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From The CriticsReviewer: Christopher J Graver, PhD, ABPP-CN(Madigan Healthcare System)
Description: Treating eating disorders requires specialty training and is not in the usual repertoire of clinical skills of mental health professionals. This book provides information about eating disorders and their treatment.
Purpose: The aim is to help clinicians better understand specific aspects of eating disorders, the medical and sociological context that surrounds these psychological disorders, and empirically supported treatments.
Audience: This book is intended for mental health professionals engaged in the delivery of services to individuals with eating disorders. The editor and contributing authors are well versed in this area.
Features: The first of the four main sections covers nosology and epidemiology and is a thoughtful review of the diagnostic considerations for eating disorders, including overlap between disorders and suggested revisions for DSM-V. The second section delves into specific aspects of the disorders from a variety of perspectives, including psychological, biological, genetic, and sociocultural. Readers will find discussions of conflicting findings in the literature, as well as attempts to reconcile these differences and direct the field in future endeavors. The third section offers useful tips and tools for evaluating eating disorders, but these are actually contained in one diminutive chapter that should be expanded substantially in the next edition. The remainder of the section is focused on assessing for medical and psychological comorbidities. The authors are to be applauded for starting the final section on treatment with a chapter on prevention. Specific treatment modalities, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy, are reviewed with an eye toward the empirical literature. Nevertheless, this section is not merely a review of the literature, but also a discussion of the problems with disseminating the research and implementing a change in therapy approaches. There are tables with activities and assignments for therapy, as well as sample dialogues. The section ends with a review of pharmacological treatments for eating disorders. All chapters are well organized with an abstract, subheadings, conclusions, and future directions. More tables and figures would help the readability of the text, but the references are current and the information pertinent.
Assessment: This is an excellent overview of the state of the science in terms of understanding and treating eating disorders. Given that eating disorders are not a part of mainstream training for clinicians, this book is essential reading for anyone involved in the competent delivery of services to individuals with eating disorders.