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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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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.

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

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.

This sunflower at the 9/11 Memorial said that a ray of sunshine remains, and that life blooms anew, in spite of the losses.

Mikey had led a hard life, even though he was barely 30. His mother ran off when he was a teen, leaving him with his grandmother—and leaving his father embittered.

Until I attended the recent Graphic Medicine conference at Johns Hopkins, I did not appreciate the skyrocketing popularity of “graphic novels” as “illness narratives,” writes this psychiatrist.

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