Essentials of Psychiatric Diagnosis, First Edition: Responding to the Challenge of DSM-5


Grounded in author Allen Frances s extensive clinical experience, this practical guide helps the busy clinician find the right psychiatric diagnosis and avoid the many pitfalls that lead to errors. For each DSM disorder, Frances provides the appropriate ICD-9 code, a useful screening question, a colorful descriptive prototype, lucid diagnostic tips, and a discussion of other disorders that must be ruled out. The book closes with an index of the most common presenting symptoms, listing possible diagnoses that must...

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Grounded in author Allen Frances s extensive clinical experience, this practical guide helps the busy clinician find the right psychiatric diagnosis and avoid the many pitfalls that lead to errors. For each DSM disorder, Frances provides the appropriate ICD-9 code, a useful screening question, a colorful descriptive prototype, lucid diagnostic tips, and a discussion of other disorders that must be ruled out. The book closes with an index of the most common presenting symptoms, listing possible diagnoses that must be considered for each. Frances was instrumental in the development of past editions of the DSM and provides helpful cautions on questionable aspects of DSM-5.

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Steven T. Herron, MD (Assurance Health and Wellness)
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.
From the Publisher

"Essentials of Psychiatric Diagnosis is simply the best book I’ve read about how to accurately diagnose your patients. Frances's combination of vast experience, down-in-the-trenches common sense, and informed skepticism is unique. Whether you’re a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, nurse, crisis counselor, or any other mental health professional, you should buy this book, read it cover to cover initially, and then keep it in your office to refer back to frequently. I’m glad this book had not been published before I wrote my book on the psychiatric interview, because the competition would have made me choose a different topic!"--Daniel J. Carlat, MD, Department of Psychiatry, Tufts University School of Medicine; Founding Editor, The Carlat Psychiatry Report

"With his clinical expertise, leadership roles in prior DSM editions, and healthy skepticism about overdiagnosis and excessive medication, Frances has crafted a clinical gem. This clear and concise book describes a sequential assessment process and provides screening questions, easily remembered prototypic descriptions, differential diagnostic considerations, and cautionary notes about diagnostic traps. Frances recognizes the need for a diagnosis to guide intervention, while steering clear of diagnostic reification. All clinicians need this book for frequent reference, and it should be a required text in mental health training programs."--John F. Clarkin, PhD, Personality Disorders Institute, New York Presbyterian Hospital; Department of Psychiatry, Weill Cornell Medical College

"This easy-to-read, commonsensical handbook guides mental health clinicians through the thicket of differential diagnosis in psychiatry. Frances--a thoughtful and effective critic of the excesses of DSM-5--shows where diagnosis is valid and essential, and where a premature diagnosis or a diagnostic fad has the potential to hurt patients. Everyone who uses diagnosis in daily practice will benefit from the down-to-earth wisdom of this book."--Joel Paris, MD, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, Canada 

"A 'must have' for mental health professionals. Frances provides useful, easy-to-understand information about psychiatric diagnosis and coding for clinicians in all mental health disciplines."--K. Dayle Jones, PhD, LMHC, Mental Health Counseling Program, University of Central Florida

"Frances demonstrates an unusual ability to communicate the tacit knowledge of an expert into understandable concepts and ideas that will be appreciated by clinicians and students alike. Elegantly simple screening questions precede each disorder and cut through the diagnostic murk. Facilitating patient-centered care, teamwork, and collaboration, this is a comprehensive diagnostic resource for the whole treatment team."--Margaret (Peggy) Halter, PhD, APRN, Editor, Foundations of Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing; Associate Dean, Dwight Schar College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Ashland University

"This volume should head the list of user-friendly guides to psychiatric diagnosis. Frances draws on his considerable experience and contributions, such as heading the DSM-IV Task Force, to produce a work that will be indispensable for primary care clinicians and all professionals and students in mental health care. The guide contains screening questions, prototypic case descriptions, ICD-9-CM codes, and specific cautionary statements to reduce diagnostic inflation and raise concerns about aspects of DSM-5. The material is handled with sensitivity and compassion, with the patient's best interests always the central consideration. This book is a welcome arrival at a time when recent trends in diagnosis are increasingly attracting controversy. I will be using this excellent guide in my own work and will recommend it to my students and colleagues."--Adrian Wells, PhD, Division of Clinical Psychology, University of Manchester, United Kingdom

"Anyone who brings a critical perspective to psychiatric diagnosis will welcome this book's truly refreshing, reader-friendly approach. Frances, a well-known, respected psychiatrist, offers up what is clearly a lifetime synthesis of wisdom and knowledge on diagnosis. Rejecting the cumbersome detailing of esoteric diagnostic criteria found elsewhere, Frances presents a simpler, consumable structure for readers. Importantly, he includes specific DSM-5-related cautions and caveats. Social workers will appreciate that Frances begins discussion of the diagnostic interview with a section called 'The Relationship Comes First'--and that he argues the client should actually be part of the diagnostic team. This is good stuff."--Kia J. Bentley, PhD, LCSW, School of Social Work, Virginia Commonwealth University

"This uncluttered, visually appealing guide will assist all primary care physicians in the care of patients with psychiatric illnesses."--Elizabeth S. White, MD, internist, Settlement Health, New York City

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781462510498
  • Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/24/2013
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Pages: 201
  • Sales rank: 1,458,029
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Allen Frances, MD, is a clinician, educator, researcher, and leading authority on psychiatric diagnosis. He chaired the DSM-IV Task Force, was a member of the Task Force that prepared DSM-III-R, and wrote the final version of the Personality Disorders section in DSM-III. The author of several hundred papers and more than a dozen books, most recently Saving Normal: An Insider's Revolt against Out-of-Control Psychiatric Diagnosis, DSM-5, Big Pharma, and the Medicalization of Ordinary Life, Dr. Frances is Professor Emeritus and former Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University. He is an active blogger for The Huffington Post, Psychology Today, and Education Update.

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Table of Contents

1. How to Use This Book
2. Disorders Usually First Diagnosed in Childhood and Adolescence
3. Depressive Disorders
4. Bipolar Disorders
5. Anxiety Disorders
6. Obsessive–Compulsive and Related Disorders
7. Trauma- and Stressor-Related Disorders
8. Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders
9. Substance-Related Disorders and Behavioral Addictions
10. Neurocognitive Disorders
11. Personality Disorders
12. Impulse Control Disorders
13. Eating Disorders
14. Sleep–Wake Disorders
15. Sexual and Gender Issues
16. Disorders Related to Physical Symptoms
17. Dissociative Disorders
18. Codes for Conditions That May Be a Focus of Clinical Attention but Are Not Mental Disorders

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