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Introduction: Controversies and Evolving Issues

Introduction: Controversies and Evolving Issues

In military terminology, “vanguard” refers to the forward division of an advancing formation. In this Special Report, we present a series of articles on controversial subjects that are presently evolving and are at the forefront of psychiatry in 2012. Continuing with the military theme, we are pleased to present an article by psychiatrist and Brigadier General (Ret), US Army Stephen N. Xenakis, MD, on torture and abuse. Dr Xenakis has been a courageous and outspoken leader in the area of human rights, and here he asks us to reflect on our ethical principles and how human rights can be vital to national security.

The growing use of stimulants in US children has become a significant area of concern and research over the past decade. Stacy S. Drury, MD, PhD, and Mary Margaret Gleason, MD, take on the highly controversial issue of psychotropic medication use in young children.

Karen Horney was an early follower of Freud who, after becoming disillusioned with Freudian orthodoxy, pioneered psychodynamic psychiatry. In his article, Douglas H. Ingram, MD, discusses how Horney’s ideas can help clinical practice.

Corbett Schimming, MD, and Judith A. Neugroschl, MD, discuss the role of antipsychotics for behavioral disturbances in dementia. These symptoms are especially problematic to caregivers—the increased burden creates significant repercussion for patients and families.

Interested readers can find on our Web site articles by the eminent psychiatrist Herman M. van Praag, MD, PhD. Dr van Praag has made major contributions in psychiatry and lately has significantly furthered the growing body of liter­ature on the intersection between psychiatry and spirituality. Psychiatry does have a history of considering religion, albeit from an arguably critical, analytic standpoint. Nonetheless, it is becoming clear that at least some individuals derive positive mental health benefits from spirituality.

Andre Menache, Director of Antidote Europe, writes about animal studies and questions whether they are relevant in modern psychiatry. He urges the inclusion of empathy, especially in psychiatric
research.

The articles cover a broad array of controversial and advancing topics in psychiatry. We hope you will enjoy them.

 
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