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Book Review

Clinical Manual for Treatment of Alcoholism and Addictions

Matthew A. Becker, MD

Published: February 15, 2012

Clinical Manual for Treatment of Alcoholism and Addictions

by Avram H. Mack, MD; Amy L. Harrington, MD; and Richard J. Frances, MD. American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc, Arlington, VA, 2010, 288 pages, $55.00 (paper).

Clinical Manual for Treatment of Alcoholism and Addictions is a well-organized, concise, and clearly written book that covers a vast array of topics in a tad over 250 pages. Dr Mack and coauthors have accomplished an admirable feat with their book. Specifically, this small and highly accessible paperback covers the gamut of substances of abuse, as well as behavioral addictions, such as pathological gambling and kleptomania; specific populations; and diagnostic and treatment considerations, with no need to refer to a voluminous textbook for additional details or clarification. As in other books on the topic of addiction, psychosocial interventions are quite correctly identified as the key to achieving long-lasting recovery. However, the authors also adequately cover the pharmacologic management of these chronic illnesses.

The book is organized into 14 chapters, each covering a specific area of addiction medicine. Subjects of focus include epidemiology; substances of abuse; neurobiology of addictions; definition, presentation, and diagnosis; natural histories of substance abuse; consequences of substance abuse; behavioral addictions; special populations; treatment modalities and approaches; forensics; and public health issues.

I was particularly impressed by the authors’ inclusion of behavioral addictions. Pathological gambling, for example, is not uncommonly encountered in a general adult psychiatry practice. This devastating problem ruins lives and is frequently comorbid with other psychiatric illnesses. The authors cover the treatment approaches for pathological gambling in a brief but comprehensive manner. I also found the chapter on treatment approaches extremely informative, especially the emphasis on the tailoring of treatment based on specific populations including "VIPs," health care providers, ethnic minorities, and the chronically and severely mentally ill. Each chapter ends with a brief summary of key points and references.

Clinical Manual for Treatment of Alcoholism and Addictions is a practical and informative book that is suited to a broad audience of health providers, including addiction therapists, medical students, psychiatrists (including those in training), and physicians in all fields, since addictions are encountered at all levels of practice.

Matthew A. Becker, MD

Author affiliation: University of California San Diego School of Medicine.

Potential conflicts of interest: None reported.

Volume: 73

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