Pros: Lots, and lots of helpful information.
Cons: A bit text bookish at times.
The DSM-IV Made Easy: The Clinician's Guide to Diagnosis (Hardcover) by James Morrison is an excellent book that Ive owned for approximately one year. This five hundred and ninety four (594) page book is authored by Dr. Morrison who has authored several boos for mental health clinicians and is current a professor at Oregon Health and Science University. I purchased this as a supplement to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV TR) as sort of a companion book because of vignettes. The DSM-IV Made Easy: The Clinician's Guide to Diagnosis is an easy to read back drop to the DSM-IV-TR elaborating on the comprehensive categorizations documented and developed by psychiatry for the purpose of delineating major health disorders. The book not only supports the DSM-IV-TR but provides the definition of mental disorders. In the introduction on page eight (8) it is defined:
"A mental disorder is a clinically important collection of symptoms (these can be behavioral or psychological) that causes an individual distress, disability, or the increased risk of suffering pain, disability, death, or the loss of freedom."
After this definition the introduction elaborate a little more explaining that syndrome or pattern must not be merely an expectable and culturally sanctioned response to a particular event, for example, the death of a love one. The books vignettes which are explained on page nine (9) are excellent in helping the reader categorize different mental disorders discussed in the book. For example when looking at the criteria for Dementia of the Alzheimers Type, the author uses a vignette sharing 74 year old Sarah Neals story. The vignette described how Sarahs symptoms fulfilled the criteria for dementia. After the vignette the author provides an informative evaluation on page thirty-four (34) and then shares how the diagnosis should read: Axis 1 294.10 Dementia of the Alzheimers Type, With Late Onset, Without Behavioral Disturbance.
Fortunately, this pattern is followed though out the books eighteen (18) chapters with each diagnosis in which reader is given comprehensive methods for understanding the many and varied mental health disorders. The book also helps mental health practitioners understand some of the fundamental of various classifications providing a working knowledge of the categories and descriptions that are easy to understand. I cant really pick a favorite chapter, but I did find chapter 4, Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders particularly interesting in its description of delusions on page one hundred and thirty seven (137) and hallucinations on the following page. This information is extremely helpful in evaluating clients who present with delusions or hallucinations.
This is not the type of book you can read once. You will need to review, study, review, and study the content to truly get a handle on the diagnosis described. More than likely, you will be using this book a great deal in your work or practice, so purchasing the hardback is probably your best bet. One of the many things I like about this book is the fact that it identifies the three major areas that a clinician needs to about the DSM-IV-TR. The book not only provides information on the sixteen major or global DSM-IV-TR classifications, but also provides information on the sub-classifications that are found specific to a particular disorder. The major classifications noted in this book are: 1) Disorders Diagnosed in Infancy, Childhood or Adolescence; Delirium Dementia and Amnesic and other Cognitive Disorders; 3) mental Disorders Due to a General Medical Condition Not Elsewhere Classified; Substance Abuse Related Disorders; 5) Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders; 6) Mood Disorders; 7) Anxiety Disorders; 8) Somatoform Disorders; 9) Factitious Disorders; 10) Dissociated Disorders; 11) Sexual and Gender Identify Disorders; 12) Eating Disorders; 13) Sleep Disorders; 14) Impulse-Control Disorders Not Elsewhere Classified; 15) Personality Disorders; and, 16) Other Conditions that May be a Focus of Clinical Attention.
The book also contains information on the DSM-IV-TRs mutiaxial system which involves several axes, each of which takes in different clinical information that is useful in planning treatment, and anticipating an outcome. The reader should acquire information for each of the axes and hopefully be able to communicate this information better and gain a better overall understanding of the complexities of various clinical situations they may or may not encounter in their practice or work. The book does an excellent job describing the multiaxial system, which consist of five Axes. Axis I is dedicated to Clinical Disorders except for Personality Disorders and Mental Retardation. Axis II is dedicated to the reporting of Personality Disorders and Mental Retardation, with excellent descriptions of Axis III, which is used for reporting current medical conditions, IV which is used for reporting psychosocial and environmental problems, and the final Axis is Axis V, used for reporting clinical judgment regarding an individuals overall level of social functioning.
If you are a mental health clinician, student or perhaps practice with mental health patients you'll find this book to be a great resource. This book like other readings dealing with mental health could be harmful is misused. Like a jail house lawyer attempting to give advice to the local inmates in a holding cell. This book will not appeal to every, and will not make you a psychotherapist, psychologist, clinical social worker or psychiatrist overnight, youll have to go to school and obtain the appropriate degrees and credentials. Fortunately Dr. Morrison has the right touch explaining this complex material. Morrison writing style is right on target for students or mental health practitioners who want a better understanding of the DSM-IV.
What the DSM-IV Made Easy, The Clinicians Guide to Diagnosis does well is provide the reader with step-by-step user friendly information that is extremely helpful in understanding and having a good handle on the information contained in the DSM-IV-TR. In the end you get excellent scenarios that not only pull from the major taxonomies but the numerous tips will assist in your studies making this book an excellent desk reference when needed.
Hardcover: 594 pages
Publisher: The Guilford Press; New York/London
1995; revisions, 2001, 2006
Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 7.9 x 1.