Psychiatric Disability: A Step-by-Step Guide to Assessment and DeterminationJune 11th 2009
The epidemiology and management of psychiatric disability have gained increased attention for a variety of reasons in the past 3 decades. There are issues of empowerment, advocacy, and reduction of stigma. There are also concerns about cost containment as well as reliability, validity, and efficacy of the determination process.
Depression and Comorbid Anxiety: An Overview of Pharmacological OptionsJune 10th 2009
Although depressive and anxiety disorders are classified as distinct groups of illnesses, studies document their frequent co-occurrence and provide evidence of a common biological substrate and a shared vulnerability.
The Book of Ethics: Expert Guidance for Professionals Who Treat AddictionJune 10th 2009
Fewer than a handful of books have been published on the ethical dimensions and challenges in treating and helping persons living with an addiction. Therefore, this book is a welcome contribution to the literature almost from the start. The contributors in this 9-chapter text range from community- and hospital-based professionals to behavioral program directors to ethics center directors and researchers to psychology, neurology, and psychiatry professors and fellows. The book aims to provide general advice on central issues encountered routinely by those experienced in addiction services and research. Contrary to the book’s rather biblical and authoritative title, the editors “offer this work modestly,” given the relative newness of focused ethical analysis in addiction treatment and care.
Der Spiegel has anointed Fatih Akin the new face of the German film industry. Of Turkish descent, Akin has no interest in the ghosts of Germany’s past or in facing history through films such as The Reader-which still attract large audiences and Oscar nominations in America. Akin finds his inspiration in the new Europe and in the lives of people like himself who are the rising generation of Europe’s immigrants.
Psychotherapy Supervision (2nd ed)June 9th 2009
who remarked that the problem with most new books he reads these days is that there is “too much space between the covers.” After all, he queried rhetorically, “Do I really need more than 250 pages or so on any one subject?” Days before this conversation, I had accepted an invitation to write a review of Psychotherapy Supervision and had received the 632-page tome by mail.
DSM-V: Applying the Medical ModelJune 9th 2009
In “Changes in Psychiatric Diagnosis” (Psychiatric Times, November 2008, page 14) Michael First relates the sad fact that the reorganization of DSM is still without formal guidelines and continues to be subject to the vicissitudes of groupthink and vocal constituencies. He relates that he and Allen Frances envisioned the application of biologically based diagnostic criteria when summarizing the work of DSM-IV, but complains that no criteria are forthcoming as yet.
Clinical Reflections: The Journey Out of MadnessJune 8th 2009
I first met 22-year-old “Linda” when she was brought to the emergency department (ED) after a drug overdose. Although the drug Linda had ingested-clonazepam-was a CNS depressant, she did not appear groggy or sedated. In fact, her speech was rapid and pressured; she showed marked psychomotor agitation, which was demonstrated by her twitching feet and the incessant twisting of her hair. This presentation suggested a paradoxical response to her medication. Her chief concern was, “I feel as if I am going to come out of my skin.” I was puzzled.
Every August, during my lakefront vacation, I kayak to the middle of Otter Pond, lay the paddle across my knees, and drink in the tranquil scene around me. Sunshine glints hypnotically off the rippling water. Every muscle relaxes, my cares recede. But this past summer, my annual reverie was interrupted by the shriek of a young child. “Let me out, let me out!” he cried, teetering halfway out of a passing paddleboat. “I want to swim back to the house!”
Female Sexual DysfunctionWhat We Know, What We Suspect, and Enduring EnigmasJune 8th 2009
From time to time, health conditions emerge that are relative “orphans” when it comes to having the resources of a health care discipline or subspecialty to take ownership or accept responsibility for developing the body of knowledge that underlies their systematic evaluation and treatment. Female sexual dysfunction (FSD) is such a class of conditions.
The study and treatment of human sexual problems should fall under the purview of clinical psychiatry. Sexual behavior is an important factor in most of our patients’ lives and may help define their sense of competence and serve as a force leading to interpersonal bonding
Textbook of Violence Assessment and ManagementJune 5th 2009
The foreword to the Textbook of Violence Assessment and Management promptly reminds readers that the mental health system has been invested in the prediction and prevention of violence since its inception. In a field dedicated to promoting wellness via the management of cognition, emotion, and behavior, violent thoughts, feelings, and actions are of primary concern. When psychiatric illness or psychological distress manifests as violence, the costs in terms of human suffering are extreme, wreaking havoc in the lives of patients, clinicians, and society at large-often with irreversible consequences.
Michel Foucault’s Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of ReasonJune 5th 2009
Psychiatry is eminently corruptible. Soviet psychiatrists of the 1950s disgracefully organized themselves into the medical arm of the Gulag state. Political dissidence became prima facie evidence of impaired reality testing, of “sluggish schizophrenia.” We like to believe in the benefits of scientific progress, but for Soviet inmates, progress was prefixed with a minus sign; every apparent advance in psychiatric technology left them more tightly controlled and worse off.
