What is Psychiatry?

In its ongoing attempts to define, understand, and categorize disorders, and determine the best treatments, the medical specialty of psychiatry is always up against the protean complexity of the human brain. Both biological factors and environmental factors contribute to symptoms of distress, and the role each plays varies from person to person. Both psychotherapy and drugs are effective for most psychiatric disorders, and often a combination of the two works best, although the effects kick in on different timetables.

Recent posts on Psychiatry

Forgiveness: 3 Misconceptions

By Robert Enright, Ph.D. on February 18, 2017 in The Forgiving Life
Forgiving others can be misunderstood, preventing psychological healing.
Pavlen/iStock

The Prevention of Psychosis Relapse

By Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D. on February 17, 2017 in Brain and Behavior
How schizophrenia patients can employ frequent in-person check-ins.

World's First Clinical Trial Finds Diet Works for Depression

By Georgia Ede MD on February 17, 2017 in Diagnosis: Diet
Groundbreaking research proves that dietary choices have the power to help reduce and even reverse depression.

Early Brain Over-Growth Is Indicative of Autism as Predicted

The imprinted brain theory links brain growth to autism, and a new study confirms the association.

Alzheimer's Disease: Repeating Failures

By Mario D Garrett Ph.D. on February 15, 2017 in iAge
What we have learned from history is that dementia is complex; why are we simplifying the disease again?
Courtesy of John Torous

To App or Not to App

By Dora Calott Wang M.D. on February 13, 2017 in The Kitchen Shrink
American Psychiatric Association takes Leadership in the Wild West of Mental Health Apps

Diagnosing Donald Trump

What does psychiatric diagnosis add to political criticism of President Trump?

How Exercise Reduces Depression, Anxiety, Cynicism, & Anger

By Matthew MacKinnon MD on February 12, 2017 in Neuraptitude
Exercise may be on par with antidepressants and psychotherapy in the treatment of depression; it even benefits non-pathological mental states as well as reduces mortality.

Five Things You Should Know About Gender Trends on Campus

By Marcia Morris M.D. on February 12, 2017 in College Wellness
College aged adults are redefining what it means to be a man or a woman.
Pixabay public domain

Depression: A Psychiatrist Suggests Peanut Butter, Chocolate

By Monica N. Starkman M.D. on February 10, 2017 in On Call
Can peanut butter and dark chocolate help relieve depression?

A Simple Solution to the Bed Shortage? Unfortunately, Jail.

By Dinah Miller M.D. on February 10, 2017 in Committed
A new solution to a shortage of psychiatric beds: Send the patients directly to jail. (No criminal behavior needed.)

What “Counts” for Autism Has Been Dropping: Is That Good?

By David Rettew M.D. on February 08, 2017 in ABCs of Child Psychiatry
Compared to decades past, the diagnosis of autism now encompasses many more children with “milder” behaviors. This likely underlies much of autism’s apparent increase in rate.

Telomere Length and Depression

By Peter Bongiorno ND, LAc on February 05, 2017 in Inner Source
What can old shoelaces teach us about genetics and staving off depression?

Thoughts on Grof, Epilepsy, and Mysticism

By David Dillard-Wright Ph.D. on February 04, 2017 in Boundless
The boundaries between neurological disorder and mystical experience cannot be mapped neatly.

Sleep Disturbances Have Many Causes

Is chronic insomnia wearing you down? Learning about different kinds of sleep problems and their causes may help you find a more effective treatment.

Can Craving for Cocaine Be Blocked in Addicted Individuals?

Ketamine may significantly diminish craving for cocaine in addicted individuals.

The Importance of Speaking Out About Suicide

By Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D. on February 01, 2017 in Brain and Behavior
We can prevent suicide by being vigilant about friends and loved ones, and willing to openly discuss mental illness.

Clinician’s Corner: Understanding Culture and Therapy Use

Research consistently note that many African Americans may be reluctant to seek therapy. Therefore, it is important that providers understand how they can engage clients.
Public Domain

Depression: A Psychiatrist’s Recommendations for Self-care

By Monica N. Starkman M.D. on January 31, 2017 in On Call
Depressed? Here are techniques you can do yourself to help.

Trump Isn't Crazy

By Allen J Frances M.D. on January 31, 2017 in Saving Normal
I wrote the criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Trump doesn't meet them.

Why U.S. Presidents Should be Psychologically Vetted

By Clifford N Lazarus Ph.D. on January 31, 2017 in Think Well
In the United States, most responsible occupations require specific training, passing a licensing exam, and/or rigorous psychological screening. Why, then, not the presidency?

10 Things to Consider When Someone You Love Has Depression

Do you know or love someone who struggles with depression? Here are ten things to consider about their situation.

Why We Resist Change

By Ralph Ryback M.D. on January 25, 2017 in The Truisms of Wellness
The body’s inertia is an overlooked concept when it comes to understanding our inherent complex resistance to beginning a new diet or exercise routine.

Post-Traumatic Stress: Emerging Treatment Strategies

Are you struggling with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder? If medications aren't helping, complementary and alternative treatments can help you feel and function better.

Forgiveness Therapy and Empathy in Cases of Sexual Abuse

By Robert Enright, Ph.D. on January 22, 2017 in The Forgiving Life
Is encouraging empathy within psychotherapy always a good idea or can it be dangerous especially in cases of sexual abuse?

Virtual Reality and Dream Research

By Patrick McNamara Ph.D. on January 22, 2017 in Dream Catcher
Virtual reality environments may be used to influence dream content patterns

Seeing Is Believing: Religion, Madness, & Mechanism

Mentalism conflicts with mechanism in both religion and art.

Adolescent Depression: Early Mental Health Services Are Key

By Christopher Bergland on January 19, 2017 in The Athlete's Way
Young teenagers with depressive symptoms—who make contact with mental health services—are seven times less likely to develop major depressive disorders later in life, study shows.

Excitation and Inhibition: The Yin and Yang of the Brain

Understanding the balance between neural excitation and inhibition could be key to understanding many brain disorders.

Skunk, Wax, and Edibles: What Marijuana Is Your Child Using?

By Joe Pierre M.D. on January 18, 2017 in Psych Unseen
With increasing potency, modern forms of cannabis are "not your father's marijuana." What does that mean for kids?