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Psychiatry Roundup: The Cures Act, Carrie Fisher, Abortion Denial

Psychiatry Roundup: The Cures Act, Carrie Fisher, Abortion Denial

  • President Barack Obama’s last bill signed into law; Carrie Fisher’s legacy gives voice to the suffering associated with mental illness; psychological outcomes of women who had abortions against those denied abortion; and other psychiatry news. Scroll through the slides for descriptions and links to stories.

    View the slides in PDF format. Also see: Psychiatry Roundup: Out With the Old, In With the...Old?

  • 21st Century Cures Act
    APA President Maria Oquendo, MD writes about attending the December 13 signing of the Century Cures Act, President Barack Obama’s last bill to be signed into law. Among other issues, the bill addresses (or at least acknowledges) the opioid crisis and mental health care. She writes, “The 21st Century Cures Act is a huge step for mental health: the country is poised to make some major gains. Yes, it is emotional; yes, it is historic; but most importantly, our patients will see tangible improvements in their care. What a lovely way to round out 2016!” Also see: “Hot Topics of 2016: In and Around Psychiatry.”
    Psychiatric News, December 30, 2016

  • Carrie Fisher Put Pen and Voice in Service of ‘Bipolar Pride’
    To destigmatize a mental disorder is arguably like stopping a tsunami, but Carrie Fisher helped turn the tide: “Her success fed a longstanding debate on the relationship between mental turmoil and creativity. And her writing and speaking helped usher in a confessional era in which mental disorders have entered the pop culture with a life of their own.” Also see: “The Heroic Psychological Journeys of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds,” by H. Steven Moffic, MD.
    New York Times, December 28, 2016

  • Women’s Mental Health After Having or Being Denied an Abortion
    Researchers compared psychological outcomes of women who had abortions against those denied abortion and found the latter group was at greater risk. In both groups, “psychological well-being improved over time so that both groups of women eventually converged.” The researchers stressed that the findings did “do not support restricting abortion on the basis that abortion harms women’s mental health.” Also see “Abortion Trauma Syndrome.”
    JAMA Psychiatry, December 16, 2017

  • Psychiatry’s List of Disorders Needs Real-Time Updates
    Michael First writes: “Putting in place a rigorous continuous improvement process for the DSM will let the manual reflect scientific advances more rapidly than was possible with the old revision process. This should ultimately result in a more valid and clinically useful diagnostic classification, which will help mental health providers and other clinicians to more accurately diagnosis and treat their patients.” Also see: “Psychotic Disorders in DSM-5: Clinical Implications of Revisions From DSM-IV.”
    Stat News, December 12, 2016

  • American Psychiatrists Speak Out on Euthanasia
    In some European countries, the rate of euthanasia is accepted for physical and mental illness, provided that “unbearable suffering” persists with no end in sight. In the US, the discussion is officially closed before it even took off. In a December position statement, “the American Psychiatric Association, in concert with the American Medical Association’s position on Medical Euthanasia, holds that a psychiatrist should not prescribe or administer any intervention to a non-terminally ill person for the purpose of causing death.” Also see: “Physician-Assisted Suicide and the Rise of the Consumer Movement.”
    Washington Post, December 15, 2016

  • How the Doctors and Sex Abuse Project Came About
    The story behind an award-winning investigation on doctors who abuse patients: “Veteran investigative reporter Danny Robbins was researching another story when he came across public documents he couldn’t ignore. Doctors in Georgia, he found, were getting caught sexually abusing their patients, and they weren’t being shut out of medicine. In fact, state licensing officials let most of them keep practicing.” Also see: “The Worst Psychiatrist in History.”
    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, December 17, 2016

Comments

If one doesn't believe that abortion is a crime, there is no reason to feel guilty. Not all of us are Catholics, and even within Catholicism there is disagreement.

My religion always puts the mothers' lives and wishes first, and believes that this is best for the family, as has been shown by numerous studies. I am a physician and here to attend to the sick and ailing, not to impose my views on them. I agree with the RNs who stated they will leave God's judgment to God, not healers.

You are free to your beliefs, and no one is forcing anyone against abortion to have one. What you are not free to do is impose your religious beliefs on others. If you want the kind of government that does that, you will find it in Iran or Saudi Arabia, hopefully not the USA, although the new administration is calling our most basic civil rights into question.

Danielle @

If one doesn't believe that abortion is a crime, there is no reason to feel guilty. Not all of us are Catholics, and even within Catholicism there is disagreement.

My religion always puts the mothers' lives and wishes first, and believes that this is best for the family, as has been shown by numerous studies. I am a physician and here to attend to the sick and ailing, not to impose my views on them. I agree with the RNs who stated they will leave God's judgment to God, not healers.

You are free to your beliefs, and no one is forcing anyone against abortion to have one. What you are not free to do is impose your religious beliefs on others. If you want the kind of government that does that, you will find it in Iran or Saudi Arabia, hopefully not the USA, although the new administration is calling our most basic civil rights into question.

