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The Maudsley handbook of practical psychiatry, 4th edition
  1. R Nilforooshan

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    Edited by David Goldberg and Robin Murray. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2002, £19.95, pp 186. ISBN 0-19-851609-6

    This is a pocket sized reference book with a colourful cover that is engaging and forms a good initial rapport. However, after lengthy exposure it did have some difficulties in sustaining my concentration. The writing is clear and unambiguous and there is no flight of ideas or circumstantiality, but the dense writing in a small font makes reading in the poor light of an on-call room difficult.

    The mood of the book is objectively difficult to assess . . . but my reaction after the evaluation was rather sad. The little use of diagrams, except at the end of the book, and no colour beneath the glossy exterior, makes for a gloomy atmosphere.

    However, it is an excellent source of information that is often not readily available, except in larger textbooks. For example, what do you do if someone brings you a gift? What techniques should you use when interviewing children? What are the nuances of cross cultural psychiatry? It does have its drawbacks—trainees need familiarity with ICD-10, but information on this is lacking. There is insufficient guidance about making a diagnosis and psychopharmacology is inadequate, so constant reference to a textbook is necessary.

    In summary, it is a book in its 4th edition, which is definitely improving over time, but needs some further follow up.

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