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From The CriticsReviewer: Aaron Plattner, MD (Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services)
Description: This book describes various signs and symptoms of classic psychiatric disorders as well as symptoms that are inadequately defined by current DSM and ICD diagnostic criteria.
Purpose: The purpose is to emphasize the importance of not relying solely on DSM and ICD diagnostic criteria by educating healthcare providers on the different symptoms seen in the field of psychiatry.
Audience: The book is appropriate for clinicians who provide care for individuals with behavioral syndromes, and it seems particularly useful for psychiatry and neurology residents. The authors identify their audience as the wider population of mental healthcare workers.
Features: The book begins by describing the history, evolution, and inadequacies of the current diagnostic systems, then transitions into the basics of the psychiatric examination and diagnosis, followed by the description of various symptoms, and ends with propositions to address the problems of the current diagnostic systems. Throughout the book, several case examples and summary tables help readers comprehend this vast amount of information, but more illustrations, examples, charts, flow charts, and case presentations would have been helpful. It is disappointing that the book includes no pictures of various patients and EEG, CT, and MRI findings.
Assessment: As a psychiatric resident, I feel fortunate to have read this book early in my career to help shape the way I learn psychiatry and to care for patients with brain disease. The book is very complete in its description of various psychiatric disorders and should be recommended to psychiatric and neurology residents in training. Although it is not an all-encompassing textbook, this is easier to use to get a good grasp of various diseases than attempting to read the over 4,000-plus pages of Kaplan and Sadock's Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry, 9th edition, Sadock et al. (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2009). It is written at a more appropriate level for residents than Introductory Textbook of Psychiatry, 4th edition, by Andreasen and Black (American Psychiatric Publishing, 2008), which is better suited for medical students. A subsequent edition will be needed as the field expands and new discoveries are made.