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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Steven T. Herron, MD (Assurance Health and Wellness)
Description: This adjunct to the DSM-IV-TR contains more detailed descriptions of the reasoning behind the decisions used to create diagnostic criteria for psychiatric illnesses in the United States and other places throughout the world.
Purpose: The authors describe several purposes for this book: to provide a "road map capturing the overall landscape of the DSM-IV-TR;" to annotate the diagnostic criteria to "clarify" and "enhance" their meaning; to assist readers in developing a different diagnosis; to "indicate the historical context and controversies underlying" criteria changes; and to suggest "possible future directions for psychiatric clarification."
Audience: Geared primarily for those who are intimately familiar with the DSM-IV-TR (psychiatrists, psychologist, social workers, nurses, and Masters level therapists, to name a few), it will appeal to a subset of this population intrigued by the how's and why's of psychiatric diagnosis, as well as those contemplating future diagnostic directions.
Features: The book is divided into five parts (Foundations of Psychiatric Diagnosis, Development and Use of DSM-IV-TR, DSM-IV-TR Diagnosis, Not Ready for Prime Time, and Study Guides), each of which has a unique flavor. Particularly useful are sections on the proper use of the DSM-IV-TR, as well as the "Capsule Summary," and the "Last Word" sections, found at chapter's end to highlight each chapter's vital information.
Assessment: Despite using the DSM-IV-TR daily, there are many individuals who do not have a clear grasp of the complexities of diagnosing psychiatric disorders using the criteria provided. This book is exceptionally powerful in assisting with the reader's comprehension of subtle differences in psychiatric disorders that cannot be appreciated by merely reviewing a DSM-IV-TR. Even being able to regurgitate exact criteria does not assure mastery of the material, which is why this supplement was developed for those with curiosity beyond memorization. It is educational and a worthwhile read for any mental health professional.