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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Michael Joel Schrift, D.O., M.A.(University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine)
Description: Somatoform disorders hold a special place in the history of psychiatry, neurology, and medicine but they remain controversial; perplexing conceptually; a diagnosis essentially based on dualism; a diagnosis that often rests upon the clinician making a correct inference of the patient's intentions; lack validity studies except for, possibly, somatization disorder; extremely frustrating to the clinician and the patient's family; a burden on the healthcare system, and are difficult to treat. This book addresses these vexing issues head-on. The editors and authors critically review and bring the reader up-to-date in the current understanding of this important group of illnesses. Written and edited by a group of internationally recognized authorities in this area, the book is an outstanding contribution to the psychiatric literature.
Purpose: The purpose of the book, according to the editors, is to provide a comprehensive overview of all somatoform disorders in order to help clinicians in the proper diagnosis, management, and consultation of patients with these problems.
Audience: The intended audience includes "...psychiatrists, psychologists, mental health workers, and mental health policy makers." Primary care physicians and neurologists would also benefit from reading this book.
Features: The topics covered in the six chapters include syndromes and illnesses beyond the DSM boundaries of somatoform disorders. Areas included are somatization and conversion disorders, pain disorder, hypochondriasis, body dysmorphic disorder, chronic fatigue and neurasthenia, and factitious physical disorders. Each topic is reviewed in depth and with an international perspective. The chapters are written in a scholarly fashion and end with relevant citations of the scientific literature. The index is helpful.
Assessment: This is an informative and comprehensive new book on a group of common but difficult disorders. The book should be read by all clinicians. I highly recommend it.