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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders: A Guide to Getting Well and Staying Well

by Fred Penzel

Oxford University Press, 2000. 448 pages. Hardcover: $30.00
Review by Dick Rowson, NAMI Literature Committee

For families and consumers seeking a balanced and comprehensive overview of the group of disorders know as obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders (OCSD), including diagnosis and treatment (usually consisting of a combination of medication and behavioral therapy), this is an excellent book. Penzel takes the view that "classic OCD itself is really only a part of a whole family of neurobiological disorders" ranging from the compulsive "over-protective of self and others" type through more impulsive disorders such as anorexia, Tourette's syndrome and "increasingly antisocial or self-destructive behavior." The reader will find a brief general description of each disorder and an outline of behavioral therapies, self-help instructions, and a discussion of medications, including an evaluation of which are useful and how to manage them.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders concludes with a reference guide in which the various forms of OCD are described, identified, and categorized by symptoms, and sources of help and further information are provided.