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From The CriticsReviewer: Diana Marta, BSN, RN (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This is a second edition of a very informative and user-friendly guide to the subject of psychiatry. It covers diagnoses, treatment options, case studies, medications and more in a way that can be readily understood by a lay person.
Purpose: The author's goal is to educate patients and their families, friends, and caregivers on issues that come up in dealing with mental illness. It avoids using medical jargon and is not at all like a textbook. The author's intent is to provide an authoritative, useful resource in a world where everyone tries to practice and give psychiatric advice; and do so in a manner that is easy to read and absorb. He has done an excellent job of accomplishing his goal.
Audience: The intended audience is lay people, particularly patients, family, friends and caregivers, but the book could be helpful to people who work with those affected by mental illness. The case studies help to illustrate the illnesses and propose ways to respond to them. The author is a university professor and clinical director of a major psychiatric hospital. He has also been recognized as an advocate for mental health by the National Alliance for the Mentally III (NAMI).
Features: The book begins by attempting to distinguish between what is normal or a mild variation in mood or behavior and what constitutes a psychiatric illness. The case studies illustrate various situations that a family member might encounter and how best to respond. It is comfortable reading, either in parts or in its entirety, and even has an inviting cover to draw the reader in. I felt like I was reading an interesting magazine article as opposed to a textbook or journal.
Assessment: I like the accessibility of this book, in its appearance, writing style, and organization. It is informative and thorough without patronizing the reader and should be recommended to families and friends of patients to enhance the support they offer. Patients especially will appreciate the respect the author shows for those who suffer from mental illness and the author's commitment to improving their lives.