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Review by Duncan Hill, Specialist Pharmacist in Substance Misuse (SPiSM) in NHS Lanarkshire:
This is the second edition of this publication, superseding that published in 2009 and has been prepared by an international editorial team and authors of addictions specialists.
The new pocket sized edition is over 650 pages long and adds to the previous edition by including new evidenced based treatment options, new chapters on behavioural addictions, such as gambling and gaming and includes information on a widened range of psychoactive substances.
The book is broken down neatly to a number of chapters, starting with a few more generic issues, such as the nature, epidemiology and diagnosis, before leading into chapters on individual addictions (and methods of use) before ending with a few specific issues and populations.
Each chapter in the individual addiction to substances is further deconstructed to include background into this substance including a specific epidemiology, pharmacology, clinical syndromes, natural history, policy and prevention, diagnosis and assessment (including interventions) and management and treatment. Although each chapter may not use the same sub headings, the follow of the chapter is structurally similar. There is also the inclusion of Further Reading recommendations at the end of the section to explore topics in further detail as required.
The book is a portable and concise guide using evidence based practice for practitioners dealing with patients with addictions issues.
Review by April Wareham, Advocate and SMMGP Board Member:
I am an avid reader and looked forward to reading this book, starting off by treating it like a novel or a text book.
It isn’t, it’s a collection of articles gathered together in a remarkably easy to find way. Parts of it are very clinical and I had to regularly resort to Google.
It reads a bit like clinical guidelines in places, but because it has drawn from best practice around the world, it is more something to aim for, than a useful advocacy tool in the UK. I will probably use it for reference in the future.
The background epidemiology sections were informative and I will also use them as a “go to” for reference.
The bits I really liked were in the acute care section (which is the bit I read in total, the rest I scanned). I can see me using this section a lot. Often in emergency situations doctors are inclined to write off all symptoms as being a direct cause of intoxication or withdrawal and I know many people who have had to go back to hospital loads of times before they find a doctor to take them seriously.
This book takes a non-judgemental, pragmatic approach to diagnosis and treatment. It has handy lists of other illnesses/conditions that may present in the same way. It even has lists of tests for purposes of diagnosis or exclusion. So the next time I’m in Casualty supporting a friend insisting "It isn’t withdrawals, they're ill, I’ve used drugs for over 30 years, I know the difference!" - I will pull out my little reference book and see if it can help them get decent treatment.