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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Michael Joel Schrift, DO, MA (University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine)
Description: It is quite unfortunate that with the advances in the neurosciences and progress on the understanding of how the brain works that this knowledge has not really affected how we diagnosis or really treat mental illness. The diagnosis of chronic psychosis such as schizophrenia is still based just on clinical symptom recognition and, as the authors of this book correctly point out, once symptoms are detected the illness is already there. This is a clinical handbook on detecting those individuals at risk for developing psychosis based on the model used at the Connecticut Mental Health Center in New Haven.
Purpose: The purpose is to convey what the authors have learned about these syndromes of psychosis risk and how to identify them for research and treatment.
Audience: The target audience includes psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers involved in the care and treatment of patients as well as in the prevention of psychosis. Written and edited by authorities in the field, this book is a welcome addition to the psychiatric literature.
Features: The first part of the book reviews the history of the concept of first-break psychosis, the development of the assessment tools with reliability and validity data, symptom classes, the risk syndromes and psychosis, negative symptoms, and characteristics of the risk samples. The next section focuses on the step-by-step process used at their clinic in patient evaluation with the final section reviewing their experience in this clinic. The bibliography contains important references to the relevant literature and appendixes cover phone screening for risk syndrome, structured interviews for psychosis-risk syndromes, and the informed consent document.
Assessment: This is a valuable new tool in the effort to detect individuals at risk for psychosis. It provides keen insights into developing similar detection programs.