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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Steven T. Herron, MD (University of Arizona Health Sciences Center)
Description: Like the publisher's recent DSM-5 Handbook of Differential Diagnosis, this book was developed to accompany the recently updated Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), 5th edition, though in this case, the approach to understanding these diagnoses is based on composite clinical vignettes followed by brief diagnostic discussions.
Purpose: Written to augment the DSM-5 by providing clinical cases to highlight various areas of interest within the new version, this work also attempts to identify some of the "ambiguities and controversies" associated with the update.
Audience: While informative for anyone wishing to improve their understanding of psychiatric diagnosis, this work was created primarily for those in the field of mental health, as it was developed to work in conjunction with "seasoned clinical judgment" to enable readers to "differentiate the normal from the pathological."
Features: Following the DSM-5 in its presentation, each chapter contains one or more clinical cases meant to illustrate various aspects of certain diagnoses. These are followed by a brief, but informative, discussion about the pertinent facts that helped the author of the case in walking through the process of creating a working diagnosis. Each case and discussion ends with a short list of references.
Assessment: As with many books based on case presentations authored by numerous individuals, there is a slight difference in writing style which the editors have largely minimized, and as a result, is not too distracting. Cases are generally realistic in scope, which is to say, they can omit key information much like what can occur in the everyday practice of evaluating patients. The value of this work is in reading the various authors' thought processes in each case to reach a working diagnosis. As a result, this is a valuable educational tool for anyone who works with patients.