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Book Review

Clinical Manual of Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment

Pieter Joost van Wattum, MD, MA

Published: December 15, 2011

Clinical Manual of Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment

edited by Yifrah Kaminer, MD, MBA, and Ken C. Winters, PhD. American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc, Washington, DC, 2011, 490 pages, $65.00 (paper).

Few resources are available for clinicians encountering or treating adolescents who abuse substances. The Clinical Manual of Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment tries to fill this gap. From the start, it is clear that the editors tried to make this an evidence-based, comprehensive, up-to-date, but still concise manual. The content of the book is set up in a manner that is practical and logical from a clinical perspective, starting with prevalence and clinical course, prevention, screening, placement, and treatment planning and subsequent chapters focusing on substance use treatment modalities, treatment of substance use and comorbid conditions, and treatment in the juvenile justice setting. Each chapter contains a list of references and useful Web sites and suggestions for further reading and ends with a set of key clinical concepts. The manual concludes with a series of appendices, listing and describing screening instruments, clinical and parent information resources, and self-help Web sites.

Of course the chapters on treatment are what most clinicians will be looking for, and this is where the authors really hit the mark. The pharmacotherapy chapter gives up-to-date information on available treatment options, including their strengths and weaknesses. The chapters on behavioral and psychotherapeutic interventions are particularly useful: each technique is described in a concise but easy to understand manner, and the added clinical vignettes make the reader feel that he or she can confidently master and practice these techniques, even without formal training. When you start reading any chapter in this book, you develop your own, healthy addiction: it makes you want to continue reading and learn more.

So are there any shortcomings? Missing in the chapter on club drug, prescription drug, and over-the-counter medication abuse is a section on "bath salts." These are designer synthetic drugs often containing amphetamine-like substances such as mephedrone or methylenedioxypyrovalerone and available online and at gas stations under names such as Vanilla Sky, Zoom Two, Cloud Nine, or Ivory Wave. They have become increasingly popular in the past 1 to 2 years (which may explain the absence in the chapter) and can cause chest pain, high blood pressure, difficult-to-treat severe aggressive behaviors, and—lingering—psychotic symptoms.1 Many emergency rooms have seen a surge in patients presenting with symptoms related to these substances. Fortunately, their risks have been recognized quickly and widely and have already led to a ban on these drugs in 28 states.1 A next edition will no doubt address these dangerous drugs.

Overall, this book is the most up-to-date, practical, and user-friendly manual available for the treatment of substance-abusing adolescents. Anyone working with or interested in this difficult-to-treat population will greatly benefit from having this manual on his or her desk, be it for treatment, teaching, or patient and family education purposes.


1. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Emerging and dangerous products—message from the director on "bath salts." Accessibility verified November 4, 2011.

Pieter Joost van Wattum, MD, MA

Author affiliation: Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut. Potential conflicts of interest: None reported.

Volume: 72

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