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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Aaron Plattner, MD (Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services)
Description: With 16 clinical vignettes covering various psychiatric topics, this book educates readers by asking questions within the vignettes and presenting answers and explanations at the conclusion of the vignettes. It is derived from material in FOCUS The Journal of Lifelong Learning in Psychiatry, which provides resources for lifelong learning, self-assessment, and to prepare for certification or recertification exams.
Purpose: The vignettes are designed to improve readers' knowledge of clinical psychiatry, which ultimately will enable clinicians to offer better patient care. Readers are able to earn up to 32 credits towards continuing medical education completing the exercises in this book.
Audience: The primary audience is practicing psychiatrists, and they are the most appropriate, but any mental healthcare providers, as well as students completing a rotation in psychiatry, would benefit from this book.
Features: The clinical vignettes cover anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, child and adolescent psychiatry, delirium, gender, race and culture, major depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, personality disorders, psychopharmacology, psychotherapy, schizophrenia, sleep, sex, eating disorders, and substance abuse. Each vignette first introduces the patient, then presents decision points, at which the reader must select various treatment options followed by additional historical data as the vignette continues with various treatment responses and complications leading to more decisional points, including writing a differential diagnosis. At the conclusion of a vignette, readers receive scores varying from -5 to +5 based on the appropriateness of their answers, with explanations of the score. The explanations include various charts and tables to assist in comprehension. The chapters conclude with a final ideal score, key clinical points, and references.
Assessment: In preparing for the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology certification exam, I have reviewed several traditional multiple-choice texts, including case-based questions. Because the questions in this book are not set up in the traditional multiple-choice format, readers must choose multiple answers and write in their answers, which forces them to think about the cases differently. Further, the cases closely resemble actual patient encounters I have seen in my practice. However, I found this format too loose at times, as psychiatry inherently has multiple ways to approach various patient presentations; at other times, I found the explanations for choosing a particular answer or differential diagnosis sometimes lacked clear reasoning. The references are arranged alphabetically at the end of the chapters, but they would be more useful if they were cross-referenced within the vignettes so readers can more readily find additional information. Also of note, decision point E contains an error — option E2 and E5 are identical, but in the explanations on page 113, options E2 are E5 are different.