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From The CriticsReviewer: Alyson Myers, MD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This is a quick reference to diagnosing and treating a variety of psychiatric illnesses.
Purpose: The purpose is to help those at all levels of training — from medical students to attendings — with diagnosing and managing psychiatric disorders. The diagnosis portion is interwoven with the DSM-IV criteria for each illness. The objectives are worthy, as many of these diagnoses need to be made and managed based upon a single evaluation of a patient. The author does a good job of meeting this goal.
Audience: The author wrote this book for a variety of audiences. The easy-to-read, outline format without any clinical vignettes makes the material seem superficial for those at advanced levels of training, therefore medical students and interns would likely benefit most from this work. The author is a trained psychopharmacologist and clinician who has taught medical students and has founded a mood disorders clinic.
Features: The three main sections cover diagnosis, pharmacotherapy, and nonpharmacological treatment such as psychotherapy or ECT. The sections on diagnosis and medications are most thorough, thus most useful. The outline format makes the book an easy read, but somewhat monotonous as there are few pictures or diagrams. The tables displaying medications, their properties, half lives, and methods of titration are most helpful.
Assessment: This is a good source of information for diagnosis and pharmacological treatment of patients with psychiatric disorders. The brief chapters on nonpharmacological treatment modalities fall short as they are rather condensed. This book would be of most benefit when doing an initial evaluation as its simplistic structure makes it a quick and easy read. The depth in which this book explains the material is appropriate for medical students or interns, but may be oversimplified for higher level residents or attendings.