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Books, Journals, New Media
May 5, 2004

Biological Psychiatry

JAMA. 2004;291(17):2132-2133. doi:10.1001/jama.291.17.2132-b

Textbook of Biological Psychiatry is an ambitious volume, covering a broad swath of important recent research, but its title may be a bit misleading to prospective readers. It is not a comprehensive reference book systematically covering the entire field, nor does it aspire to be.

Looking at the book's coverage of specific psychiatric disorders, for instance, we find that some are presented in considerable detail, while others are almost absent. For example, Snider and Swedo's chapter on obsessive-compulsive disorder is an excellent straightforward review that proceeds systematically through discussions of epidemiology, clinical features, comorbidity, biological findings, and treatment, concluding with about 150 references extending into 2002. On the other hand, eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia are hardly mentioned, nor is there much discussion of such basic topics as hunger, satiety, or obesity. Similarly, the vast area of substance abuse and dependence, though certainly a field of intensive clinical and preclinical investigation in biological psychiatry, is largely neglected. In short, most clinicians and many researchers looking for a basic, comprehensive reference book will be more satisfied with standard texts such as Kaplan and Sadock's Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry, Tasman and colleagues' Psychiatry, or Gabbard's Treatment of Psychiatric Disorders.

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