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From The CriticsReviewer: Steven T. Herron, MD (University of Arizona Health Sciences Center)
Description: The recent publication of the updated version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) raises questions about transitioning the cumbersome criteria into practical applications. This work addresses this need.
Purpose: The author's purpose is to provide a "concise and user-friendly guide to more accurate diagnosis and coding" by offering screening questions for each disorder, prototypical descriptions of the disorders, suggestions for differential diagnoses, and diagnostic tips accumulated during his years in clinical practice.
Audience: The book is designed to be of practical use for trainees, students, and experienced mental health providers, as well as for general practitioners who are the primary prescribers of psychiatric medications in our healthcare system.
Features: Citing numerous difficulties associated with memorizing complicated diagnostic criteria for a vast assortment of diagnoses, the author's approach is to create prototypical discussions that capture the vital information for more manageable memorization. "Caution boxes" throughout the work illustrate the problems associated with these conditions, especially as they relate to DSM-5.
Assessment: It is clear the author is well intentioned in his approach to this work and is personally invested in educating others about the advantages and disadvantages of the newly released DSM-5. However, his approach is somewhat disjointed. While it enables readers to find and use information quickly, its lack of depth prevents a deeper understanding of, and a subsequent appreciation for, many of the subtleties in the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders. The caution boxes are very helpful and reflect a practical view of the problems created in developing the new criteria, and this information is vital for readers to comprehend in order to appreciate the limitations of their methods. Overall, this is a good, but not great, book.