In the Year 2019: Psychiatry in Law and Public PolicyJune 4th 2009
Whether you credit the idea to Niels Bohr or Yogi Berra, it is true that predictions are very difficult to make, especially about the future. It is a daunting task, yet obviously an intriguing one, to try to imagine what our field will be like in 10 years or more.
From this book’s title, iBrain, I expected to learn about the positive impact of the computer world on the ever-evolving brain. I was in for a surprise. iBrain is a nuanced account of brain anatomy and function, brain plasticity, the impact-good and bad-of the Internet and Web access on the brain, and how to have a healthy brain and life in the face of our technological world. The book is written by psychiatrist-neuroscientist Gary Small, MD, director of the Memory and Aging Research Center at UCLA, and his wife, Gigi Vorgan, a film and television actor and writer. Small and Vorgan have a linear, easy-to-understand writing style that includes entertaining and educational case vignettes.
Eastern philosophy and religion have always had what the philosopher Hajime Nakamura2 called “a preference for the negative.” This stands in stark contrast to our Western penchant for the positive, and our proclivity for defining and intervening is most pronounced in the overactivist mode of modern American medicine."
Psych Advisory Panel Recommends FDA Approval of Some Uses of AntipsychoticsJune 3rd 2009
The FDA’s Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee (PDAC) flashed partial green lights to 2 manufacturers of atypical antipsychotics. The committee recommended approval for 2 new uses for Seroquel XR (quetiapine fumarate) extended-release tablets and also gave first-time approval in this country for Serdolect (sertindole).
Guideline on Post-MI DepressionJune 2nd 2009
Patients who have had a myocardial infarction (MI) should be screened and appropriately treated for depression, according to a guideline recently issued by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).1 The group recommends use of a standardized depression symptom checklist during hospitalization and “at regular intervals” thereafter.
Then he fell silent and moments passed. I knew, of course, about his father’s recent death and their stormy relationship. I was moved by his sadness-could feel it within. I found myself thinking about my own father’s death. The silence between us continued, and finally I said, “It is so sad.” His crying intensified; he did not look at me. I felt a teary mist in my eyes and thought, “Now what?” Should I try to stay inside where he was and reflect again on his sadness, or should I back away by offering him a more cognitive level of dialogue? This question-whether to move in or out or, perhaps more accurately, to offer him the choice of where he feels most safe-is at the heart of some forms of psychotherapy. However, as we shall see, this is not the case in all forms.
Make no mistake: Dr Torrey is on the side of the patient. He is enraged by the plight of the seriously mentally ill in the postinstitutional era, and he takes aim at a troika of villains-deinstitutionalization, the civil liberties bar, and the antipsychiatry movement. These 20th-century forces have conspired to relegate citizens with mental illness to a deplorable state of neglect that puts us all at risk. The Insanity Offense threads a needle of making us fear the violent mentally ill without stigmatizing them as a group.
Parting of the Ways: A Sea Change in Business as UsualJune 1st 2009
A collaborative effort of prominent medical leaders seeking to wean professional medical associations (PMAs) from pharmaceutical and device industry funding serves as a major step toward building best practice models for managing conflicts of interest (COI), said the president of the Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP).
A Physician’s Personal Experience-The Gift of DepressionMay 27th 2009
Depression is an insidious, ugly beast, creeping into the mind over time until one is engulfed and powerless, feeling only a sense of futility and heaviness. In my case it came some months after I had had to retire from a fruitful and enjoyable academic neurodevelopmental pediatrics practice, because of onset of a degenerative neuromuscular disease. My depression was manifested mainly by weight loss, poor affect, anger and irritability, fitful sleep, and thoughts of suicide. Luckily, my primary physician recognized the signs immediately and recommended both pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy. For both therapies and for this physician, I am extremely grateful. However, in this essay, I will speak of the ways I experienced psychodynamic psychotherapy and its ramifications into many parts of my life.
Pathological Anger, Existentially SpeakingMay 27th 2009
Anger is an emotion that is familiar to everyone. An episode of anger may dissipate quickly and harmlessly or evolve into a murderous rage. Between the benign and malignant end points in this spectrum, a seething, chronic anger may come to dominate a person’s thinking, feeling, and behavior.
APA and Pharma-Funded CME Part WaysMay 27th 2009
Following the recommendations of a working group set up to examine the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) relationship with the pharmaceutical industry, the Board of Trustees has voted to phase out industry-sponsored educational programs and industry-supplied meals at annual meetings and educational symposia.
Despite their severe physical impairment, disability, and frequent medical complications, tetraplegic patients reported a very positive outlook on life, according to a recent study. In another, 63% of major lottery winners chose to continue working full-time at their same jobs.