edited by Eric J.L. Griez, Carlo Faravelli, David J. Nutt, and Joseph Zohar. Chichester, U.K., John Wiley & Sons, 2005, 562 pp, $198.00.
This edited volume expands on the core mood disorder material of the European Program in Affective Neuroscience (formerly The European Certificate in Anxiety and Mood Disorders), an educational forum provided since the late 1980s. Apart from the occasional idiosyncratic European view and reference to ICD-10, North American classificatory and research models underpin the reviews. In the introduction, van Praag pre-empts the reader’s concern as to whether the world needs another book on mood disorders, arguing for the affirmative on the basis that a domain that expands so rapidly requires regular reviews and updates. The high quality and depth of many of the 18 reviews provide equally positive responses.
Highlights? Jacobi and five colleagues provide an extraordinarily comprehensive and up-to-date review of the epidemiology of mood disorders (proof that a sole author is not always necessary and sufficient for a book chapter). Serretti’s overview of genetics is comprehensive and lucid, as is Malizia’s succinct summary of the current state of brain imaging. De Leo and Spathonis give an elegant overview of suicidal behavior (well extracted from a field where there is much warmth but less light). Cowen offers a masterly synthesis of the neurobiology of depression, while West and colleagues neatly get to grips with the often ineffable inflammatory stress hypothesis for depression.
Turning to treatment, Hale’s introductory chapter offers a consummate overview of the physical treatments and manualized psychotherapies (as monotherapy and combination therapies), interweaved with tidbits (such as noting the intriguing hypothesis that the short form of the serotonin transporter may confer risk to antidepressant-induced mood switching). Schlaepfer and Kosel cover transcranial magnetic stimulation with caution before giving considerable space (more than might be expected at this stage of its development) to vagal nerve stimulation. Their suggestion that it might “become a key treatment in depression” is surprising in light of its experimental nature and the authors’ quoted side-effect prevalence data (e.g., voice alteration in 66%, pain in 28%, dyspnea in 25%, headache in 24%, vomiting in 18%, paresthesia in 18%, and infection in 12%) in one epilepsy study.
The section entitled Research Issues and Debates provides a stimulating review by Cosci and Faravelli, who look at the history of clinical trials in psychiatry, consider how trials may be implemented, and offer some caution about their limitations in extrapolation to the world of clinical effectiveness.
In essence, the book targets an international audience and will be useful to those looking for overviews of key topics in mood disorders, albeit with a distinct leaning toward the depressive (as opposed to bipolar) disorders.