BOOK REVIEWS: Clinical Handbook of Eating Disorders

Reprinted from Eating Disorders Review
July/August 2005 Volume 16, Number 4
©2005 Gürze Books

(Edited by Timothy Brewerton. New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc.; 2004; 577 pp; hardcover, $175.00)

The Clinical Handbook of Eating Disorders is a welcome edition that joins such classic handbooks as those of “Garner and Garfinkel” and “Brownell and Fairburn.”?Dr. Brewerton, a former president of the Eating Disorder Research Society, has assembled a world-class group of contributors, who offer topics ranging from basic science to the most complex nuances of clinical practice.

The handbook is divided into four sections. The first section covers diagnosis, epidemiology and course of illness, and also includes chapters on psychometric assessment and feeding disorders of early childhood. The next section looks at risk factors, genetics, personality and both medical and psychiatric comorbidity. The third section is on psychobiology and examines neuroimaging and molecular biology, as well as neurotransmitter, neuroendocrine, and neuropeptide dysregulation. The final section on treatment is the most extensive in this section, and includes chapters on inpatient, nutritional, family, and psychopharmacological approaches. There are also specific chapters on cognitive-behavioral, interpersonal, and dialectical behavior therapies.

The final two chapters of the book are an added bonus because they go beyond the necessary and required topics for a handbook. Timothy Brewerton displays a special sensitivity when he looks at victimization and posttraumatic stress disorder in eating disorders and links these with comorbid disorders. Finally, Joel Yager provides a soaring and visionary concluding chapter on future directions in eating disorders. His speculations touch upon evolving vistas in biology and information technology as well as diagnosis, epidemiology, and psychosocial interventions.

Concise, thorough, and well referenced, this book provides, as Gerald Russell says, ‘a strict objectivity in assessing relevant literature.’ Its excellent integration of multiple and complex paradigms make it one of the best books in recent years for anyone interested in eating disorders. – Russell Marx, MD, Associate Editor

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