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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Heather Huang, MD (University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health)
Description: This book summarizes the proceedings of a multidisciplinary, international conference on somatoform disorders (Beijing, September 2006).
Purpose: The purpose is to survey the "latest research on phenomenology; etiology and clinical course; and treatment options" of "the entire range of this category of disorders, including conversion disorder, chronic pain and fatigue, and the multitude of presentations of medically unexplained symptoms."
Audience: The book is intended for any clinician involved in the treatment of somatizing patients. This collection of papers is written by "international experts from different backgrounds."
Features: The papers cover a wide range of topics important to somatoform disorders including research on phenomenology, etiology and clinical course, and treatment options. The papers raise important conceptual questions when dealing with the current nosology of somatoform disorders and they draw on current literature and research on treatment and epidemiology. The book is largely text, but it does contain occasional relevant tables, charts, and figures.
Assessment: The useful book touches upon the difficult and frustrating aspects of defining, diagnosing, and treating somatoform disorders. It raises intellectually stimulating questions regarding definitions, etiology, and diagnoses and it concisely summarizes the current literature on treatment.