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Psychiatry Roundup: Hinckley, Prescription Heroin, Boomer Blues

Psychiatry Roundup: Hinckley, Prescription Heroin, Boomer Blues

  • Scroll through the slides for recent stories in mental health. Links appear in the captions.
    To view the information in PDF format, click here.

  • Would-be Reagan Assassin John Hinckley Jr. Is Freed After 35 Years
    After 35 years, the “court-ordered transition from a mental hospital in the District to a gated resort community, where he will live with his 90-year-old mother, has forced residents of this small town to grapple with an unsettling reality: Living among them is a former would-be assassin who, according to medical experts, has recovered and is no longer dangerous.”
    Washington Post, September 10, 2016

  • Prescription Heroin Gets Green Light in Canada
    “Health Canada has amended its regulations to allow Canadian doctors to prescribe heroin as a treatment for those who are severely addicted to the drug. Last week's change to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act permits doctors to apply for permission under the federal Special Access Program to offer their addicted patients diacetylmorphine: pharmaceutical-grade heroin.”
    September 14, 2016

  • Baby Boomers May Face Treatment-Resistant Depression
    If the experts are right, older adults’ risk for depression is on the rise. When depression is accompanied by medical illnesses, fewer social connections, isolation and loneliness, and a few resources suicide is a factor. Depression that no longer responds to medication management is, basically, untreated depression. The outlook is bleak: “Despite the prevalence of treatment-resistant depression, few resources exist to help psychiatrists make treatment decisions.”

  • Naloxone App Competition
    The US FDA kicked off a competition for the best app designed to search for the medication naloxone, a drug that reverses the effects of an accidental overdose of heroin or opioids.  “Specifically, the goal . . . is to spur innovation around the development of a low-cost, scalable, crowd-sourced mobile phone application that helps increase the likelihood that opioid users, their immediate personal networks, and first responders are able to identify and react to an overdose by administering naloxone, a medication that reverses the effects of opioid overdose.” The submission deadline is November 7.
    FDA, September 19, 2016

  • Love and Burnout: Caregivers, Too, Need Care
    The focus is the caregiver—a questionable role. The mere witnessing of a loved one’s suffering—in this case, a man whose wife had Alzheimer disease—often depletes one of energy, sleep, ability (or willingness) to care, financial resources, and spirituality. “When you’re in the middle of caregiving, you don’t know what caring for yourself means.”
    New York Times, September 2, 2016

  • Phenomenology of Schizophrenia and the Representativeness of Modern Diagnostic Criteria
    In a Special Communication, Kenneth S. Kendler, MD writes, "We should not confuse our DSM diagnostic criteria with the disorders that they were designed to index," according to the author. Do you agree?
    JAMA Psychiatry, Sept 14, 2016

To view the information in PDF format, click here.


Hi everybody out there
The slides will not move when I click on the arrows. I have never been able to see these slides and even the IT fellows in my hospital cannot help?
Any advice ?
Dr Nisar Contractor

NIsar @

It has been a treatment option in Europe for some time now. The feedback will, undoubtedly be vicious from the moral majority (with is neither).

P. Gianelli, MD -

Philip @

It feels 'weird' that the Canadian pharmaceutical industry is providing pharmaceutical grade heroin, so my question---is it FDA approved to 'extend' an opiate addiction as in relieve symptoms of heroin withdrawal within itself, or to flat-out relieve pain? Will terminal or other patients in nearly unrelievable pain be able to use this in an armamentarium of the pain-relief prescriber?

Catharine @

Yes, absolutely. We must get to know patients developmental history and social life to reach THE DEEPER DIAGNOSIS.

Robert O. @

Yesterday a veteran with no living relatives was buried at the veterans cemetery near our small town. The Daily Courier put it on the front page, requesting people to honor this forgotten man who had served his country and was now abandoned. 30-40 veterans without relatives die every few months in our rural area and are buried without ceremony. And 20 military, active and veteran, commit suicide each day.

In the same issue I read that the largest percentage of males aged 25-54 are electively unemployed and not looking for work in this country, even larger than during the Great Depression. An excess of time on one's hands to ruminate alone can only be detrimental to well being.

How do individuals become so insular and disconnected from the social circle of caring? Are men only joined to the human community through women? so once they divorce or become widowers they no longer interact mutually with family friends colleagues? why do they choose not to work even part time or as volunteers to maintain social connection?

Perhaps it is time to confront the social stigma of asking for help (food, cleaning, dressing, driving, errands, bathing toileting, mental health counseling and assistance, daily walking companionship to maintain physical vigor) in our Paul Bunyon admiring independent society. Men appear more unwilling to see a doctor for even a simple physical examination even though current medical practice includes a Welcome to Medicare full physical exam including lab work and EKG and annual follow up physical without cost to the patient.

Our medical community has an obligation to confront stigma which prevents access to needed treatment for medical conditions including mental health services.

R @

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