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on October 6, 2000
The Quick Reference to the Diagnostic Criteria from DSM-IV-TR (aka DSM Jr.) is a welcome addition to the office, briefcase, or backpack of any mental health professional or student. The text presents only the most crucial information needed to make a diagnosis. Background information on each disorder, such as prevalence, course of the disorder, and pointers on differential diagnosis are eliminated in favor of being concise. Unfortunately, Appendix A, which contains the Decision Trees for Differential Diagnosis, is noticeably absent from the DSM Jr. Personally, I like having the assistance of a visual aid in the form of a forced choice flow chart when making a tough choice between similar diagnoses. The decision not to include Appendix A in the DSM Jr. is the sole reason why I can only give this text only 4 out of 5 stars. The process of editing the hefty 943 pages of the DSM-IV-TR and then transforming it into a svelte 370 page Quick Reference book is a tough job. However, the information contained in the often forgotten Appendix section can sometimes be more useful than some of the information found in the main body of the text.
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on September 29, 2000
The Desk Reference to the DSM-IV TR is a small and portable reference book that is easy to carry and easy to comprehend. It is wonderful for psychology externs, interns, & residents who need quick access to DSM diagnoses. It was especially useful to me during the intake interviewing process to help with differential diagnosis. It provides concrete diagnostic criteria for each of the major mental disorders and incorporates the recent text revisions made by the American Psychiatric Association. Highly recommended to anyone in the psychiatric field!
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on December 28, 2001
There aren't enough differences in the TR version to buy it if you already have a DSM-IV. Of course, if you're getting your first copy it is best to start out with the most recent edition.
The main thing that I would like to encourage you to do is to buy this desk reference edition as opposed to the full size edition. Most anything you would need to understand and to make appropriate diagnoses is included in the desk reference. It comes in a size that you can carry around with you wherever you go and is therefore not burdensome like the "full size" DSM. My desk reference has been a "life-saver" many times.
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on August 4, 2002
I am a psychiatry resident and I find this book extremely useful. Its small, easy to carry around, very user friendly and helps for quick reference in all spheres. Much much better than carrying the larger DSM IV around. I highly recommend this for all mental health professionals.
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on March 11, 2006
As the DSM revisions have grown in size since DSM-III, a quick reference for the larger, complete DSM-IV-TR is essential, and this book is good. However, the lack of a decision tree for differential diagnosis is problematic, given the similarity of many diagnostic categories (e.g. bipolar II and ADHD). If you are a professional using DSM, then this book works okay, given that many professionals quickly refer to the criteria for a difficult dx issue, or to cover certain criteria for insurance or ducumentation purposes. It is important to remember that DSM is so big because of a need for specific criteria to increase diagnostic reliability. A small reference like this helps with this "Chinese menu" approach ((i.e. a list of criteria defining each disorder) because it makes the lists easier to access. It goes without saying that spiral bound format is essential. Of course, a list of criteria doesn't equal a diagnosis in practice, so I recommend that anyone who seriously uses the DSM to get the Diagnostic Interview Schedule, or a similar resource, as an aid to making a reliable diagnosis via structured interview. I'd like to see an attempt at a combined DSM-IV-TR /DIS--which would give both the criteria, and structured interview methods to assess them.
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VINE VOICEon October 11, 2003
The argument "diagnosis/no diagnosis" should be over with by now. A patient may be treated in a community mental health setting, then in a hospital, then elsewhere. The referring clinician needs to provide information about her difficulty, and diagnosis is a concise and helpful way of doing this. Her care will be paid for by an insurance company or a government entity, which usually (whether we like it or not) will ask for a number to ensure they have a disease that "meets criteria." Careful training in diagnosis is needed to ensure health professionals don't have a cavalier attitude towards the diagnoses they provide; but simply sticking to the criteria outlined in the IV-TR helps ward off such lack of carefulness. It also helps make it more likely that Dr. X in San Francisco is talking about the same thing when he says "schizophrenia, paranoid type" as Dr. Y in Virginia Beach when he says "schizophrenia, paranoid type." Such reliability is essential in our continued research on mental illness and substance abuse.
That said, a clinician in a hospital or clinic setting who needs to understand or determine diagnosis can benefit from both the hardcover versions of the DSM-IV-TR and this spiral bound version. I myself have the hardbound DSM-IV, and instead of purchasing both TR's, simply purchased the spiral-bound DSM-IV-TR. The spiral bound is essential because, with so much use, a glued binding will quickly fall apart. As a clinician currently assigned to a county hospital screening site, I carry my little spiral book everywhere. It fits easily into my purse, but it's not so small that the print is hard to read. There is even a pull-out of all the diagnoses at the beginning that's handy to glance at or tack on the wall.
You will need the hardbound because of the additional information, but if your work requires you to do evaluations in a variety of settings, or even if you know you will be referring to it often and don't want to be bothered getting the big one off the shelf, definitely purchase this one as well.
Kelly L. Norman, ACSW
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on April 28, 2005
This is the exact same book as the "Quick Reference to the Diagnostic Criteria from DSM-IV-TR". For some reason the APA has given the spiral edition of the book a different name than the paperback edition.
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on July 27, 2005
I'll be the first to admit, learning the criteria for all the diagnoses is difficult if not close to impossible. While the DSM is very helpful with all of its background, cultural, and statistics loaded information, it isn't essential for those already in the field. You already had to learn the basics before you completed your degree or licensure program. Now the concern is time and effort. This little guide is easy to navigate through, light-weight, and the spiral bound makes it easy to turn pages to compare between a couple of different classifications (be it BiPolar I Disorder or BiPolar II Disorder). I use this guide everyday at work - and leave that big book sitting on the shelf.
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on January 30, 2003
This reference guide is a great addition to any medical professional's or student's library. It is very helpful in quickly gathering information regarding a particular mental disorder or for symptons based look-ups.
In life we meet thousands of people with their own manners, quirks and habits. It is fascinating to see how some of them fall into a pre-defined psychological category based on their outwardly symptoms. Using the DSM Desk Ref. you can quickly get information regarding a particular disorder.
Please keep in mind that this guide is simply that, A Guide. The psychiatric community is still doing research continualy on the world around us and making changes to their perspectives as well as ours. The DSM only accounts for the information gathered at the time of publication and is soley based on the research of those that had a hand in its finished product.
For example, when the DSM-I came out in 1952 is listed only 66 disorders. The DSM-IV, which was published in 1994, lists around 400 disorders and allows for better usuage with decision trees and the like. I for one am very curious to see how the DSM-V differs from today's views...
Even with these constraining factors, it is the de facto standard in the Psychiatric community and well worth having by your side.
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on March 11, 2003
This book is the less intimidating version of the complete "DSM-IV-TR". It's a no nonsense summary of the salient points of the complete text, and in that sense it's somewhat more practical and quicker to use. Professionals in the field of psychiatry may want to keep it handy. Also, for those outside the field of psychiatry, it could also be considered as an alternative to buying the complete "DSM-IV-TR", though I would suggest the complete book for those most interested in getting a thorough look at the bible of psychiatry. Avery Z. Conner, author of "Fevers of the Mind".
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