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Treating Alcohol and Drug Abuse in the Elderly
Book review

By Marcy Doyle
Posted Sunday, March 9, 2003

Treating Alcohol and Drug Abuse in the Elderly, by Anne M. Gurnack, Roland Atkinson, Nancy J. Osgood (Editors). Springer Publishing Company, New York, 2001. 256 pages. $39.95.

This book is a practical guide to alcohol and drug additions in the elderly and offers social workers a valuable reference manual for the field as well as in the classroom. Additionally, the text discusses tobacco and gambling addictions to further supplement the range of addictions that the elderly are susceptible to.

Each chapter explores case studies, and proposes medically-based insight for the causes, characteristics of, and suggested treatment for addictions in elderly populations. Written by physicians and researchers, this book offers DSM-IV standards for diagnosis as well as functional approaches to detection and treatment. The editors go beyond only symptoms and diagnosis to offer rational and treatment suggestions for the described addiction. Conclusions and outcomes are also highlighted within the chapters, and tables and figures supplement the reading. Detailed references are cited at the end of each chapter, and a keyword index makes this a handy reference for those working, teaching, and studying within the field of aging.

Clinical terminology coupled with expert advice from the field make this book a resourceful as well as authoritative primer for the practice field. Educators and students of social work will appreciate insightful case studies and cognitive behavioral treatments, as well as statistical premises for the conclusions offered.

This is a truly comprehensive and informative book that provides addiction assessment tools, intervention plans and approaches, and case study results. A must have for social workers in the field of aging.

Reviewed by Marcy Doyle, BSW student, Frostburg State University, Frostburg, MD.

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