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From The CriticsReviewer: William Miles, MD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This softcover book is a condensed version of the larger Kaplan and Sadock's Synopsis of Psychiatry.
Purpose: The purpose of this book, according to the authors, is to foster professional competence and ensure the highest quality care to those with mental illness. These are certainly worthy objectives, and the authors meet them.
Audience: Although never explicitly stated, it is clear that the target audience is psychiatrists and other clinicians who treat patients with mental illness. This is the correct target audience, since the book is probably too comprehensive for medical students.
Features: This book covers the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders, eliminating the review of the behavioral sciences which is found in the larger Synopsis. All aspects of psychiatry are covered, in standard chapter format. The written text is concise and to the point, consistent with other editions of Kaplan and Sadock. Grey boxes throughout the book contain relevant clinical vignettes. The chapter on psychopharmacology has been updated since the last edition, and a chapter on palliative care has been added. There are no illustrations, but numerous tables are scattered throughout. References are at the end of the book, rather than at the end of each chapter.
Assessment: Although I personally prefer some of the other comprehensive textbooks of psychiatry, it is hard to argue with the reputation of the Kaplan and Sadock's books. This condensed version is more relevant for clinicians than the larger text, since it focuses primarily on psychiatric disorders and their treatment (eliminating the review of behavioral science). Any clinician looking for an up-to-date review of psychiatry would be hard-pressed to find a better or more reliable source than this book.