The authors of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition, have used the umbrella term “autism spectrum disorder” (ASD), which combines the currently separate diagnoses of autism, Asperger’s syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder. This change in no way diminishes the value of this book for clinicians who work with and teach about adults with psychiatric disorders. As the authors remark, the major publications in this field have to do with the presentation of this disorder in childhood—not the diagnosis, treatment, neurodevelopment, genetic and medical, psychosocial, psychotherapy, and psychopharmacology issues in adulthood. Fortunately, this book fills the void, presenting theirs and others’ experience in these realms.
The book has seven chapters and multiple references devoted to these areas. The first includes an introduction to the disorder; the second, an assessment in adults; and the third, the mental health symptoms in an adult. As the authors state, people with this disorder are highly heterogeneous, and one needs to be aware of this. Someone may have reached adulthood suffering with problems related to the disorder without being given the diagnosis. Assessment and diagnosis may help the individual and/or the clinician and the family understand why a disconnect has happened, what it means, and how to treat it.
Chapter 4, Neurodevelopmental, Genetic and Medical Issues in Adult Asperger Syndrome, is particularly relevant in today’s world, where we need to be aware of these factors. “Sensory integration dysfunction,” “central auditory processing disorder,” and “dyspraxia and motor problems” are but a few of the illnesses mentioned that may be present in those with ASDs.
The section on psychotherapy, although limited in references, can help the therapist to understand what the patient needs and how to go about achieving it. The section on psychosocial aspects can provide information for patient advocates and others involved in the field about how limited the resources are and what is needed.
I strongly recommend this book to any and all who deal with psychiatric patients and those who rightfully advocate for their treatment.
Marcia Kraft Goin, MD, PhD
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry
Keck School of Medicine
University of Southern California
The author declares no conflict of interest.