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Edited by Robert E Hales and Stuart C Yudofsky. Published by The American Psychiatric Publishing Inc, Washington DC, 2003, pp 1764, US$229.00. ISBN 1-58562-032-7
This is an impressive textbook; experts with international reputations have contributed to its pages covering all aspects of psychiatric practice. As one might expect from an American textbook, categorical descriptions, backed up by DSM-IV, and psychodynamic principles are both given high profile. Many chapters follow a similar pattern, with the rhythm set by the boxes describing the DSM criteria for each of the diagnosis under discussion. The book even comes with a CD-ROM of DSM-IV-TR.
A psychiatrist in training will find almost all he/she needs to know in this book, but I am less confident that it will be of value to clinical neurologists. Any book that is led by DSM (or ICD) is unlikely to perform for clinicians who want a good exposition of neuropsychiatry. And this is evident here; neuropsychiatry only being represented by one chapter on delirium, dementia, and amnesic disorders and then just three separate chapters (somatoform disorders, factitious disorders and malingering, and dissociative disorders) unhelpfully parcelled out to separate sets of authors. Indeed, I found the chapter on dissociative disorders particularly poor; and nothing on pseudoseizures!
Given that the editors are two thirds of the team that produced the excellent Neuropsychiatry of traumatic brain injury, I, on behalf of neuropsychiatry, was a little disappointed. In addition, when one finds later in the book almost 50 pages devoted to hypnosis, a treatment by and large without any evidence base, as against 60 pages devoted to schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, one wonders about the editors’ sense of proportion.
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