edited by Dan J. Stein, M.D., Ph.D., David J. Kupfer, M.D., and Alan F. Schatzberg, M.D. Arlington, Va., American Psychiatric Publishing, 2006, 792 pp. $119.00.
Hot off the press in 2006, this is a book that will stand the test of time. With eight section editors, whose names are household words throughout psychiatry, 99 highly qualified contributors to 43 chapters, and 778 pages, it is one big book. And why not? As the editors point out: "Mood disorders are the bread and butter of clinical psychiatry." Just about everything you need to know about the subject is at your fingertips. The editing is excellent. The index is first-rate. Every chapter is referenced generously.
The book begins, quite appropriately, with a chapter on Historical Aspects of Mood Disorders. While I realize that virtually no one will read the book from cover to cover, I suggest that the first chapter be required reading to set the stage for what follows. What follows are eight major sections (Symptomatology and Epidemiology, Pathogenesis, Investigating Mood Disorders, Somatic Interventions, Psychotherapies, Integrative Management, Subtypes, and Additional Perspectives), each of which are then divided into pertinent chapters that give the book its comprehensive, authoritative stature. Have you been confused by the plethora of mood disorder rating scales—read chapter 5 and convert your confusion to comprehension. Do patients ask why they have a mood disorder—read the chapters on Neurochemistry, Psychoneuroendocrinology, Cognitive Processing, Social Perspectives, and Evolutionary Explanations, and you will be perceived as an expert.
In this psychopharmacologically dominated profession of ours, it is refreshing to see that the psychotherapies have not been forgotten. There are chapters on cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, and psychoanalytic/psychodynamic psychotherapy for depression and dysthymia, a chapter on several quite effective but often neglected psychotherapeutic approaches to bipolar disorder, and even a chapter on psychotherapy for depressed children and adolescents. There is no chapter devoted to psychotherapy at the other end of the age spectrum, but the topic is covered within the geriatric mood disorder chapter.
You may be wondering whether you should buy this book. If you want the most complete and timely text devoted entirely to mood disorders, this is the book for you. One would be hard put to find a major omission that could not be explained by that unavoidable lag in publishing that is inherent in all books. I see its audience to be one with a clinical rather than basic research orientation, one that extends beyond psychiatry to a considerably wider range of mental health professionals (including those in primary care who are well immersed in recognizing, diagnosing, and treating disorders of mood).