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Obsessive compulsive disorder: a practical guide
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    Edited by Naomi Fineberg, Donnatella Marazziti, and Dan J Stein. Published by Martin Dunitz Publishers, London, 2001, pp 200, £24.95. ISBN 1-85317-919-1

    The stated aim of this book is to provide a practical and accessible guide to the diagnosis, assessment, and management of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). The 14 chapters include contributions from an international panel of expert clinicians and a final chapter, The patient’s perspective, from a psychologist who also has OCD.

    The first four chapters present an overview of the nosology, epidemiology, psychopathology, and assessment of OCD. A chapter on quality of life is followed by three chapters that summarise the neurobiology of OCD in terms of genetic factors, neuroanatomy, and neurochemistry. The final section of the book provides chapters on pharmacological and psychological treatments for OCD, including treatment resistant cases and children and adolescents.

    The strength of this book lies in the detail of the discussion of the subtleties of clinical assessment, pharmacotherapy, and psychotherapy. There are a number of clinical pearls contained in these chapters, which will help clinicians to ensure that their patients receive the most effective and appropriate treatments available. The chapter on integrated treatment approaches highlights the gap in evidence whereby it is still uncertain whether combining drug treatment with exposure therapy is any more effective than drug treatment given alone. Although busy general adult psychiatrists are unlikely to ever use the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale, included as an appendix, its inclusion helps to highlight the need for systematic assessment of target symptoms over the relatively prolonged timescale of response to treatment.

    As a stand alone text this has many merits and can be recommended to anyone who is involved in the assessment and treatment of OCD. For those more interested in the neurobiology it provides a stimulating introduction with good references to the more detailed literature.

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