I have admired David Moore's textbooks since the 1996 release of Handbook of Medical Psychiatry. He has a refreshingly logical approach to complex areas of psychiatry and this latest work is surely his most ambitious to date. It comprises 731 pages of detailed, often painstaking descriptions of central nervous system and systemic conditions that cause psychiatric complications. The book borrows some useful sections from his previous work and as a result is closer to a textbook of organic psychiatry than pure neuropsychiatry; but that is no criticism. Included are 300 pages (in many ways a short book in itself) on diagnostic assessment and symptoms, signs and syndromes.
Looking at the book in more detail, the coverage is certainly comprehensive with often overlooked areas such childhood-onset conditions, sleep disorders, drug-induced disorders and substance use disorders conveyed with generous detail. All told there are almost 200 specific medical conditions discussed, each with a uniform approach; clinical features, course, aetiology and treatment. This makes the book ideal as a reference source. For me it is the discussions on treatment that are the weakest but this is in no small part due to the difficulties of handling rapidly changing information. These sections would benefit from an attempt to convey levels of evidence underlying recommendations.
It is notable that the book is sparsely illustrated but this is compensated, to some extent, by useful tables and excellent referencing. Surprisingly, for a European audience, is the inclusion of primary psychiatric disorders including premenstrual dysphoric disorder and post-partum blues, which I would consider some way away from mainstream neuropsychiatry. This text goes beyond its aim to `equip the reader to diagnose and treat the multitude of neuropsychiatric disorders they encounter' and could be considered as a replacement for a mainstream psychiatric textbook or as a competitor to Lishman's Organic Psychiatry. Indeed, it would be very interesting to ask whether, if a typical psychiatrist's core knowledge were based on this book, patients would be better or worse off. Whatever the answer, this textbook is definitely one to recommend and not just for psychiatrists but also neurologists and colleagues working in neuro-rehabilitation. It is always nice to find a quality textbook that reminds us how much psychiatry overlaps with medicine and appeals to us not to forget our medical roots!
- © 2009 Royal College of Psychiatrists