Description: This book, one in the 2001 Review of Psychiatry series, thoroughly reviews the somatoform and factitious disorders, discussing such topics as epidemiology, etiology/pathology, and treatment modalities for these syndromes.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide a concise, thorough, and clinically-focused overview of somatoform and factitious disorders.
Audience: This book is targeted to practicing psychiatrists and other clinicians who want to better understand somatoform and factitious disorders. However, psychiatric residents would also find it invaluable reading. Although not intended for medical students, students who have an interest in these types of psychiatric disorders would also find it useful; it is not written at such a technical level that students would not understand it.
Features: The book is divided into five chapters: somatoform disorders, hypochondriasis, body dysmorphic disorder, conversion disorder, and factitious disorder. Each chapter discusses these syndromes in great detail, outlining such things as history, signs and symptoms, epidemiology, disease course, and treatment modalities. There are no illustrations, but none are needed. A thorough reference list follows each chapter. An index is provided at the end.
Assessment: This book makes for interesting and useful reading. In this age of psychopharmacology, second-messenger systems, and gene expression, it is refreshing to be reminded that there still exists in psychiatry several disorders that cannot be adequately explained by receptor dysregulation, nor easily treated with a simple prescription. Because these disorders are still commonly seen, it would behoove practicing psychiatrists to review them thoroughly; this book serves that function well.