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Revista de Psiquiatria do Rio Grande do Sul

Print version ISSN 0101-8108

Rev. psiquiatr. Rio Gd. Sul vol.27 no.1 Porto Alegre Jan./Apr. 2005 



Review of the book entitled Psiquiatria para estudantes de medicina


Reseña del libro Psiquiatria para estudantes de medicina



Miguel R. Jorge

Associate Professor and Head of the Clinical Psychiatry Section, and Coordinator of the Graduate Program in Psychiatry, Medical Psychology and Mental Health, São Paulo Medical School, Federal University of São Paulo (EPM-UNIFESP)





Alfredo Cataldo Neto, Gabriel Chittó Gauer e Nina Rosa Furtado (orgs.)
Porto Alegre, EDIPUCRS, 2003



The book Psiquiatria para estudantes de medicina, organized by Alfredo Cataldo Neto, Gabriel José Chittó Gauer and Nina Rosa Furtado, represents in our view the first effort for the production of a real textbook on psychiatry in Brazil.

Two hundred and fifty professionals, nearly all working or with a degree in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, succeeded in producing an important book that has relevance at a national level. After all, if there are differences in the expression of psychiatric conditions and in the characteristics of the physician-patient relationship, unfortunately these are more related to distinct clinical and socioeconomic contexts than to the cultural diversity of our country's different regions, strictly speaking.

Distributed throughout the nearly 1,000 pages of the book are some 160 chapters dedicated specifically to medical psychology and clinical psychiatry, subjects of major interest for the great majority of medical students who, even not specializing in the area, will be exposed to the psychological aspects and needs of general patients and will have frequent contact with patients who suffer from mental and personality disorders.

Both in terms of what the book says in respect to the foundations of psychiatry and its interrelation with other sciences as well as its explanations on etiological and diagnostic processes and therapeutic interventions recommended for the different types of mental disorders, the organizers of this book have clearly sought and found a harmonious balance between biological aspects and those of psychosocial nature.

Part I presents the foundations of psychiatry, from its historical and psychodynamic aspects (important for understanding psychic functioning) to possible determinants of different mental disorders.

In slightly over 150 pages, Parts II, III and IV examine in detail that information which is fundamental for a future physician to know about the physician-patient relationship during the different phases of a patient's life as well as other important aspects in medical psychology.

In Part V, different authors present the components of a good psychiatric anamnesis, complemented by neurological evaluation and the use of psychological tests and standardized instruments for psychiatric evaluation.

By far the largest section, almost a book within a book, is the one dedicated to mental disorders, with a total of 340 pages. There are 58 chapters that begin by presenting a classification of mental disorders and end by discussing the conditions of these disorders during childhood and adolescence. The different types of mental and personality disorders are approached in a classical way by the authors of each chapter, who present historical, epidemiological, etiological, clinical, diagnostic, therapeutic and evolutive information as well as data important for differential diagnosis.

Part VII presents different types of psychiatric emergencies that future physicians, from any specialty, will certainly come across at least during the initial phases of their careers, when it is quite common to be on-duty at the emergency unit or be called upon the general hospital wards where usually there is no on-duty psychiatrist. A good portion of this section is aimed at different issues related to suicide.

The section about therapeutic approaches includes the different classes of medications used to treat mental disorders, as well as other biological approaches and different psychotherapeutic techniques. In a book that is designed for medical students, this section should be used strictly as reference for assisting with therapeutic approaches in simpler cases or for the immediate control of situations characterized as a psychiatric emergency. It also can be used to provide the physicians with a general understanding of how they can provide psychological assistance for specific demands brought by different disorders or for the same type of disorder in people with different psychological constitutions.

Part IX discusses the interrelation of psychiatry with other sciences, particularly with other medical specialties and occupational therapy, nursing and physiotherapy, in addition to art and anthropology. Some topics of forensic psychiatry and aspects related to supervision as well as the listing of some interesting websites related to psychiatry are presented in the two last sections of the book.

In short, the book Psiquiatria para estudantes de medicina is an outstanding piece of work, quite encompassing and complete. Because it has already been available at major medical bookstores for nearly one year, its organizers are most certainly gathering suggestions from both their target public - medical students - as well as psychiatry specialists. This will allow them to improve this book in its awaited future editions. In terms of a revision of the present publication, I believe that a standardization of the extension and level of depth of the different chapters would be the primary focus for its organizers.

The ample diffusion that the present book can have among professors of psychiatry and medical students from Brazilian medical schools will definitively contribute to upgrade the human and professional quality of the assistance provided to those individuals suffering from mental disorders in all regions of our county.



Correspondence to
Miguel R. Jorge

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