Description: This is an outstanding new and comprehensive textbook on geriatric psychiatry. It is actually an update of Essentials of Geriatric Psychiatry that was published 17 years ago. Written and edited by an array of internationally recognized clinician-scientists in geriatric psychiatry, this is an excellent contribution to the psychiatric literature.
Purpose: The purpose, according to the editors, is to "assist direct-care psychiatric clinicians by providing them with useful, comprehensive, cutting-edge information, along with practical approaches to optimize care...." Indeed, the editors have produced an exceptional, up-to-date textbook that is clinically useful.
Audience: The intended audience is chiefly geriatric psychiatrists and general psychiatrists. Geriatricians, primary care physicians, psychologists, and social workers would benefit from reading this book. Psychiatry residents rotating through geriatric psychiatry and geriatric psychiatry, behavioral neurology/neuropsychiatry fellows need to know the information contained in this accessible book. Certainly individuals who are planning to sit for the written examination for added qualifications in geriatric psychiatry would be well prepared by reading this book.
Features: All of the 43 chapters are scholarly written with pertinent and timely references. The first of the five sections covers issues regarding the patient, the geriatric psychiatrist, and the caregiver. The second section covers assessment and includes excellent chapters on the medical, neurologic, neuropsychological, and neuroimaging evaluation of the geriatric patient. Section three covers psychotherapeutic, psychopharmacologic, and convulsive therapy of geriatric psychiatric disorders as well as informative chapters on hospice care, spirituality, and ethical issues. The core of the textbook is in section four, which reviews all the important neuropsychiatric disorders in the elderly. The final section covers such important topics as depression and anxiety in dementia patients, psychiatric and cognitive side effects of medications, persistent pain, and apathy. Appendix A is a useful guide to geriatric psychopharmacology; appendix B reviews essential neuroanatomy for the practicing psychiatrist; and appendix C is a listing of resources for geriatric psychiatry. The index is helpful for searching specific topics.
Assessment: Luckily, I was asked to review this book one month prior to taking the ABPN recertification examination in geriatric psychiatry (10 years went by too fast!). When I took the first exam, I must confess that I did not actually study for it. Since I am a full-time academic neuropsychiatrist who teaches much of the information contained in this book to residents and fellows, is a voracious reader of overlapping topics, and who sees a fair number of geriatric patients each week, I was planning not to study for this recertification. I definitely learned a lot from reading this book and most of the material that is covered in this textbook was covered in the examination. I am glad I read it I also hope I passed.