A 500 Pound Amoeba
and Other Psychiatric Tales
Steve Sobel is a practicing psychiatrist in northern Vermont. "A 500 Pound Amoeba" is a collection of 10 compelling vignettes of patients with psychiatric illnesses. These comprise depression, mania, OCD, body dysmorphic disorder, borderline personality, generalized anxiety disorder, schizophrenia, acrophobia, psychotic depression, and dementia. The stories are told with great sensitivity. Each one is divided into two parts. The first describing the illness as appreciated from the patient’s vantage point and the second explains the clinician’s approach and touches on the doctor-patient relationship.
We have all known patients like the composites Dr. Sobel eloquently conveys. As physicians, we have all had patients like these. Sobel’s narrative style is easy to read and follow. These tales afford profound insights into the illnesses covered.
This slender volume of less than 130 pages will make compelling reading for physicians, mental health professionals, trainees, medical students and all others with an interest in mental health. Sobel has a humble, gentle, compassionate writing style and the tales are memorable. The narrative form employed also serves as a template for the presentation of similar patients. Reading "A 500 Pound Amoeba" one recalls Oliver Sacks' "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat" but I found Sobel's book less didacticand more humane.
A 500 Pound Amoeba is available at Amazon for around $10 and also on Kindle for $7.