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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 enlightening book addresses one of the most important issues in psychiatry: the nature of psychiatric nosology. As is well known, the DSM-III and beyond was never designed to be a valid classification of psychiatric disorders, but rather a temporary classification scheme to establish reliability of putative diagnoses in order to be able to begin research on establishing validity. The diagnoses listed in the DSM-III, DSM-IIIR, DSM-IVTR, as well as the upcoming DSM-V have little or no validity. This book addresses the philosophical underpinnings of classification as it pertains to psychiatry. The book is derived from a conference held in Copenhagen, Denmark, in November 2010. Written and edited by internationally recognized figures in the field, this is a welcome addition to the psychiatric literature.
Purpose: The purpose is to address important questions: "What is the nature of psychiatric illness? Can it be clearly defined and, if so, how? What is the impact of fact versus values in psychiatric classification? How have concepts of psychiatric diagnosis changed over time?" These questions and more are discussed thoroughly in this book.
Audience: The targeted audience includes "psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health trainees and professionals," as well as philosophers and philosophy students interested in the philosophy of science.
Features: "The book is designed to replicate the discussions from the original conference with each chapter containing an introduction by one of the editors and ending with comments from one of the other chapter authors or one of the editors. Part I focuses on the definition of psychiatric illness and rules for classification. Part II describes the historical development of modern psychiatric diagnoses, and part III addresses validity issues. Part IV uses major depression and schizophrenia as examples of determining when they become mental disorders. Part V discusses the future for psychiatric nosology. Each chapter contains relevant and timely citations of the scientific literature. "
Assessment: This book addresses many fundamental issues regarding psychiatry and psychiatric diagnoses as well as the future of psychiatry. It is important reading for anyone in the field.