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From The CriticsReviewer: Brett C. Plyler, M.D.(Northwestern Memorial Hospital)
Description: This book examines the neurobiology and behavior patterns associated with chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, Gulf War illness, irritable bowel syndrome, and premenstrual dysphoria.
Purpose: The purpose is to demonstrate that these illnesses are the result of somatizing behavior and personality disorders.
Audience: This book is written for any clinician who regularly treats patients with functional somatic syndromes.
Features: Initially, the book covers the symptoms present in each illness and how closely linked they are. This is followed by a review of the literature on the neurobiological aspects of each illness and how this compares to other psychiatric disorders. Finally, the author focuses on each illness and how the symptoms can be accounted for by poor coping mechanisms and personality abnormalities.
Assessment: This is an excellent contribution to the field of medicine. The functional somatic syndromes can be difficult and frustrating to evaluate and treat. This book reviews all of the relevant literature and neurobiological research for these illnesses to give the reader an in-depth understanding of each. He further draws a distinction between these illnesses and other major psychiatric disorders and challenges the concept of these problems as being primarily a result of neurochemical dysfunction. This in turn prepares you to understand how a person's personality issues, coping skills, and life situations can result in one of the functional somatic syndromes. He specifically addresses the importance of abnormal illness behavior, sexual victimization, and maladaptive coping in the formation of these illnesses.