Description: This review covers the basic critical concepts of the field of psychiatry.
Purpose: Upon completing this book, readers should have an understanding of basic psychiatric information that they will likely encounter during their psychiatric clerkships and on their psychiatric shelf exams and board exams.
Audience: The primary audience is third-year medical students in their psychiatric clerkships, and they would get the greatest benefit. However, any medical students preparing for their USMLE STEP I and/or STEP 2 CS/CK would also likely find this helpful. The authors consist of resident physicians in psychiatry, neurosurgery, and neurology, while a staff psychiatrist and four medical students act as reviewers. As a result, the review is written at the appropriate level for third-year medical students.
Features: The review uses a two-column question-and-answer format described by the authors as a "flashcard in a book." Particular questions and answers are bolded with exclamation points to highlight high-yield subjects. Chapters cover therapies of classic psychology, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, psychotic disorders, personality disorders, childhood disorders, cognitive disorders, somatoform disorders, factitious disorders, malingering, sleep disorders, substance-related disorders, eating disorders, sexual disorders, impulse control disorders, law and ethics, and psychopharmacology. Each chapter concludes with several clinical vignettes. The book has no graphic illustrations or references.
Assessment: The book manages to cover the key concepts in an efficient manner while providing answers that help readers understand the concepts rather than simply memorizing facts that are likely to be forgotten after the clerkship or exam. Students can read the chapters in whatever order they desire. While the clinical vignettes at the end of each chapter further learning, most review books I have seen also include illustrations such as tables, graphs, and various pictures, including CT/MRI scans or physical depictions of conditions, all of which help comprehension. Further, most reviews include references for further reading. This book includes neither. The authors acknowledge that this book is not to be used alone and rightly instructs readers to use other books along with this one in preparation for their clerkship and/or board exams. A third edition will be necessary when the DSM-V is published.