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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Steven T. Herron, MD (University of Arizona Health Sciences Center)
Description: A compilation of contributions from international and national authors, this book attempts to bridge the gap between existing literature and clinical practice regarding the assessment and treatment of patients with mental health disorders and the consequences following natural and made-made disasters.
Purpose: Though research in this area has been more prevalent in the last two decades, it has generally been spread out and difficult to assimilate. The authors and editors of this work have attempted to review and condense relevant information about mental healthcare during and after disasters, as well as highlight areas pertinent to future research.
Audience: The audience includes any healthcare providers (psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, social workers, medical professionals, first responders, etc.) working with victims of various types of disasters.
Features: The book attempts to address various aspects of differing types of disasters, from terrorist attacks to earthquakes and other natural disasters. One section, part six, concentrates on case examples of some of the most well-known natural and man-made disasters over the past decade. Numerous (but not substantial) black-and-white diagrams, tables, maps, figures, and even a few photographs illustrate specific concepts, and each chapter concludes with an extensive list of references.
Assessment: The mental health community only recently has begun to realize the potential differences between the assessment and treatment of survivors of various disasters and those who experience psychological/psychiatric disorder for other reasons. Unfortunately, ample opportunities over recent years have allowed for more extensive study of these patients. Though there have been numerous articles addressing these issues, this is the first book I have seen to compile the latest information in one manageable source. At times it is dense, but this is balanced by an attempt to make the book useable and relevant. It is a worthy effort that will undoubtedly require updating as additional data becomes available and we learn more about these special populations.