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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Steven T. Herron, MD (University of Arizona Health Sciences Center)
Description: Meant to condense and clarify the abundant literature regarding somatoform disorders, this text walks the reader through historical perspectives, classification and presentations of the disorder, assessment, treatment, prognosis, and the legal complexities associated with these cases.
Purpose: This text's purpose is to educate and inform practitioners in legal and medical arenas about this complex and misunderstood disorder that so closely intermingles psychiatric and specialized medical professionals with those in the legal system.
Audience: The first portion of this text (historical and clinical perspectives) is directed at physicians. However, while interesting and useful for mental health professiona1s, the remainder of the book is geared toward those in the legal system "who may . . . come across people with the medical problems discussed here."
Features: From a clinical perspective, the first six chapters are practical for a physician because they explore somatoform disorder in significant detail, while chapters seven and eight discuss legal theory and practice. The final chapter is more existential, addressing the issues of consciousness and the vital question of causation that tends to be of utmost importance to the judicial system.
Assessment: Overall, due to its brevity and completeness, this text is quite interesting, and will provide clinicians with a more global understanding of those being treated for this disorder. Particularly interesting is the discussion of how legal questions arising in this type of clinical forum are addressed in a judicial system outside the United States, as the problem of disability continues to outreach its financial boundaries. At times the discussion seems oversimplified, but further depth might jeopardize its usefulness to those in either the legal or medical professions.