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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Michael Joel Schrift, DO, MA (University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine)
Description: This book intends to describe the basic principles and techniques of the psychiatric mental status examination.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide medical students, residents, practicing physicians, psychologists, social workers, and psychiatric nurses with a practical and user-friendly approach to the assessment of patients with psychiatric disorders. The authors state that previously published mental status exam texts have either a psychoanalytic approach, a programmed text with a nontraditional format, or a text that integrates mental status information with interviewing techniques and differential diagnosis. The authors believe that this book fills a void in teaching students and seasoned clinicians the mental status examination.
Audience: The stated target audience is, as mentioned above, medical students, residents, practicing physicians (in the fields of psychiatry, neurology, internal medicine, and family practice), psychologists, social workers, and psychiatric nurses. I would tend to doubt that practitioners outside psychiatry would purchase this book.
Features: This book contains no color, but the black-and-white illustrations and tables are of good quality and sufficient quantity and are adequately described. Photos depicting abnormalities in patients' appearance and activity would have been helpful. Definitions of terms listed at the end of each chapter were quite useful. A major problem was the "pseudo-referencing." Although there was a reference section at the end of each chapter the opinions and information displayed as facts were not specifically cited in the references; they should have called the reference section a "further reading" section. Also, the references tended not to cite original research but rather review articles and book chapters.
Assessment: This book, which is organized by the traditional areas of the mental status exam, could be a useful introduction for students and residents if it were not for the major problem with the references.