The young adult years (18 to 29) are a critical time of transition, and they present unique challenges in regard to mental health issues and development. Until recently, most research has focused either on children and adolescents or adults. Grant and Potenza’s Young Adult Mental Health is a comprehensive text for clinicians and researchers who work with persons in the transitional period of young adulthood.
The book’s 26 chapters are organized into 3 sections: developmental issues in the transition from adolescence to adulthood; mental health issues in young adults; and the assessment and treatment of psychiatric disorders in this population. Equal weight is given to normal development and psychiatric issues. Chapters conclude with key points and practice guidelines that are summary statements of each chapter.
The first chapters focus on the transition to adulthood and address concepts of resilience and achievement of competency from sociological and neurodevelopmental perspectives. The chapter on neural development is comprehensive and provides a state-of-the-art description of the neurological development in adolescence and its potential clinical implications.
Subsequent chapters cover college and career; cultural and ethnic issues; trauma; marriage; and developmental pathways to parenting. Of particular interest is the chapter on gender issues and the developmentally “normative” dysfunction that may contribute to increased vulnerability of males in this age-group. The author points out that the synergy between effects of biology and Western culture may contribute to risks that are often underrecognized. The author presents a clinical vignette that describes his work with a college-aged man to illustrate common vulnerabilities that may manifest with both emotional and behavioral consequences. This chapter is of particular note in light of current issues of male violence and aggression and serves as a foundation for viewing antecedents of behavioral issues from a developmental perspective.
The second half of the text addresses specific psychiatric disorders. Chapter topics include anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, substance use disorders, impulse control disorders, ADHD, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, impulse control disorders, and pervasive developmental disorders, with a concise overview of the disorder and its presentation in the young adult population. Each disorder is illustrated by a case vignette; a discussion of clinical characteristics; comorbidity; epidemiology; and treatment considerations, including a litera-ture review of the psychotherapeutic and pharmacological interventions where appropriate.
Young Adult Mental Health is an important text that addresses the unique characteristics, developmental issues, and psychiatric treatment of young adults. General psychiatrists as well as child and adolescent psychiatrists will find the book relevant and timely.