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50 Signs of Mental IllnessA Beautiful MindA Beautiful MindA Bright Red ScreamA Casebook of Ethical Challenges in NeuropsychologyA Corner Of The UniverseA Lethal InheritanceA Mood ApartA Research Agenda for DSM-VA Slant of SunA War of NervesAbnormal Psychology in ContextADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your LifeAddiction Recovery ToolsAdvance Directives in Mental HealthAggression and Antisocial Behavior in Children and AdolescentsAl-JununAlmost a PsychopathAlterations of ConsciousnessAm I Okay?American ManiaAmerican Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical NeurosciencesAn American ObsessionAngelheadAnger, Madness, and the DaimonicAnthology of a Crazy LadyApproaching NeverlandAs Nature Made HimAsylumAttention-Deficit Hyperactivity DisorderAttention-Deficit/Hyperactivity DisorderBeing Mentally Ill: A Sociological Theory Betrayal TraumaBetrayed as BoysBetter Than ProzacBetter Than WellBeyond AppearanceBeyond ReasonBinge No MoreBiological UnhappinessBipolar 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ChildrenEmotions and LifeEmpowering People with Severe Mental IllnessEssential PsychopharmacologyEssentials of Cas AssessmentEssentials of Wais-III AssessmentEthics and Values in PsychotherapyEthics in Mental Health ResearchEthics in Psychiatric ResearchEthics, Culture, and PsychiatryEverything In Its PlaceFamily Experiences With Mental IllnessFatigue as a Window to the BrainFear of IntimacyFinding Iris ChangFinding Meaning in the Experience of DementiaFlorid StatesFolie a DeuxFor the Love of ItForensic Nursing and Multidisciplinary Care of the Mentally Disordered OffenderFountain HouseFrom Madness to Mental HealthFrom Trauma to TransformationGandhi's WayGender and Its Effects on PsychopathologyGender and Mental HealthGenes, Environment, and PsychopathologyGetting Your Life BackGracefully InsaneGrieving Mental IllnessHandbook of AttachmentHandbook of DepressionHandbook of Self and IdentityHealing the SplitHerbs for the MindHidden SelvesHigh RiskHope and DespairHow Clients Make Therapy WorkHow People ChangeHow to Become a SchizophrenicHow We Think About DementiaHughes' Outline of Modern PsychiatryHumanizing MadnessHysterical MenHystoriesI Hate You-Don't Leave MeI Never Promised You a Rose GardenI Thought I Could FlyI'm CrazyImagining RobertImpulse Control DisordersIn Others' EyesIn Two MindsInsanityIntegrated Behavioral Health CareIntegrative MedicineIntegrative Mental Health CareIntuitionJust CheckingKarl JaspersKissing DoorknobsKundalini Yoga Meditation for Complex Psychiatric DisordersLaw and the BrainLaw, Liberty, and PsychiatryLegal and Ethical Aspects of HealthcareLiberatory PsychiatryLife at the BottomLife at the Texas State Lunatic Asylum, 1857-1997Life Is Not a Game of PerfectLithium for MedeaLiving Outside Mental IllnessLiving with AnxietyLiving With SchizophreniaLiving with SchizophreniaLiving Without Depression and Manic DepressionLost in the MirrorLove's ExecutionerLoving Someone With Bipolar DisorderMad in AmericaMad TravelersMad, Bad and 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Psychiatric Press Textbook of PsychiatryThe American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook Of Child And Adolescent PsychiatryThe Anger WorkbookThe Anorexic SelfThe Behavioral Medicine Treatment PlannerThe Betty Ford Center Book of AnswersThe Bipolar ChildThe Bipolar Disorder Survival GuideThe Body in PsychotherapyThe Borderline Personality Disorder Survival GuideThe Broken MirrorThe Burden of SympathyThe Cambridge Medical Ethics WorkbookThe Case for Pragmatic PsychologyThe Center Cannot HoldThe Chemical Dependence Treatment Documentation SourcebookThe Chemical Dependence Treatment PlannerThe Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Clinical Child Documentation SourcebookThe Clinical Documentation SourcebookThe Complete Adult Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Condition of MadnessThe Construction of Power and Authority in PsychiatryThe Couples Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Criminal BrainThe Cultural Context of Health, Illness, and MedicineThe Day the Voices StoppedThe Death of PsychotherapyThe Depression WorkbookThe Difficult-to-Treat Psychiatric PatientThe Early Stages of SchizophreniaThe Employee Assistance Treatment PlannerThe Employee Assistance Treatment PlannerThe Epidemiology of SchizophreniaThe Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality DisorderThe Essentials of New York Mental Health LawThe Ethical WayThe Evolution of Mental Health LawThe Explosive ChildThe Fall Of An IconThe Fasting GirlThe Forensic Documentation SourcebookThe Forgotten MournersThe Gift of Adult ADDThe Good EaterThe Green ParrotThe Healing Power of PetsThe Heart of AddictionThe Heroic ClientThe Insanity OffenseThe Invisible PlagueThe Last Time I Wore a DressThe Limits of Autobiography The LobotomistThe Madness of Our LivesThe Mark of ShameThe Meaning of AddictionThe Meaning of MindThe Medical AdvisorThe Mind/Mood Pill BookThe Most Solitary of AfflictionsThe Mozart EffectThe Naked Lady Who Stood on Her HeadThe Older Adult Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe OutsiderThe Pastoral Counseling Treatment PlannerThe PDR Family Guide to Natural Medicines & Healing TherapiesThe Places That Scare YouThe Plural SelfThe Problem of EvilThe Psychology of Religion and CopingThe Quiet RoomThe Real World Guide to Psychotherapy PracticeThe Right to Refuse Mental Health TreatmentThe Rise of Mental Health NursingThe Roots of the Recovery Movement in PsychiatryThe Savage GirlThe Self-Help SourcebookThe Talking CureThe Trick Is to Keep BreathingThe Unwell BrainThe Virtuous PsychiatristThe Way of TransitionThe Wing of MadnessThe Wisdom in FeelingTheoretical Evolutions in Person-Centered/Experiential TherapyTherapy's DelusionsTheraScribe 3.0 for WindowsThis is Madness TooThoughts Without a ThinkerThrough the Looking GlassTo Have Or To Be?Toxic PsychiatryTransforming MadnessTraumaTraumatic PastsTraumatic Relationships and Serious Mental DisordersTreating Affect PhobiaTreating Chronic and Severe Mental DisordersTreating Self-InjuryTreatment and Rehabilitation of Severe Mental 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Related Topics
Blueprints Clinical Cases in PsychiatryReview - Blueprints Clinical Cases in Psychiatry
by Jennifer Hoblyn, Judith Neugroschl and Aaron B. Caughey
Blackwell Publishers, 2002
Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D.
Aug 22nd 2003 (Volume 7, Issue 34)

