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on June 2, 2003
Like other reviewers, I agree that if you own DSM-IV (burgundy cover), there is absolutely no reason for you to purchase the DSM-IV-TR (silver cover). Might as well wait for DSM-V (won't that be a treat). If you are not a mental health professional or graduate student, I can't imagine why you would want to own this book. It is essentially a compilation of symptom and behavior checklists that help clinicians make reliable diagnoses of mental disorders.
I would recommend strongly (for both professionals, students, and the lay public), DSM-IV Made Easy by James Morrison. Morrison's book makes the DSM come alive. He illustrates technical points well, and provides interesting case examples that make you think of people when you read the diagnosis, not just symptoms.
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on January 21, 2004
I am a psychologist and I have been practicing for about 30 years. I remember the little DSM II. It was the size of the companion small book that can be purchased. The DSM has a history. There was actually a time when psychologists and psychiatrists were considering 2 different texts. Reading the reviewers was interesting as this is my tool to differentiate what my clients present. It is continually being improved and that is the focus of TR. There are subtle differences and clarifications. This book is the basis of identifying the specifics of what we are working with. The DSM IV was a collaborative effort to acurately represent international, cultural, and biological differences. My clients don't care but some don't know that an adjustment disorder of mood is different than dysthymia or depression which is again different from Bi Polar disorder. I probably wouldn't read it if I didn't do this kind of work. Yet it may be important to people with diagnosed illness. It can assist the capable reader in being an informed consumer.
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on December 23, 2001
The text-revised version is virtually identical to the 1994 version of the DSM-IV and not worth buying if you have the 1994 version. Along with the DSM-IV, the DSM-IV Text Revised version is, however, an informative book that provides good introductory information, especially in the "Diagnostic Features" section, about a wide variety of mental disorders. A problem of the manual, in my opinion, is its use of a categorical classification system while ignoring the dimensional nature of psychological phenomena.
Lee J. Markowitz, Department of Psychology, University of Waterloo (Ontario, Canada)
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on August 28, 2001
Imagine for a moment that someone tattoo's a single word upon your forehead. You walk around and this is what people see. They sterotype you based on that single word. All that they think you are or ever will be is contained in that word. How would that affect you? The DMS-IV-TR and previous editions, are the "cookbooks" of the psychiatry and psychology world. However, often they are used to simply label someone with a diagnosis that is supposed to tell you everything you need to know about this persons psychological make-up. How absurd! As a psychologist myself, I find the diagnosis useful only as a starting point in helping the patient discover what may be a part of their problem. Some people find a diagnosis helpful. They get a "Oh! So that's what's been wrong with me all these years" kind of reaction. After that, I help the person realize that they are more than their diagnosis. However, this book is written from a "medical" model. I've often found that many so called "mental disorders" are Crisis' of the Spirit and soul and have little to do with a disease modality. Tread carefully when reading this book. Note that only one diagnosis (PTSD) has any suggested cause. The book simply describes a set of behaviors that are grouped together and given a name. It doesn't suggest any cause or cure. The book is limited by this respect.
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on March 12, 2002
I'm not a psychologist, psychiatrist or even a counselor. Yes this book is huge. Yes this book is dry but so is a dictionary. As a writer I can tell you this is an amazing reference book for creating detailed descriptions of characters. When I create a character that has a specific symptom or disorder I can look it up in the book at get a very detailed description of specific conditions. This book helps me get into the mind of my characters and see them as more complete people. This is a must have for writers.
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on February 8, 2002
The DSM does not detail etiology or treatments. That is not its purpose. It does allow clinicians to use similar vocabulary and diagnostic criteria when discussing specific mental illnesses.
When I talk to another psychiatrist and say someone has schizophrenia, it helps to know we are talking about a presentation that, although it may be unique, fits general diagnostic criteria. Maybe not all of the criteria, but generally so.
I do not recommend this book to patients.
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on June 19, 2002
As a mental health clinician, I made the mistake of buying this the Text Revision of the DSM-IV on the assumption that there were some extensive changes. Don't bother. If you have the 1994 version, you're fine. This 2000 update doesn't change all that much, unless you are very, very, very picky. I'd wait around for DSM-V. (Heck, I know folks who are still swearing my DSM-III). The cost of this book for a few minor changes simply isn't justified.
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on August 30, 2000
I am pleased that postpartum psychosis has been dropped as a separate entry in the DSM IV TR. Postpartum is now correctly classified as a General Medical Condition. These changes call for the diagnostician to classify an afflicted mother by a disorder for which there is information more readily available, such as schizophrenia. In the case of a schizophrenic disorder, the mother is no more a danger to others (including the infant, I would infer) than those in the general population (p. 304). Therefore, mental health care providers have no basis to keep a mother separated from her infant any more than any normal parent. The manual is a useful tool for the afflicted to use for self-discovery, especially when there is mistrust, denial, anger, and agitation toward mental health care providers. The manual can literally put the afflicted and the provider "on the same page." It is well worth the investment in this book, a highlighter marker, and a therapy session to mark up and discuss the book.
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on January 9, 2003
I am currently in graduate school and it seems as though everyone and their grandmother hates the DSM! The reasons are legion. Suffice to say, this is "the book" that the field uses and it is the one we must become familiar with.
I don't recall reading anywhere where the authors claimed this was the perfect way. The DSM makes no such claims. Yet I feel that the compilers have answered the critics regarding how mental health impairments are to be categorized.
I plan on reading the comments made in this book regarding its compilation and its use because this is the way things are done, whether we like it or not. I guess if one feels strongly about the DSM, they should try to get a seat on the panel that authored the book.
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on February 27, 2003
The diagnostic sections remain largely unchanged. Only significant changes were to the text portion, hence the TR designation-- text revised. This is important if you are a student or in a research position. They produced this version in response to the fact that many graduate programs are using the DSM as a text book in their Pathology courses. In this regard, the new version is worthwhile and clearly justified. It also buys them a little more time in development of the DSM V. For clinical purposes, don't bother, it's not worth the money. If you are getting your first copy, or are looking for class, then you want this edition.
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