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Book Forum: Substance Abuse   |    
The American Psychiatric Press Textbook of Substance Abuse Treatment, 2nd ed.
ARON S. WOLF, M.D.
Am J Psychiatry 2000;157:146-146.
View Author and Article Information
Anchorage, Alaska

edited by Marc Galanter, M.D., Herbert D. Kleber, M.D. Washington, D.C., American Psychiatric Press, 1999, 600 pp., $95.00.

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This second edition of The American Psychiatric Press Textbook of Substance Abuse Treatment has been broadened to include such very important issues as the treatment of pain, AIDS and addiction, and the special issues for women relative to addiction. To accomplish this work, the editors have amassed contributing authors who are indeed a Who’s Who in the addiction world.

The work, as a compendium, was designed for use by trainees and clinicians in general medicine, psychiatry, and the other mental health disciplines. The editors added five new chapters on the neurobiology of addictive substances. These are excellent and detailed descriptions of this aspect of addiction. The editors, however, placed these chapters first in the volume. This placement certainly makes sense for the student learning about addiction but might perhaps deter the pragmatic clinician from looking further into the volume for the clinically practical knowledge that rests beyond these chapters.

Dr. Galanter, in his chapter "Network Therapy," notes that "most mental health professionals are ill prepared to help alcoholic or drug abusing individuals achieve recovery." He has developed a network therapy model that is flexible, creative, and useful for the patient and the therapist. Despite this particular very integrative focus, much of a whole section is devoted to the traditional therapies, while the extremely widely used and many times successful 12-step programs are relegated to a section on Special Approaches.

The Special Populations section is extremely well focused, especially for the nonpsychiatric physician who is faced with treating these patient populations. This section would be further enhanced in the next edition of this book if the special needs of our Native American population were added.

Despite my very small suggestions for making this volume even more useful, this work is indeed an encyclopedia of the most current thinking in the addiction field. It clearly has achieved its goal of "representing the best of our current understanding of addictive illness." As such, it should be in the library of any clinician who treats addictive disorders.

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