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Book Reviews   |    
Reviewed by Kelly Askins, M.D.
Psychiatric Services 2002; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.53.12.1641-a
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by Max Birchwood and Chris Jackson; New York, Psychology Press, 2001, 168 pages, $24.95 softcover

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This short volume on schizophrenia is part of a clinical psychology series. The book has several shortcomings but, overall, is probably valuable to its intended audience. Because the book does not have a preface or an introduction, I had some difficulty deciding on its intended audience, given the proclamation on the back cover that the book is essential reading for everyone from undergraduates to professionals in fields from psychology to psychiatric nursing to psychiatry. I eventually decided that the book is probably intended for students in upper-level or undergraduate programs in psychology.

Topics covered in Schizophrenia include the experience of schizophrenia, epidemiology and course of illness, biological aspects, psychological aspects, drug treatments, and psychosocial interventions. The chapter on drug treatments is shorter than I would have liked, and I expected to see a more thorough discussion of neuropsychological findings. The most complete sections are those in the authors' areas of interest—cognitive-behavioral treatment and early intervention in schizophrenia.

Birchwood and Jackson devote many pages to arguments that I consider to be of historical importance only, such as the question of whether schizophrenia exists at all, whether there is a biological basis for schizophrenia, and the history of the schizophrenogenic family. The exploration of these issues is important for students who need to know the methods for evaluating hypotheses, but the amount of space allotted to these topics makes the book uneven in its presentation.

Is this book of use to me now that I have it? Yes. I was reminded while reading this book that I have beliefs and hypotheses about schizophrenia, its course of illness, and its treatment that are sometimes based on clinical research and sometimes not. The book's ample references will be a good starting point for exploring the primary research firsthand. I will also find Schizophrenia useful in teaching residents in psychiatry about treatments for schizophrenia other than medications.

Dr. Askins is affiliated with Memphis Mental Health Institute.




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