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From The CriticsReviewer: Arshdeep S. Jawandha, MBBS (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This book is divided into three sections that briefly cover psychiatric illnesses in the first section, drugs of abuse in the second, and psychotropic medication in the third.
Purpose: The authors present this book as a "solid" source of information for accurate diagnosis and treatment of mental health conditions. Although worthy objectives, these are only partly met.
Audience: The authors imply the intended audience is health professionals caring for children who need to make correct diagnoses and plan treatment, professionals in supportive roles such as school nurses or guidance counselors who need a solid understanding of this information, and even parents who want to be informed consumers. However, the information in this book satisfies only a very cursory interest.
Features: Section 1 includes the overview of "most common" mental health conditions seen in children and adolescents, including prevalence, risk factors, symptoms and diagnosis, treatment issues, and case studies. It does not include DSM-IV diagnostic criteria, and the information on treatment is similarly lacking in specificity and detail. This is not a book for child and adolescent psychiatry professionals since the information is not thorough by any means and is available in other sources in much more detail. Most importantly, the book fails to include major, if not "most common," conditions such as pervasive developmental disorders and psychotic disorders. Section 2 describes the drugs of abuse. A list of physical and psychological effects, overdose and withdrawal symptoms of each drug is provided, which again is not sufficient. The way the information is provided has little chance of sticking in the memory. Street names of each abused drug are included, which is good addition. Section 3 is alphabetically arranged information on prescribed psychotropic medications. This is in a question-and-answer format and is geared toward consumers of these medications. Information such as what the medication is, who should not take it, what to tell the doctor before taking it, usual dose, how to take, what to avoid, and interactions is provided. Side effects are included. It does not include any mechanisms of action, dosing guides, or treatment directions.
Assessment: The benefit of this book for mental health professionals is a little difficult to understand given the availability of other, much better sources of information. It could, however, be a useful source of information for nonpsychiatric nursing staff, parents, or patients.