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Clinical Manual of Geriatric Psychiatry

edited by Mugdha E. Thakur, MD; Dan G. Blazer, MD, PhD; and David C. Steffens, MD, MHS. American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc, Arlington, VA, 2013, 314 pages, $75.00 (paper).

Clinical Manual of Geriatric Psychiatry, by Thakur, Blazer, and Steffens, is an outstanding 298-page reference covering the essential elements of geriatric psychiatry. This volume is ideal for busy clinicians and trainees and would benefit the nonmedical reader who desires a brief dive into a selected clinical area. It does not replace the American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Geriatric Psychiatry, which remains one of the standards of excellence in this area; however, it does complement this textbook as a quick-reference guide that is both readable and user friendly.

The impressive collection of authors covers the major areas of geriatric psychiatry in a concise and well-written manner. Each of the 11 chapters can be read in 1 sitting. One of the highlights is the extensive use of tables, which are arranged to provide a quick reference of essential information within each chapter. For example, 2 tables were exceptional in the ease of use and conveyance of information: “Pharmacokinetic Properties of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors and Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors” (p 24) and “Newer Antidepressants’ Inhibition of Cytochrome P450 (CYP) and Potential for Causing Clinically Significant Drug-Drug Interactions” (p 25). After reading the book, it would be reasonable for a clinician to refer to the tables for a quick review and guidance during patient care. The list of tables and figures at the beginning of the book makes this very easy.

While all of the chapters are recommended for reading, the one that clearly stands out is “Psychopharmacology,” by Mulsant and Pollock. This 65-page chapter (which includes 29 pages of detailed references) provides a quick but in-depth review of the important pharmacology of antidepressants, psychostimulants, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, anxiolytics, and cognitive enhancers. Each of the 7 tables is well constructed, allowing a review of the material. While the reference section may be considered extensive, it is an important resource to seek additional information if desired. The chapter is well constructed, using paragraphs to provide a discussion of central themes.

A brief but interesting chapter, “Clinical Psychiatry in the Nursing Home,” by Streim, provides the essential information for nursing home care of the geriatric patient with mental health issues. The section on prevalence covers the 2 major areas of cognitive and mood disorders. The author appropriately discusses the nonpharmacologic management of behavioral disturbances, the use of psychotherapy, and the use of pharmacotherapy. Finally, this chapter briefly covers federal regulations and psychiatric care in the nursing home.

Clinical Manual of Geriatric Psychiatry is an outstanding book that provides the reader with an excellent concise review of geriatric psychiatry. It is well written by experts in the field and is highly recommended, as it will provide the busy clinician with a quick and usable reference.

Frank W. Brown, MD

Author affiliation: Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia.

Potential conflicts of interest: None reported.