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Book Forum: Textbooks   |    
Handbook of Mental Health Economics and Health Policy, vol 1: Schizophrenia
MARK F. LENZENWEGER, PH.D.
Am J Psychiatry 1998;155:1456a-1457.
View Author and Article Information
Cambridge, Mass.

edited by M. Moscarelli, A. Rupp, N. Sartorius. New York, John Wiley & Sons, 1996, 546 pp., $190.00

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This volume focuses on the topics that are central to a rigorous economic analysis of schizophrenia. It is well-known to many that schizophrenia is, perhaps, the most devastating form of psychopathology known to humankind. The costs attached to the direct treatment of those affected, the indirect and aftercare costs, and the cost in lost earnings related to the illness are staggering. This volume represents an exceptionally well-organized and focused approach to the economic issues facing psychiatrists, psychologists, public health officials, and economists whose efforts are directed at understanding both the economic costs of schizophrenia and the illness itself.

The volume is organized into 10 parts, beginning with a multidimensional discussion of psychiatric evaluation issues, through methodological and treatment management options, to issues of the economics of drug treatment, financing, and research, with a thorough discussion of mental health policies and economics. In short, the editors have left no stone unturned in their selection of topics for this volume, which contains 47 chapters. An especially appealing aspect of the book is its international perspective; a substantial number of chapters are written by workers from nations other than the United States.

Several sections of the book stand out as particularly well written and informative. For example, the section on therapeutic management options covers virtually every aspect of treatment one might imagine and ties those aspects to carefully reasoned economic considerations. The section on service utilization, as well, emerges as a particularly strong selection of chapters. This set of papers covers such topics as the measurement of use and delivery of services, the effectiveness of health care information systems, and the knotty issues related to the conceptualization and assessment of the costs of schizophrenia. Finally, the section on mental health policies and economics offers up eight chapters that describe innovative and economically informed policies and programs related not only to schizophrenia but also to mental health in general.

This volume of the Handbook of Mental Health Economics and Health Policy is indeed impressive; it should serve as a standard, consolidated reference for any person with a strong interest in the economic analysis of schizophrenia.

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