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From The CriticsReviewer: Cindy L. Gilbert, MSW, LSW (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This book offers an interesting approach to illuminating psychiatric disorders. It is written in clear, simple language making it highly accessible. The case vignettes are helpful in clarifying the various ways symptoms can manifest.
Purpose: The aim is to provide beginning practitioners with a mental picture of how psychiatric disorders mainfest themselves in patients in real life. The stories demonstrate how subtle symptoms can sometimes be. For individuals just entering the field, this can be extremely helpful.
Audience: The author indicates that the book is intended for students in various mental health fields including psychiatry, psychology, and social work. The careful, clear, simple language lends itself easily to student use. The author appears to have vast experience with a wide variety of psychiatric issues, as is evident by this credible work.
Features: The book is arranged in 11 sections with a total of 24 chapters. The chapters are brief and easy-to-read. Each one begins with the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for a particular disorder, suggests some points to consider while reading the vignette, and proceeds to the vignette itself. Each chapter concludes with an analysis of the vignette for symptoms of the disorder in question and a few questions for further discussion or investigation by the student. One particularly nice point is in the prologue where the author admonishes readers to keep in mind their own personal biases both when reading this book and when working with real people. While he does describe how symptoms of various disorders will differ in children, he leaves out altogether the diagnostic category of disorders usually first diagnosed in childhood.
Assessment: This good introductory level textbook is well laid out and interesting to read. The author presents information in simple language without seeming condescending. Instructors should find this a useful introduction to abnormal psychiatry.