This book of cases with multiple-choice questions is aimed at medical students in the US who have to take the Step 2 & 3 USMLE and who have to go on psychiatric rotations. Since I've never been to medical school, and I've never taken those exams, or even seen them, I am not really able to assess whether the book would be useful to those students. However, it is a useful book for anyone wanting to learn about contemporary psychiatry. It consists of 50 cases. Each case starts with a brief description of the initial information from the patient, a medical history, family history, social circumstances, and lab work. Many of the cases include thought questions, that should help patients to think about the case more clearly, and there are some definitions and explanations of terms included with the cases. The cases make frequent use of abbreviations, and there is a helpful list of abbreviations at the start of the book. Each case finishes with four multiple-choice questions, and at the end of the book are answers to those questions with brief explanations of why one of the responses if right and why the remaining ones do not fit.

The test questions could be better formulated. One obvious problem is the answer is D in a disproportionately large number of the questions, and well-set questions should not favor any particular answer. More problematic is that some of the possible answers are phrased in misleading ways. For example, question 125 asks about the legal aspects of patients' capacity to make decisions concerning their treatment. The answer the book gives is that "Competence is decided by the court." Apart being vague about which court, it is also ambiguous about whether it means competence is always or sometimes decided by the court, or whether it should always be decided by the court. Of course, in most cases, doctors agree with the decisions their patient makes and they don't have any strong reason to doubt their patient's competence, do it never goes to court. A court normally only gets involved if the doctors believe that a patient should receive treatment but the patient refuses, and the doctors are not able to convince, cajole or coerce the patient into accepting treatment. In many actual cases, if a patient's physician is not sure whether a patient is competent, and asks a psychiatrist to evaluate the patient, and the psychiatrist decides the patient is competent, the case never actually goes to court. This is just one example, about which I happen to have some knowledge about the topic and so I'm able to assess the answer. However, many of the test questions have similar problems with them. This is not a major problem with the book, though, so long as those using it make sure they understand the longer answers given at the back.

One might also argue that the short case histories don't provide enough information for readers to really understand the cases. However, in my (limited) experience observing psychiatrists communicating with each other about patients, these cases contain about as much information as professionals would give each other, at least when first discussing a case. Longer case discussions are probably more appropriate when more specialized learning, but these short descriptions are appropriate for students getting clear on the basic facts of psychiatry.

So this is a useful book for people wanting to test themselves on their basic psychiatric knowledge.

 

2003 Christian Perring. All rights reserved.

Christian Perring, Ph.D., is Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island, and editor of Metapsychology Online Review.  His main research is on philosophical issues in medicine, psychiatry and psychology.


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