I’m on my elective at the moment, which should immediately tell you two things: 1) I probably should be working harder and not writing book reviews and 2) I must have just passed 4 th year – due, in part at least, to “Textbook of Psychiatry”. Once you start a psychiatry placement, it shouldn’t take you long to realise that most psychiatry books are inadequate; and all psychiatry books in the entire library are perpetually ‘on loan’. For once, I can’t blame the publishers, or the authors of the books; it’s psychiatrists themselves! Filled to overflowing with bitterness and jealousy that they weren’t clever enough to become real doctors, psychiatrists will stop at nothing to make sure that their specialty appears to be the most complex and demanding of all (stringently denying that all psych conditions are treated by dosing the patient up to the eyeballs; reducing them all to dribbling space cadets). My tip for fourth year exams (and I did well in mine so trust me on this one) don’t revise anything common (ignore depression, delirium, Schizophrenia etc) and focus on the random, eponymous syndromes and side effects of drugs that no-one prescribes anymore. That is why these books fail and will continue to fail medical students nationwide; there’s too much emphasis on conditions that you’ll see daily in clinical work.
Rant over, back to the book. “Textbook of Psychiatry” offers a useful synopsis of the specialty and explanations are well-constructed, often accompanied by clinical examples. The section on all the CBT and other ‘waffle’ therapies is very clear and concise. Each chapter is also accompanied by the relevant sections of the WHO’s ICD-10 classification. The only things that let this book down are its occasional tendency for being verbose and a less than comprehensive collection of eponymous syndromes and symptoms.
Reviewed By: Ian Anderson (09.08.2006)
Oxford Handbook Of Psychiatry - D. Semple et al.
Lecture Notes: Psychiatry - P.Harrison, J.Geddes & M.Sharpe
Alzheimer's Disease And Memory Loss Explained - A.Burns et al.