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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Steven T. Herron, MD (University of Arizona Health Sciences Center)
Description: This book is the latest update for this specific topic and includes diagnostic information, as well as other clinically related data such as symptomatology, course, etiology, epidemiology, and differential diagnosis for most major psychiatric disorders.
Purpose: Offered as a "basic guide to the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders", this book attempts to provide a "practical emphasis" on clinical issues while maintaining its usefulness as a quick reference resource.
Audience: The author indicates this book is geared primarily toward "trainees and practitioners", which can include students in various medical specialties, residents, other mental health providers, and anyone who deals with mentally ill patient populations.
Features: The main portion of the book is separated into sections similar to those found in DSM-IV-TR. Each major diagnostic category is addressed, along with providing references, differential diagnoses, the course of the illness, and recognized treatments. There are separate chapters for psychopharmacology (including ECT) and "Other Conditions", including tardive dyskinesia, dystonias, and the like, There are some basic tables but no diagrams or figures.
Assessment: If used solely as a reference tool, this book is reasonable for a basic review of information in a rapid manner. However, it should not substitute for more comprehensive texts that provide detail that enhances understanding of these complicated disease processes. The lack of highlighted DSM-IV-TR criteria is distracting, as one must read through a paragraph to pull out the specifics of a diagnosis, and then some of the old references (some as early as 1993) give a dated feeling to the book. And while addressing some important syndromes and symptoms in the "Other Conditions" section, I was again surprised not to have information on a problem such as lithium toxicity. Overall, it is a reasonable book, but not one to overwhelm its readers.