How are you celebrating Mardi Gras?
PSYCHIATRIC VIEWS ON THE DAILY NEWS
Today is known as Fat Tuesday because it is the last day that many Christians eat meat and other fatty foods before Lent begins. The main Mardi Gras merry-making festivities occur in parts of the United States and some other countries. The cry is: Let the good times roll!
That got me wondering how this societal time and event might apply to psychiatry. What do we need to get rid of that would enhance our field?
1. End For-Profit Control of Medicine and Psychiatry! The escalation of for-profit managed care and related businesses has drained needed funds for treatment resources.
2. Reduce Our Epidemic Rate of Physician Burnout and High Suicide Rates! Systems of mental health care should have the goal of enabling clinicians to do their best, not to block our abilities to heal.
3. Start Making Psychedelics More Legally Available! The public is already increasing use of psychedelics, especially at lower doses. Ketamine clinics are popping up, and academic research suggests their unique therapeutic benefits, but only if used responsibly.
4. Take Outside Criticism Constructively! Whereas so-called antipsychiatry groups may be trying to “throw the baby out with the bathwater,” the baby being us psychiatrists, the point that psychiatric medication is being overused at times has some validity.
5. Engage More in Social Psychiatric Problems! Whereas the Goldwater Rule may usefully prohibit Freudian “wild analysis” of public figures, psychiatry can still be potentially valuable to understand and help resolve such social psychiatric problems as cultish thinking, war mongering, and xenophobia, perhaps with a social classification to complement that of the DSM for individual patients.
Like the groundhog, let’s come out of the background and proclaim an early springtime for psychiatry!
Dr Moffic is an award-winning psychiatrist who has specialized in the cultural and ethical aspects of psychiatry. A prolific writer and speaker, he received the one-time designation of Hero of Public Psychiatry from the Assembly of the American Psychiatric Association in 2002. He is an advocate for mental health issues related to climate instability, burnout, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism for a better world. He serves on the Editorial Board of Psychiatric Times™.