April 15, 2005* HICKS, JAMES WHITNEY, M.D.
50 Signs of Mental Illness: A User-Friendly Alphabetical Guide to Psychiatric Symptoms and What You Should Know About Them. Yale Univ. (Health & Wellness). Apr. 2005. c.320p. index. ISBN 0-300-10657-2. $27.50. PSYCH
The cover may look like Menninger "lite," but this resource on the symptoms of mental illness and their treatment is a solid gem.
Organizing the text alphabetically by symptom, psychiatrist Hicks (director, clinical services, Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Ctr.) opens each chapter with a good story or character study, wasting no words and packing in much more than one might expect without getting heavy: "When you bought the shotgun a week ago, you told yourself you would never use it"-so begins "Suicidal Thoughts."
Anxiety, anger, denial, depression, stress, and trauma are also headlined, as well as religious preoccupation, nonsense, oddness, and homosexuality (not a mental illness).
Statistics fit in helpfully; there are no notes, but resources at the end are extensive and include recommended books on various topics. An extensive index contains many drug names, along with terms like Alzheimer's, ECT, hypnosis, and lying.
Hicks is warm but can be blunt, reassuring but stern about getting treatment and preventing harm.
A reservoir of useful knowledge, this belongs in almost every library serving real people.-E. James Lieberman, George Washington Univ. Sch. of Medicine, Washington, DC