Based on years of teaching psychiatry to medical students and residents, this single-authored textbook offers a conversational yet detailed guide to modern psychiatric theory and practice. Exploring various approaches to psychiatric disordersincluding neurobiology, dimensional personality assessment, behavioral science, and psychodynamic and cognitive theoriesit lucidly illustrates each approach's strengths and weaknesses and suggests how clinicians can interweave them in working with patients. Using clinical vignettes and recent research findings to illustrate the connections between phenomenology, pathophysiology, and treatment, it covers all of the major psychiatric disorders and includes tables listing their DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria.
The book offers balanced coverage of subjects that receive scant attention in other introductory textbooks, including the limitations of the DSM-IV categorical approach to psychiatric diagnosis, controversies surrounding the dissociative disorders and "recovered memories," and the prescription of stimulant medications to children with suspected attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Later chapters provide practical guidelines for estimating a patient's risk of suicide and violence and for assessing competence to consent to medical or psychiatric treatment. In eschewing a dry recitation of clinical syndromes for an engaging discussion aimed at teaching the reader how to "think psychiatrically," the book will appeal to medical students, psychiatric residents, mental health clinicians, and primary care physicians.
Reviewer:Michael Joel Schrift, D.O., M.A.(University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine)
Description:Written and edited by an educator, this new introductory textbook of psychiatry is a valuable contribution to the field.
Purpose:The purpose, according to the author, is to "describe an approach to psychiatry -- its theory, its practice, and the relationship between the two." The author intends to provide a "scaffolding" so that readers will be able to link together diverse concepts offered by their teachers. The author has succeeded in this goal.
Audience:The intended audience includes medical students, psychiatry residents, practicing physicians, psychologists, and social workers.
Features:The book is divided into 20 chapters, including reference and index sections. The first several chapters cover psychiatric assessment, diagnostic, and formulation issues. The middle chapters cover neurobiology, delirium, dementia, and the specific psychiatric syndromes. The last several chapters review broader topics such as suicide, violence, psychotherapy, childhood disorders, and forensic psychiatry. The chapter on schizophrenia is comprehensive and up-to-date, but childhood disorders are only superficially covered and the information, unfortunately is not up-to-date, i.e., the genetics of Rett syndrome are not acknowledged. The index section is helpful.
Assessment:Except for this shortcoming, this is a good and solid introductory textbook of psychiatry. I would recommend it for a second year medical school psychopathology course and for medical students on a psychiatry clerkship.