Psychiatric Times Vol 15 No 4

Resurgence of Illicit Drug Use in '90s Poses Challenge for Physicians

April 01, 1998

Urging psychiatrists and other physicians to stay abreast of "what's going on in the youth culture," social psychologist Lloyd Johnston, Ph.D., explained that one of every 16 students entering high school has tried the potentially neurotoxic MDMA (Ecstasy) and among high school seniors, one-quarter are daily cigarette smokers and nearly one-third are frequent binge drinkers.

Practice Parameters Offer Guidance on Substance Use Disorders in Children, Adolescents

April 01, 1998

After a teenager's suicide attempt, her desperate and bewildered parents dragged her to a mental health clinic. The 16-year-old admitted to drinking nearly every day and using an assortment of other illicit drugs. Only after a month in treatment did the clinician learn that the teenager had been molested when she was 8 years old by an uncle and threatened with death if she ever told her parents.

Executing the Mentally Ill

April 01, 1998

The law and psychiatry are not disciplines that "fit together very easily," this is the essence of the debate that pervades psychiatry in death penalty cases. Ethical and moral issues faced by doctors practicing medicine clash with society's norms for ethical and moral behavior. At the same time, legal standards for insanity shift-often without regard to scientific advances or mental health advocacy.

SAMHSA Study Uncovers Increasing Substance Abuse Among Young Girls

April 01, 1998

The findings are disturbing. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in an effort to measure substance use and abuse among women, compiled data from its National Household Survey on Drug Abuse into a new report, Substance Use Among Women in the United States, which was released in September 1997. What they found is a worrisome indicator that substance use in this country is a significant problem for women, particularly among young girls ages 10 to 14.

Turf War: Will State Hospital Patients Suffer?

April 01, 1998

At stake are not only apprehensions over quality patient care and staff safety, but also worries over what can only be described as zealously guarded turf prerogatives. Put into play are long-simmering disputes over the respective roles psychiatrists and psychologists should play in delivering mental health services. With California often a bellwether for national trends, the outcome of the dispute could have spillover effects throughout the country.

Is There a Common Basis for All Addictions?

April 01, 1998

Addicts are people who have learned how to give themselves a quick chemical fix or achieve an emotional high when they either want to or have to change how they feel, and when they want to ignore real-life problems. Most people do that, but the next morning, they feel sick or foolish. They don't do it again because it didn't work for them. What makes addicts different is that they are willing-or feel compelled-to do it again and again even though they "know" that doing so will get them into trouble.

New Prescription for Paraphilia?

April 01, 1998

The investigators reported that "all 30 men stated that their sexual desire had decreased considerably and that their sexual behavior had become easily controllable." These self-assessments were given credence by the investigators for not only being consistent with other measures, but because the subjects were voluntary participants who were not required to initiate or continue the treatment study as a condition for leaving jail or avoiding prosecution.

PTSD in Survivors of Rwanda's 1994 War

April 01, 1998

In May 1997, a young Rwandan girl came to a clinic in Kigali reporting nausea and the feeling of insects crawling on her face. She complained of the strong smell of feces and grew increasingly agitated and fearful, describing vivid images of people trying to kill her at that moment. For months she had vomited at the sight of avocados, and for three years she had been unable to tolerate the sight of rice.