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From The CriticsReviewer: Michael Joel Schrift, D.O., M.A. (University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine)
Description: This is a collection of all the practice guidelines that have been produced by the American Psychiatric Association to date. These practice guidelines have been developed by psychiatrists who are active in clinical practice as well as others involved in research and academic psychiatry. These guidelines have limited utility as noted in the Statement of Intent, "the American Psychiatric Association Guidelines are not intended to be construed or to serve as a standard of medical care." The statement continues, "these parameters of practice should be considered guidelines only." This compendium is a good reference for those psychiatrists wishing to have all these guidelines in one book. The book is enormous, containing 1,600 pages, so APA has also produced a companion quick reference book that is essentially a boiled down version of the larger compendium in a much easier to use format.
Purpose: The purpose is to "provide recommendations to help psychiatrists make treatment decisions that are supported by the past available evidence, including from current research and expert consensus."
Audience: The intended audience includes practicing psychiatrists. Psychiatry residents would benefit from being informed of the details of these guidelines.
Features: All the previously published guidelines are here and include practice guidelines for the psychiatric evaluation of adults, delirium, Alzheimer and other dementias, substance use disorders, schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, panic disorder, acute stress and post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorder, borderline personality, and assessment and treatment of suicidal behavior. An appendix documents the practice guideline process. The index, which is essential for a large reference such as this, is excellent. Following each practice guideline, the pertinent references are provided. Disappointingly, conflict of interest disclosures were not published, although the financial disclosures were reportedly given to the Steering Committee and the work group. The work group members were chosen on the basis of "expertise and integrity." With the recent notoriety surrounding the financial conflicts of interest of expert panels and the well known explicit and implicit biases in financial and other gift exchanges, I for one, would like more details of potential conflicts of interest.
Assessment: Members of the American Psychiatric Association should already have these guidelines since they are included in their subscription for the American Journal of Psychiatry. This compendium puts all these in one convenient place and the companion book gives the bare bones of information provided in the guidelines.