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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Bradley R. Cutler, MD (Edward Hospital and Health Services)
Description: This is the second edition of a highly regarded psychiatry book edited by well-known Columbia University professors Janis Cutler and Eric Marcus. The first edition was published in 1998.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide readers with a clinical framework for working with psychiatric patients. It is intended, moreover, to introduce the audience to the identification and evaluation of mental illness rather than to present detailed descriptions of treatment. The editors state that the book is "biopsychosocially based and psychiatrically informed."
Audience: Targeted primarily at medical students during their second year psychopathology course and third year psychiatry clerkship, this book also is intended for psychiatry residents and other healthcare professionals. All chapters are authored by at least one medical doctor.
Features: Composed of 16 chapters, the book can be broken down into three major sections. Section I comprises the first two chapters, which present an introduction to the fundamentals of assessing, treating, and interviewing psychiatric patients. Section II includes chapters 3-14, which examine the major psychiatric illnesses from childhood through old age. Section III consists of chapters 15-16 which discuss key elements of psychotherapy and psychopharmacology.
Assessment: I have read numerous books intended as introductions to psychiatry, but few can match this one's superb combination of conciseness and clarity. The second edition has been thoroughly updated and includes an excellent new chapter on child and adolescent psychiatry as well as broadened discussions on the geriatric population and psychotherapy. The chapter covering human development throughout the lifespan is an excellent discussion that is not adequately covered in many other books. The many case vignettes are a true highlight, providing real-life examples of patients presenting with psychiatric symptoms. Numerous words are bolded throughout the text, emphasizing important concepts and facilitating mastery of the material. The expanded table of contents and detailed index enable easy access. Working with medical students on a daily basis, I am confident that this book will provide them with an exceptional foundation in psychiatry. Medical students, psychiatry residents, and all mental health workers early in their training would benefit tremendously from adding this book to their collection.