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Edited by Hugo A H D’Haenen, Johan A den Boer and Paul Willner. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, 2002, pp 1404, £345.00. ISBN 0-471-49198-5
The European editors of these two volumes have brought together contributions from all over the world and from a range of relevant specialties. Although the majority of the authors work in psychiatry, the other disciplines represented include neurology, psychology, physiology, and pharmacology. Guided by clear concepts regarding the anatomy of the book overall as well as the individual chapters, the editors have succeeded in providing an integrated and comprehensive review of biological psychiatry.
The introductory chapters address conceptual and measurement issues in biological psychiatry. The next section comprises a series of chapters on basic principles, reviewing key topics such as animal models, monoaminergic transmitter systems, neuroendocrinology, immunology, psychophysiology, neuropsychology, brain imaging, genetics, and gender issues. The bulk of the book covers a series of clinical syndromes: cognitive disorders, substance related disorders, schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, sleep disorders, and personality disorders. Adopting an approach that virtually defines the term “biological psychiatry”, each disorder is systematically addressed in a series of chapters covering the areas discussed in the basic principles section, as well as a review of current pharmacotherapy. This structure avoids overlap between chapters, and also generates several intriguing reviews that consider less commonly addressed topics, such as the psychobiology of somatoform disorders, the neuroanatomical bases of eating disorders, and the neuroendocrinology of personality disorders. Despite the relatively limited amount of research data in such areas, these chapters are no less authoritative than the chapters dealing with more established subjects. With few exceptions, the chapters in these volumes are well organised, focused, and succinct, with thorough reference lists.
This book is primarily orientated towards postgraduates and researchers within psychiatry, neurology, psychopharmacology, and psychology, and there is no doubt that they will value it highly. But clinicians in these fields who dip into it this book will find many useful insights into the neurobiological aspects of the conditions with which they work.