Children bring both delight and problems to their caretakers. Their medical problems may be somatic, psychological, or both. Physicians concerned with child and adolescent populations share the goal of fostering optimum development and functioning. With that end in mind, Child and Adolescent Mental Health, focusing on psychological matters, is highly recommended for pediatricians, pediatric residents, and other primary care physicians and practitioners involved in the care of children. It is a very fine, concise, and valuable handbook and reference. The book's editors (Drs Kaye and Munson, training directors in child and adolescent psychiatry at the State University of New York, Buffalo, and the University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, respectively; and Dr Montgomery, assistant professor of pediatrics at the State University of New York, Buffalo, and the Children's Hospital of Buffalo) straddle the worlds of pediatrics and child and adolescent psychiatry. The editors predict that pediatricians will spend increasingly less time caring for acute somatic illness, and they assert that pediatric practitioners are in the process of shifting their work efforts to the prevention and treatment of psychological and behavioral disorders. Although that declaration probably impacts distinct individual practitioners in highly variable ways, the important role of pediatricians in the maintenance of child and adolescent mental health deserves emphasis; pediatricians and practitioners of family medicine are likely the first physicians to encounter psychiatric problems in children. By focusing on such factors as the systems responsible for children's welfare, optimal physician-patient interactions, and the diverse varieties of child psychopathology, the book's chapters are designed to assist pediatricians and related personnel in the evaluation and management of their patients' mental health problems. The editors asked experts located throughout the country to write chapters in their specific areas of expertise. Authors representing the fields of child and adolescent psychiatry and psychology, pediatrics, and adolescent medicine predominate. Sparingly, inputs from family medicine, social work, and law are also used. The handbook's editing is done well, uniformly resulting in chapters of good quality and format that use colloquial and easy-to-read language. In addition, references to relevant key articles and Web sites are listed at the end of each chapter. The book is divided into 2 sections. Section 1, comprising 9 chapters, deals with the everyday aspects of the lives of children and their families, and it serves as the foundation and knowledge base for section 2. The first section begins with an orientation to the book's organization, and the ensuing chapters are devoted to the pediatric physician-patient relationship, parent guidance and consultation, descriptions of diverse family structures, and the management and assessment of child mental health problems in the pediatrician's office. The last chapters of section 1 outline mental health, school, social service, and juvenile legal systems. By focusing on these systems' separate and unique forms of operation, the authors indicate to practitioners how best to use the information contained in the relevant chapter to skillfully advocate for their patients. The second section of the book is the clinical portion. Psychiatric and medical knowledge is combined to diagnose psychiatric problems, estimate their magnitude, and establish the most useful interventions. Fourteen chapters explore diagnosable psychiatric disorders and problems commonly encountered among children and adolescents, including sexual and aggressive behaviors, school refusal, stress and trauma, substance abuse, suicidal behaviors, and eating, sleep, attention deficit, anxiety, mood, learning, pervasive developmental, and somatoform disorders. These chapters can be read independently of one another; the reader can focus on a subject of immediate interest while leaving the rest for another time. All of the second section's chapters follow a similar course and format, reflecting solid editing of the publication. Initially, diagnostic criteria are addressed, including descriptors, definitions, and epidemiological factors. Helpful key questions, to be addressed with children and their parents, are then posed in the attempt to aid evaluation of the problems. Descriptions of appropriate triage assessment and treatment planning follow. Subsequently, the progressive unfolding of the stages of watching, intervening, and referring are discussed, with each phase further subdivided into the categories of psychoeducation, advocacy, psychotherapy, medication, laboratory and other evaluations, and mentoring. The authors discuss recommended pharmacotherapeutic approaches in detail, addressing both their positive effects and potential negative responses. Suggested readings at the end of each chapter include references from professional journals as well as a general reference list comprising useful pertinent lay publications intended for practitioners and parents. Child and Adolescent Mental Health is one book in a series intended by the publisher as core handbooks in pediatrics. In light of the clear and concise descriptions, cohesive and user-friendly approach, and advice for dealing with frequently encountered problems, the volume should be useful not only to pediatricians but also to pediatric residents, medical students rotating through pediatrics, and health care personnel employed in pediatric offices. In sum, this book is a quick and handy but also thorough and practical reference geared to the interests of all practitioners concerned with the mental as well as the physical health of youngsters. Correspondence: Dr Bekhit, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, UMDNJ–New Jersey Medical School, Behavioral Health Sciences Building, Room E1421, 185 S Orange Ave, Newark, NJ 07103 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine – American Medical Association
Published: Aug 1, 2004