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Book Forum: Textbooks and Handbooks   |    
Handbook of Medical Psychiatry, 2nd ed.
PEDRO RUIZ, M.D.
Am J Psychiatry 2005;162:1236-1236. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.162.6.1236
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By David P. Moore, M.D., and James W. Jefferson, M.D. New York, Elsevier/Mosby, 2004, 544 pp., $59.95 (paper).

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The first edition of this handbook was published in 1996. It was the intention of the authors to publish a comprehensive review of the field of psychiatry based on a well-established medical model. In this second edition, they kept the original emphasis on a strong clinical orientation based on the medical model and also updated the content of the handbook to reflect what has taken place in the field of psychiatry in the last decade.

As in the first edition, the second edition covers all psychiatric, neurological, and medical conditions that cause disturbances, dysfunctions, or impairments in thought, feeling, or behavior. As in the previous edition, the authors nicely address, in a succinct and practical way, the clinically relevant characteristics of all important disorders and conditions related to psychiatric illness.

The first section of the book focuses on general symptoms, in a very comprehensive and clearly written style. It includes appearance, disturbance of activity, abnormal movements, relationship to the examiner, disturbances of mood and affect, delusions, hallucinations, disturbances of thought, and other relevant symptoms such as obsessions and compulsions, as well as phobias. Sections 2–28 address all disorders and conditions that have an impact on the field of psychiatry. Each of these sections has a brief bibliography, which can be used for additional suggested reading. In total, 270 brief chapters cover these clinical disorders/conditions.

Section 29 addresses the most relevant psychopharmacological agents currently used in the field of psychiatry. This section has 54 brief and well-conceptualized chapters. Again, a brief bibliography appears at the end of each chapter, which complements the topic covered.

The final section of the handbook (number 30) comprises one chapter on the use of ECT. This chapter covers the most important aspects of this treatment modality; that is, the patient preparation for the treatment, the technique used, the course of treatment, the relative contraindications, the adverse effects from this treatment, and the management of the posttreatment period. Again, a very extensive bibliography is provided.

The excellent index makes it easy for the reader to focus on specific areas of the handbook to which one might want to pay additional attention. In this edition of the handbook, the authors tried to keep pace with the new knowledge that has been advanced from the research efforts of the last decade by adding 26 new chapters.

In summary, I found this second edition of the handbook very practical, clinically oriented, and up-to-date. I think that this edition will be much welcomed by the busy psychiatric and mental health practitioner, as well as by medical students, psychiatric residents, and primary care physicians.

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