Psychiatric Times Vol 26 No 7

Borderline Personality Disorder and Bipolar Disorder-Distinguishing Features of Clinical Diagnosis and Treatment

July 14, 2009

Since the inclusion of the borderline personality disorder (BPD) diagnosis in DSM, there have been multiple efforts to recast the disorder as part of an Axis I illness category. While the initial focus was on the schizophrenia spectrum, more recent authors have attempted to link BPD to mood disorders.

Inflammation, Psychosis, and the Brain

July 11, 2009

When the solution to a clinical or scientific puzzle eludes us for more than a century, as with schizophrenia, we need new methods to examine the pathology. If we want to make an impact on the disease we must shift research paradigms and focus on the early detection, early intervention, and new avenues of treatment that address different symptoms of schizophrenia.

PTSD Has Unreliable Diagnostic Criteria

July 10, 2009

Currently the Veterans Administration (VA) is the world’s largest recipient of per patient funding for PTSD. The VA treats 200,000 veterans with this diagnosis annually at a cost of $4 billion. But research calls into question the very existence of the “PTSD” syndrome, and its diagnostic formulation remains invalid. We do not minimize the suffering of those who experience trauma or the need for comfort and restitution. We seek only to reexamine research evidence, to clarify the impact of culture on diagnosis, to reevaluate the consequences of trauma, and to ensure optimal allocation of resources.

Delirium With Catatonic Features: A New Subtype?

July 10, 2009

Delirium has been recognized and described since antiquity. It is a brain disturbance manifested by a syndrome of diverse neuro­­psychiatric symptoms. Various terms have been used for delirium, such as acute brain disorder, metabolic enceph­alopathy, organic brain syndrome, and ICU psychosis.

Intense Debate Over Implementation of New Parity Law

July 10, 2009

New mental health coverage mandates going into effect in 2010 will force corporations and their insurance companies to adopt new utilization management protocols that could put the squeeze on psychiatrists.

PTSD Is a Valid Diagnosis: Who Benefits From Challenging Its Existence?

July 10, 2009

PTSD filled a nosological gap by providing a way to characterize the long-lasting effects of trauma exposure.1 This led to a plethora of previously lacking scientific observations. Now the existence of PTSD is being called into question because some of the original assumptions that helped make the case for it have proved to be incorrect.2-4 However, it is possible to update some of the flawed assumptions of PTSD without rescinding the diagnosis. There is no reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Stalking: The Veiled Epidemic

July 08, 2009

Through high-profile media cases and in film, the American public has had glimpses into the psychological phenomenon and criminal behavior known as stalking. But do these glimpses truly represent the types of stalking offenses that are commonly perpetrated? Academicians and public policy makers have only begun to focus attention on stalkingin the past 10 to 15 years. As is often the case, the dissemination of information relevant to treating clinicians often lags behind by many years. Thus, many mental health professionals have not been adequately trained to recognize stalking behavior and to treat those who perpetrate it.

The Challenge of Geriatric Pain

July 07, 2009

Persistent pain is not an inevitable part of aging, but it is, unfortunately, fairly common among those aged 65 years and older. Between 25% and 50% of the general geriatric population and 45% to 80% of those in nursing homes have this problem.

Complementary, Alternative, and Integrative Rx:  Safety Issues

July 07, 2009

Findings of a recent large population survey suggest that 1 in 3 adults in this country (approximately 72 million people) uses 1 or more complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) modalities during any given year.1 Many CAMs are widely regarded as safe on the basis of their established uses in traditional systems of medicine over centuries or longer and their current widespread use in the United States and other Western countries. Unfortunately, there is limited reliable information on potential risks associated with the majority of these approaches.

From Chaos to Consilience: Part IIWhat the New Mind-Body Science Tells Us About the Pathophysiology of Major Depression

July 07, 2009

We would suggest that psychiatry has spent so many years taking its diagnostic categories as God-given that it has become inured to the fact that these categories tell us very little about the etiology and fundamental nature of the conditions they purport to encompass.

Inside the DSM-V Process: Issues, Debates, and Reflections

July 06, 2009

Being a member of 1 of the 13 working groups of the DSM-V Task Force is, indeed, a unique experience. Having a large number of respected colleagues working diligently on areas that they have mastered with indisputable authority over the years is an intellectually fascinating experience.

Death of Psychiatrist and Other Soldiers Triggers Inquiry Into Military’s Mental Health Care

July 06, 2009

Alarmed by the rising suicide rate among soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and “wanting to help,” Matthew “Matt” Houseal, MD, a psychiatrist with the Texas Panhandle Mental Health Mental Retardation Center (TPMHMR), reenlisted as an Army Reservist and volunteered to serve in Iraq.

A Visit to Auschwitz: Reflections on Biology and the Psychiatric Sequelae of Political Violence

July 03, 2009

If I closed my eyes, it would have been easy to imagine that I was visiting a peaceful city park. The sounds of birdsong and children’s laughter rang in the air, and the odor of freshly cut grass filled my nostrils. But the sweet smells and soothing sounds belied the horror of the place where I actually stood-inside the wrought iron gates of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Holocaust’s most infamous concentration camp. Today the camp is a museum, and there is an eerie dissonance between the tranquility of its sprawling grounds and the mass murders that were carried out here almost 70 years ago. Like many visitors to Auschwitz, I experienced powerful emotions-a mixture of revulsion, anger, and a deep empathy for the millions of souls who suffered and perished there. I also felt a discomfiting sense of doubt about the goodness of humanity, including my own.

Thank you, Dr. Renshaw

July 03, 2009

After a stellar academic career of 44 years, Dr Domeena Renshaw has announced her retirement from Loyola University, where she has been professor of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences. We are sad to say that Dr Renshaw will also be retiring from the editorial board of Psychiatric Times, on which she has served diligently for many years.

Development of a Transdiagnostic Unified Psychosocial Treatment for Emotional Disorders

July 01, 2009

Research emerging from the field of emotion science suggests that individuals who have anxiety and mood disorders tend to experience negative affect more frequently and more intensely than do healthy individuals, and they tend to view these experiences as more aversive, representing a common diathesis across anxiety and mood disorders.1-5 Deficits in the ability to regulate emotional experiences, resulting from unsuccessful efforts to avoid or dampen the intensity of uncomfortable emotions, have also been found across the emotional disorders and are a key target for therapeutic change.

Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging: Round 2

July 01, 2009

This is the second installment in a 3-part series that discusses some of the mechanisms behind functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) technology. As you may recall, the genesis for this series was reactive…I got mad while sitting on an airplane reading a magazine article about how fMRIs can predict everything from product preferences to political inclination. The article hinted at something I have been noticing with increasing alarm-the confusion about what fMRI can and cannot reveal about information processing in the brain. I decided to write this series hoping that knowledge of the basic science behind fMRI technology could contribute to making more nuanced conclusions about the data it reveals.

APA 2009: Military Mental Health Topics at the Forefront

June 10, 2009

An array of military-related presentations were given at this year’s American Psychiatric Association (APA) conference, addressing the rise of psychiatric issues in returning veterans and their families.