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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Steven T. Herron, MD (University of Arizona Health Sciences Center)
Description: This brief work accompanies the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), 5th edition (American Psychiatric Publishing, 2013), and expands on the decision-making process involved with assigning a psychiatric diagnosis.
Purpose: Meant as an adjunct to the DSM-5, the author explains use of this book "should improve your skill in formulating a comprehensive differential diagnosis by presenting the problem from a number of different perspectives."
Audience: Though useful for anyone interested in the specifics of psychiatric diagnosis, this work is geared mostly to clinicians who evaluate and treat individuals with various mental health issues. However, as the author notes, "the approaches outlined here are meant to enhance and not replace the central role of clinical judgment and the wisdom of accumulated experience."
Features: Chapter 1 is, perhaps, the most useful and beneficial for readers, as it explores developing a differential diagnosis with a step-by-step process, in written form, using a "six-step diagnostic framework." The remainder of the book contains both diagnostic diagrams and tables to examine a comprehensive and systematic approach to creating a psychiatric diagnosis. An appendix also contains the ICD-9 and ICD-10 codes for the major mental health diagnoses.
Assessment: There are few works that address differential diagnosis while so clearly guided by another book, in this case the DSM-5. The true value of this book is following the author through the steps in the process of developing a working diagnosis for a patient with mental health issues. Though using the DSM-5's criteria is, in and of itself, not particularly complicated, when infused with the myriad of challenges (comorbidities and concurrent medical problems to name a few) of working with patients in a clinical setting, using a systematic approach becomes all the more vital. This book accompanies the DSM-5 well and is great for educational purposes.