Danielle @

I could not scroll through the presentation for some reason it was locked. As a nurse I had the choice to sign a document if I did not want to care for women in the OR having an abortion. After 14 years of Catholic education, I believe in life at conception. I made the decision not to sign the document and that I would care for a woman who had an abortion. I am a nurse to give care, not to judge people. That woman has had to make a very serious decision which she probably worried about for some time. I believe that it is God's job to judge the women who have to make this decision, not mine. Also I did not decide for her to have the abortion, I have decided to care for patients unconditionally. I will leave the rest to God.

Ellen @

I am a nurse as well and the position you have taken is ethical and compassionate. Ours is not to judge but to assist healing. I respect your view I am also raised catholic however I have a different perspective. The fact that you can be humanistic in your opinions and not render verdicts on anyone but yourself or leave to the power of god, is the hallmark of you're being a true Christian

lauren @

I completely agree, and applaud your point of view and compassion.

Danielle @

Well said Tamara and Tania. Reason and compassion are blended with tolerance. jd

james @

As I read through the comments, I find it repugnant that anyone who has a different perspective is bullied and ridiculed. This journal has hit rock bottom if it is just a collaboration of politically liberal elitists and has no room for discussions on both sides of the the issue. People who believe in sanctity of life have THE SAME RIGHTS to express their opinions as those who are pro-choice. There is research on both sides with valid information and outcomes. It takes someone really open minded to see the value in both. I will have to read the research article before I can determine if the research has any merit for my population. As professionals, isn't that what we are supposed to do. Look for information that helps within the current client populations. We do not do research to learn how to be nasty to each other.

Robin @

You absolutely have the right to express your opinions! I would completely defend your right to free speech, protest, etc.

You do not have the right to enact laws to impose your theology onto others who do not believe as you do. That is called theocracy, such as Sharia Law.

Danielle @

Each group of women is composed of individuals. How a particular woman chooses to deal with this very personal health matter is enshrined in the legal right to privacy and in basic civil and human rights--no other individual can ethically or morally claim such right over her. As long as a fetal collection of cells remains parasitically dependent inside a woman's body, there is only one set of human rights at stake: the woman's. I'd like to add that the Shutterstock image accompanying this article is unnecessarily inflammatory and inaccurate in portraying a very late stage pregnancy being erased. The vast majority of pregnancies are terminated sooner rather than later, although the anti-choice drive to prevent, deter and limit access to safe and early termination means that more women are forced to wait longer for the procedure, adding unnecessary stress, difficulty, and intrusive political meddling to a private decision.

Tamara @

Well said Tamara - and I completely agree regarding the image. Late abortions represent a tiny percentage of terminations, usually under particularly difficult conditions - not least late detection of very serious conditions affecting the baby or where continuing the pregnancy would be seriously physically injurious to the mother. I don't know anyone pro choice who wouldn't want better access to termination at an early stage so as few late terminations as possible take place. Putting legal hoops in the way just delays things.

tania @

I am extremely offended that you refer to my precious daughter as a parasite.

Robin @

"psychological wellbeing improved over time so that both groups of women eventually converged." The real finding on abortion is that, regardless of why a woman seeks an abortion, she is equally well adjusted down the road whether she gets one or not. Dan Gilbert (currently at Harvard) showed long ago that we are lousy at predicting what will make us happy / miserable. Since that is the case, one can argue for more like the European restrictions on abortion, since giving a woman this "right" does not actually improve her long term life satisfaction. (Europe is fairly restrictive, in case you don't know that)

Lynn @

I suppose it depends on what you call "fairly restrictive". Most of Europe has abortion on demand in the first trimester, with abortion permissible beyond that under varying conditions.
Perhaps you're thinking of Ireland (thats one country in Europe). Ireland and Northen Ireland are notably in the dark ages; here in the rest of the UK (that's in Europe still, btw), we regard the States as pretty backward on the topic on reproductive rights in general and the Irish as being as sadly afflicted by their cultural religiosity as you are...especially as Irish women wanting abortions can't have them at home, so end up travelling to the UK and having them later and under more difficult and expensive circumstances.
I don't have any problem with people having strong spiritual beliefs - Im a Quaker myself - but I do find it upsetting when they seek to impose them on others. That's why I'm pro *choice*.

tania @

In the dark ages or more enlightened?

Patricia @

The ourcomes for the other onvolved party are usually a hell of a lot better when abortions are denied. It is hard to get much worse than killed by your mothers doctor because she (your mother) did not like you.

Robert @

Look, I'm pro-life, but "your mother didn't like you" isn't the reason women get abortions, and it shuts off any discussion that would help women get to that eventual better outcome tracked in the study.
D.

Dana @

Denied? Denied when? By whom? What about the nearest planned parenthood or shady gyn? What about a study comparing guilt trauma of post Ab group vs. Those who kept baby?

Joseph @

Speak with your patients and you will have the results of your proposed study. Or just be proactive and read the sciencw

marco @

Many are physically or emotionally unable to provide care for an infant, and since abortion is significantly less life threatening for the woman, she should obviously have the choice to terminate a pregnancy and not take the risks.

Danielle @

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