and information on the latest cutting edge studies, this educational book delivers plenty of material for anyone coping with mental illness or seeking to understand someone who is. The list of reader resources rounds out this thoroughly researched yet approachable book.

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