Psychiatric Times Vol 26 No 8

National Academy Urges Changes in Screening and Treatment of Depression

August 11, 2009

A National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report urging a more coordinated approach to prevention and treatment of depression in parents-because of its impact on children-hit the streets just as Congress began considering legislation to reform the US health insurance system. The NAS report made a number of recommendations for changing the approach of both public and private health insurers toward depression, although the front-line troops expected to deal with the problem are primary care physicians, who already treat 70% of patients with depression.

Reality-Checking: Case in Point

August 11, 2009

As a standing member of the Editorial Board of Psychiatric Times, I read with particular interest the front-page story in the March issue, “Pharmonitor: Reality-Checking and Journalistic Integrity” by Editor in Chief Ronald Pies, MD. In it, Dr Pies pointed out that “disclosures do not guarantee scientific or journalistic objectivity and accuracy.” He set out the critical scientific questions that ought to be asked, and he promised that “Pharmonitor” would be “a reader-driven commentary . . . focusing on articles and reports in Psychiatric Times that the reader considers biased.”

Atypical Antipsychotics for Children and Adolescents With Schizophrenia-Spectrum Disorders

August 11, 2009

Although the onset of psychotic symptoms before the age of 13 years is exceedingly rare, the incidence of schizophrenia rises sharply after the onset of puberty.1 Only 1% of the population has schizophrenia and 30% of these patients experience an onset of psychotic symptoms by age 18 years.2-8 The period that precedes the onset of frank psychotic symptoms (ie, the prodromal phase) has not been well characterized in early-onset schizophrenia-spectrum disorders (EOSS), but retrospective reports have shown that symptoms include high levels of depression and anxiety, emerging cognitive and social deficits, unusual thought content, and (not infrequently) school failure.

A Response to the Charge of Financial Motivation

August 08, 2009

I had intended not to reply to the silly suggestion made by the DSM-V leadership that I wrote my critique out of financial motivations. I had expected that we would be conducting a useful discourse on the concrete issues and was surprised by the unenlightening personal exchange. Unfortunately, the DSM-V leadership refuses to discuss any of the substantive questions I have raised and instead, I am told, persists in the shallow rationalization that whatever I say is about royalties.

Marketing Off-Label Uses: Shady Practices Within a Gray Market

August 07, 2009

For pharmaceutical companies, off-label use of a drug represents a substantial “gray market,” to which the company is unable to sell their product directly, yet may be a significant revenue stream. Some drugs have been used more for off-label purposes than for originally approved indications.1

The Great DSM Debate

July 31, 2009

In a shot recently fired around the online world, commentary about the DSM-V process by Allen Frances, MD, has sparked heated debate that continues to reverberate around the psychiatric world.

Teenaged Brain: Part 1

July 28, 2009

This statistic is as familiar as it is startling. According to the National Comorbidity Survey-Replication (NCS-R), the peak age of onset for any disease involving mental health is 14 years. True for bipolar disorder. True for anxiety. True for schizophrenia and substance abuse and eating disorders. The data suggest that most mental health challenges emerge during adolescence. If true, this brings to mind an important developmental question:

DisFigured: The Making of a Movie

July 14, 2009

I wrote, directed, coedited, and financed DisFigured because it’s a movie I wanted to see. I’m not a woman and I don’t have an eating disorder, but the issues of appearance, control, isolation, and our complicated relationships with our bodies seem universal to me. They are also sadly underexplored or horribly twisted in almost every form of media. I am particularly aware of this because my wife Jenn is beautiful, graceful, stylish and-according to popular culture-fat.

Setting the Record Straight: A Response to Frances Commentary on DSM-V

July 01, 2009

The commentary “A Warning Sign on the Road to DSM-5: Beware of its Unintended Consequences” by Allen Frances, M.D., submitted to Psychiatric Times contains factual errors and assumptions about the development of DSM-V that cannot go unchallenged. Frances now joins a group of individuals, many involved in development of previous editions of DSM, including Dr. Robert Spitzer, who repeat the same accusations about DSM-V with disregard for the facts.

A Warning Sign on the Road to DSM-V: Beware of Its Unintended Consequences

June 27, 2009

We should begin with full disclosure. As head of the DSM-IV Task Force, I established strict guidelines to ensure that changes from DSM-III-R to DSM-IV would be few and well supported by empirical data. Please keep this history in mind as you read my numerous criticisms of the current DSM-V process. It is reasonable for you to wonder whether I have an inherently conservative bias or am protecting my own DSM-IV baby. I feel sure that I am identifying grave problems in the DSM-V goals, methods, and products, but it is for the reader to judge my objectivity.