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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Helen Macey, MD (University of Arizona Health Sciences Center)
Description: This comprehensive handbook covers a broad range of topics related to schizophrenia.
Purpose: The authors have succeeded in their worthy objectives of providing clinicians with a valuable resource to further their understanding of schizophrenia and assist with treatment decisions.
Audience: The authors' intended audience includes any clinician working with individuals with schizophrenia, but it would be of interest to students in the health professions, mental health administrators, and individuals with schizophrenia as well as their supportive social network. It would be most useful as a reference for mental health practitioners.
Features: The book is divided into eight sections, each covering a different topic. As with many similar books, the first few sections cover history, epidemiology, theoretical and scientific foundations. It covers these areas with particular simplicity and clear, rational explanations using a surprisingly nontechnical writing style. Assessment, diagnosis, and treatment follow, with the remainder of the book addressing policy, legal, and social concerns. One of the best features of this book is the intelligent discussion of often overlooked topics such as sexuality, gender, race, spirituality, culture, and quality of life. All chapters conclude with a helpful summary of the key points. This book has few shortcomings, although more illustrations would have increased its appeal.
Assessment: Of the current books on schizophrenia, this one ranks as one of the best, as it is easy to read, comprehensively reviews a wide range of topics, succinctly summarizes key research findings, and formats information clearly to allow easy reference. The writing style is one of its greatest strengths, striking that rare balance between literary ease and scientific presentation. I would recommend this as an essential reference for any mental health professional treating individuals with schizophrenia.