Hong Kong J Psychiatry 2003;13(3):31-32

Book Review

Neuropsychopharmacology: The Fifth Generation of Progress

Editors: Davis KL, Charney D, Coyle JT, Nemeroff C. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia, 2002. US$189.00; pp2010; ISBN: 0-7817-2837-1

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This official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology is a real textbook. It is un- rivaled in at least 2 aspects: huge in volume, with more than 2000 pages, weighing 4 kg, and written by more than 290 authors. The book represents the most updated collec- tion of information that “details advances in both the basic science and clinical application of recent research in psychopharmacology”, as stated in the Preface of the book. It is a timely production at the turn of the century as it comprehensively summarises the enormous progress in understanding the fundamental physiology of the central nervous system and treatment of psychiatric disorders in previous decades.

The book is well organised along the lines of the well established tradition of previous editions. It begins with basic neuroscience, then covers new imaging techniques and new drug discovery, before addressing different mental disorders. Chapters in basic neuroscience and imaging are comprehensively illustrated and widely referenced. Different psychiatric disorders are covered in separate sections, providing an overview of different aspects of each disorder. The major disorders are all described including developmental disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, affective disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, substance abuse, and movement disorders. The section on impulsive and compulsive disorders is a new and valuable addition.

Certain sections or chapters could be interesting to individual subspecialties. The section on sleep disorders updates the most recent advances in sleep physiology. The chapter on neuropsychopharmacology in depression and the medically ill would benefit our consultation-liaison colleagues.

Apart from basic science and clinical aspects, the socioeconomic perspectives are also addressed in the chapters dealing with the economic burden of anxiety and stress-related disorders, the economics of treatment of schizophrenia, and the cost effectiveness of the new generation antidepressants — the last 2 issues are of definite interest to local psychiatrists who are engaged in the management of services. 

The absence of discussion on cross-cultural psycho- pharmacology could be a significant omission. But all in all, this huge book is an invaluable addition to libraries as a reference. Its heavy weight should not be an excuse for not stocking it. There is an on-line search package that comes with the hard copy.

Dr CM Leung
Consultant Psychiatrist
Department of Psychiatry
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong

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