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Sharon Packer, MD

Sharon Packer, MD

Dr Packer is Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, in the Bronx, NY. She is the author of several books, including her most recent, Cinema’s Sinister Psychiatrists (McFarland, 2012). She is in private practice in New York City.

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Her mention of gardens got me to thinking, not just about fragrant flowers but also about “symptom substitution,” an old-time favorite of behavioral psychologists. Which activities most resemble hair-pulling? Weeding, for one.

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How does a pituitary result in a psychiatric emergency? Read more clues to this clinical puzzle.

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What does mandated electronic prescribing have to do with that old show, Twilight Zone?

Unrelenting belief in the goodness of humankind while confronting an uncommon disease.

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Today’s psychiatrists rarely have the luxury of time enjoyed by our fin-de-siècle forebears. So a few quick questions for the right patients can offer a big payoff. Here's a case in point.

Psychiatrists increasingly recognize that not all treatments for depression are created equal—but in this case, an entirely different diagnosis came to light.

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The patient did not just scream for more medication—he literally rolled on the floor, ranting and raving and demanding higher doses. Some may write him off as an "addict," but this case reaffirms the value of studying medicine before practicing psychiatry or psychopharmacology.

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Is it possible to add creative twists to proven therapeutic techniques in order to encourage reluctant patients to try safe and effective treatments that we believe can benefit them? After reading the case, tell us what you think.

Still Alice

This film is a must-see for psychiatrists, not because it adds new information about the course of Alzheimer disease or its impact on families, but because it forces us to rethink issues that can affect our clinical practice.

The main character of Guardians of the Galaxy directly connects to psychiatry and comments on continuing controversies about patient care and health care delivery systems.

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