From The CriticsReviewer: Heather Huang, MD(University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health)
Description: This pocket handbook on psychiatric emergencies covers purely psychiatric illness as well as issues that arise in the care of psychiatric patients (e.g. medical, obstetric, psychosocial, etc.).
Purpose: The intent is to provide readers with a "practical, portable, pocketbook guide to dealing with emergencies in psychiatry." The book aims to address issues such as safety, generating a differential diagnosis, and basic management.
Audience: Resident physicians in training are the intended audience, although any healthcare providers who care for psychiatric patients (e.g. consult psychiatrists, ER and EMS personnel, anyone in an emergency room setting) would also find this useful. The authors are consultant psychiatrists (general and forensic psychiatry).
Features: The chapters are well organized and marked by a symbol which indicates the relative urgency of a particular situation. The book comes with two cloth bookmarks that allow readers to easily mark pages. Chapters use a mix of descriptive prose, bullet points, and figures. The book comprehensively lists the many types of emergencies that may arise in the care of psychiatric patients, discusses the risk factors and demographics related to particular emergencies, and differential diagnosis. It does not, however, elaborate much beyond the simple, straightforward management of these emergencies.
Assessment: This is a useful read. Because its emphasis is not specifically on management, I would not pull it out to determine how to psychotropically manage the acute agitated patient or the withdrawing alcoholic. However, it does concisely deliver a great deal of information that one could read at a leisurely pace to learn more about psychiatric emergencies.