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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Michael Joel Schrift, D.O., M.A.(University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine)
Description: This is the third edition of this book, intended primarily for the nonprofessional, on obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The authors make a claim at the bottom of the cover: "all the information you need - straight from the experts." Unfortunately, at least in terms of biological information, it should say, "all the biological misinformation you don't need!" Although the book is written by two internationally recognized experts on cognitive and behavioral therapy for the anxiety disorders, they seem to believe that the brain has little to do with the mind or behavior, resulting in a book with an anachronistic view of how their very effective therapy works.
Purpose: The purpose of the book is to provide "up-to-date information about the nature, symptoms, and causes of OCD; practical advice, including discussions of the psychological and drug treatments that are available; and case histories of real patients, showing how their lives have been affected by OCD and how they have been treated." The authors certainly do an excellent job on psychological treatments, but provide a very biased and jaundiced view of drug therapy and ignore the large body of literature on the functional and structural brain abnormalities in OCD as well as the relationship to an array of neurological diseases and streptococcal infection.
Audience: The book is written for the individual who knows someone or personally suffers from OCD.
Features: The book contains 152 pages divided into 10 chapters and 8 appendixes. Topics covered include the definition and description of the disorder, its relationship to other disorders, patient descriptions, and the effect of the illness on family, work, and social life, the prevalence and epidemiology, theories, treatment options, diagnosis, and OCD in children. The appendixes contain a useful guide to relaxation therapy, a list of antidepressant drugs, the Maudsley Obsessive-Compulsive Inventory and its scoring, the Symmetry, Ordering, and Arranging Questionnaire, and the Children's Obsessive-Compulsive Inventory and its scoring. There are no references cited in the book (except for the appendixes).
Assessment: This book is great for patients who want to understand cognitive and behavioral strategies for OCD. I cannot recommend a book to the public if they have to ignore the comments on the biological causation and much of the slanted view of pharmacotherapy. Since nobody who does biological research in OCD believes that OCD is caused by a shortage of clomipramine or of serotonin, I question why the authors even pose this as an argument in a book intended for the public.