Novello, J. R.. ed. A PRACTICAL HANDBOOK OF PSYCHIATRY. Springfield, III.: Charles C Thomas, Publisher, 1974. 621 pp.. $16.75.
This book is all that its title implies. It probably will end up on the bookshelves of many practicing psychiatrists, psychiatric residents, and mental health professionals, and will serve the same purpose as has the Merck Manual for other physicians over the years. It is a compendium of basic facts and data about psychiatry that is handy to have as a readily available desk reference. One of its outstanding features is the collection of clinical tables and charts, rating scales, normal laboratory values in clinical medicine, etc., which alone justifies the book's price. Often the contents of each chapter are outlines that follow a similar pattern of presentation even though written by different persons. This augurs for consistency and makes reading pleasurable and easy.
The purpose of this volume is not to permit the authors to discourse on the controversies, both philosophic and practical, that are encountered in psychiatric practice but, rather, to present a body of knowledge that is widely used and accepted in this country.
The first section is allotted to diagnosis and classification in psychiatry. Emphasis is upon differential diagnosis of such conditions as schizophrenia, organic psychoses, drug abuse syndromes, conversion hysteria, hypochondriacal states, somatic delusions, and malingering.
Chapter 2 covers the subjects of general psychiatric evaluation, outlining the rudiments of the psychiatric history and mental-status examination. The mechanisms of ego defense are listed and defined, and clinical examples of each are described. The psychoanalytic model of psychologic growth and development is included to help enlarge the clinician's conceptual framework, with references to drive activity, self and object relatedness, dangers and interferences, and ego functions and deviations. Psychologic aids to diagnosis are also reviewed.
One of the most original, outstanding, and helpful parts of the book deals with special evaluations in psychiatry. From this standpoint such subjects as suicide, the dying patient, forensic evaluations, sexual dysfunctions, adolescence, children, and group, marital, family, and intensive individual psychotherapy are skillfully handled.
The special section on hospital psychiatry - which outlines the criteria for admission to a psychiatric hospital, treatment planning, and the problemoriented record - is followed by a discussion of psychiatric consultation to medical and surgical units. The many confluences of psychiatry and medicine are not overlooked. Somatic treatments in psychiatry are reviewed succinctly yet adequately, and here again the tables and charts are excellent.
The final section, which comprises about half of the book, speaks to modern issues of continuing education for psychiatrists and how to locate treatment and training facilities in the United States.
Three separate reading lists are given: (1) the 10 books that residents in psychiatry find the most useful, (2) the 18 books most often recommended to residents by their training programs, and (3) a list that includes all books that appear on 20 per cent or more of the reading lists published by 87 residency training programs. In addition to these reading lists, the editor includes a compendium of 91 journals currently in publication that are of special interest to the psychiatric profession. Each journal is briefly described, and information regarding subscription and manuscript submission is provided.
The book ends with a listing of the addresses of (1) organizations related in some way to psychiatry, (2) treatment centers to which psychiatrists may wish to refer patients or initiate correspondence, and (3) approved training centers for adult and child psychiatry.
This book is more than a Baedecker, more than a compendium, more than a psychiatric Merck Manual - it is a phenomenon that will not rapidly disappear from the American psychiatric scene!