A plainly written guide to psychiatric conditions, intended for nonspecialist readers.
This medical book, by members of the American Psychiatric Association, is a companion to the latest edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the standard reference for diagnosis and treatment used by psychologists and psychiatrists. It follows the DSM-5’s structure but presents its material in a language and format that can be easily followed by readers with no psychiatric training, such as concerned friends or parents who may want to understand their choices after a child’s diagnosis. The book offers an explanation of each condition, along with symptoms, prognoses, and possible treatment plans. In many cases, the description is accompanied by a short case study of someone who’s undergone treatment for the disorder, which gives a human face to a generic list of symptoms and serves as an example for possible management. Each section concludes with a bulleted list of the key points addressed in each chapter, and many include further resources, such as a chart that compares the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease with the normal effects of aging. Overall, the book maintains a serious but not catastrophic tone, from the opening line of the preface (“More than 450 million people worldwide, and over 61 million adults and over 7 million children in the United States, live with a mental disorder at some point in their lives”) to appendices that detail common forms of psychotherapy and medications. It acknowledges the impact of these disorders and the need for appropriate treatment while also reminding readers that such conditions are common and that options are available. An annotated list of organizations that offer support, education, and guidance to different types of patients and their friends and families further emphasizes this theme.
A well-organized, nontechnical overview of recognized psychiatric disorders and methods for treating them.