Reviewed by William Zaccagnino, NAMI Literature Committee
Dr. Mary Coleman and Dr. Christopher Gillberg present in The Schizophrenias: A Biological Approach to the Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders the thesis that schizophrenic symptoms are in some cases caused by illnesses other than the traditional psychiatric causes. They point to infections, metabolic diseases, endocrine disorders, epilepsy, and other illnesses as having been documented in some cases to manifest schizophrenic symptoms; and they note that by treating these other illnesses, the psychiatric symptoms disappear. At the same time, the authors discard other illnesses as not having this connection and note that yet others have not been explored enough in research to be included in either list. On a practical level, Coleman and Gillberg advise that every person diagnosed with schizophrenia be given a full medical workup to determine if there are other-than-psychiatric biological explanations for the symptoms.
The Schizophrenias is thoroughly researched, and there are long lists of references at the end of each chapter. It is a scholarly book written for psychiatrists, other physicians, and advanced students of psychology and psychiatry.
The Schizophrenias: A Biological Approach to the Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders by Mary Coleman, M.D., and Christopher Gillberg, M.D., Ph.D. Springer Publishing Company, Inc., New York, 1996. 325 pages. $46.95. This book can be ordered through your local bookseller.