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From The CriticsReviewer: Michael Joel Schrift, D.O., M.A. (University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine)
Description: Schizophrenia continues to be conceptualized and studied as if it is a single disease. The DSM reifies schizophrenia into a discrete disorder but schizophrenia is actually a syndrome, analogous to mental retardation and dementia, with multiple etiologies, multiple pathophysiologies, and, therefore, multiple outcomes. In addition, the genetic predispositions for schizophrenia and affective illness are well known to overlap. The current concept of schizophrenia includes multiple phenotypically overlapping syndromes and diseases, and schizophrenia can no longer be considered a unitary entity. Clinical recommendations that do not take this heterogeneity seriously have, in my opinion, outlived their usefulness. This second edition does, for the most part, incorporate the issues of validity and heterogeneity — although many of the chapters continue to use the unitary concept as a default. This second edition, written and edited by internationally recognized clinician-researchers in the field, remains a valuable contribution to the psychiatric literature.
Purpose: The purpose of this second edition, according to the editors, is to provide "a comprehensive and state-of-the-art guide for the understanding and clinical management of patients with schizophrenia." The editors, in addition, "hope that this book will help bridge the gap between the potential and the actual quality of care that patients receive." A laudable goal.
Audience: The targeted audience, according to the editors is: "the people who suffer from schizophrenia, the families that support them, and the doctors and mental health professionals who care for them."
Features: As in the first edition, chapters cover the course and outcome, pathophysiology, childhood schizophrenia, early psychosis, pharmacology, treatment resistance, cognitive-behavioral strategies, rehabilitative therapies, community treatments, suicidal behaviors, violence, substance abuse, medical comorbidity, family issues, gender issues, genetic factors, and economic factors and concludes with first-person accounts. Each chapter ends with citations of the relevant scientific literature.
Assessment: This up-to-date second edition is a useful and comprehensive guide to managing patients with psychotic illness. I highly recommend it to any mental health professional caring for patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia and their families.