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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Karen Hadley, MD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This condensed pocket version of Dulcan's Textbook of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (American Psychiatric Publishing, 2010) provides straightforward information on symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and overall management of childhood and adolescent mental illness. It is more than just a practical book, also providing information on etiology, prevalence, and other considerations helpful to clinicians managing children with mental illness.
Purpose: The purpose is to give clinicians management guidelines and considerations for treating children and adolescents with mental illness. However, the preface simply states that the book is written to update the previous edition. This would be one of my few criticisms of the book. The preface does not really give a statement about what the book is, for whom it would be useful, and for what purpose.
Audience: The book is recommended for child and adolescent psychiatrists, medical students, pediatricians, family practitioners, and nurse practitioners, among others. It is a little too specific for the average medical student who is doing a brief rotation in child psychiatry, but it will be most helpful for residents and fellows in training. However, it is a great resource and hands-on guide for all the other recommended readers.
Features: The benefits of this concise version are its portability and its ease of use. It covers the majority of childhood disorders that child psychiatrists would expect to see and treat on a daily basis and it is fairly thorough in its approach. However, I would recommend several additions. First, the book could use a brief mini-mental status exam applicable for younger age groups. Although Folstein is generally ingrained by the time practitioners are in their senior years of training, including this exam would be helpful for other mental health professionals. Second, while development is discussed on some level, it would be helpful to include a chart that shows appropriate ages of developmental milestones. This would be useful in an emergency or consult situation and, because the book is so portable, practitioners could have this information with them at all times. The medication charts with dosing ranges are helpful.
Assessment: It is difficult to compare this book to others in the field, as specific child psychiatry handbooks are few and far between. However, this is a very useful little book. I recently went on an away rotation and this was the only book I took with me, and it was the only one I ended up using. Although the hospital provided me four larger books geared toward specific disorders, to be honest, I didn't really need to have anything else. It is obviously nowhere near as comprehensive as the Dulcan textbook, but I would highly recommend this as a pocket guide.