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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Steven T. Herron, MD (Assurance Health and Wellness)
Description: The updated version of a classic psychiatry reference, this massive, two-volume set addresses virtually every area in the specialty, from human development to psychiatric classification and diagnosis.
Purpose: To encompass the vast changes in knowledge and understanding since the last edition, this book has been updated with the latest, most relevant information in a somewhat condensed format.
Audience: Though the authors and editors of this work are primarily from North America, this book is meant to be useful to individuals throughout the world interested in mental health issues, including seasoned clinicians and researchers as well as those in training.
Features: This edition has been divided into nine major sections, and consists of 129 chapters, inclusive of almost every topic in the field. The text is primarily in black and white, though there are some red shaded boxes containing clinical vignettes, and some slight coloring of diagrams, tables, diagnostic criteria, and figures. There are 20 color plates highlighting, among other things, anatomy, structural brain composition, and brain scanning. A complete index is contained in volume 2.
Assessment: This work is both comprehensive and intimidating, if only because it illustrates to veterans in the field how quickly the landscape is changing due to our improving understanding of the disease process and advancing technology. While it is a reference worth owning, it is less useful for those early in their training, as it can offer enough information to overwhelm the casual or less experienced reader. Similarly, it lacks some of the more stylistic qualities of other worthy reference books (such as Massachusetts General Hospital Comprehensive Clinical Psychiatry, Stern et al. (Elsevier, 2008)), which can make it more cumbersome, and the lack of an index in volume 1 makes it nearly impossible to take either of the books anywhere individually. However, content-wise, it is a higher quality reference than many others used today, including, Kaplan & Sadock's Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry, 8th edition, Sadock and Sadock (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2005).