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

B Vitamins Play Important Roles in Mental Health Care

Are you curious about the role of vitamin supplementation in mental health? B vitamins may help reduce symptoms of alcohol abuse, depressed mood, cognitive impairment and dementia.

The Power of Wake

By David Hellerstein M.D. on September 22, 2017 in Heal Your Brain
College students commonly "get high and pull all-nighters." Can researchers study college students gone wild to treat depression and other disorders?
Department of Veteran Services

Challenges In Veteran Mental Health Care:

By Michael B. Brennan PsyD on September 22, 2017 in The War Within
Veteran disability rating system: what you should know.

Folate for Depression, Schizophrenia and Dementia

Are you curious about the evidence for folate supplementation as a treatment for serious mental health problems? Emerging research findings support its use.

Schizophrenia in a Vial? The Story of Ketamine

A back-of-the-shelf anesthetic induces all the symptoms of schizophrenia—but only in adults. What does this reveal about brain development and the nature of schizophrenia?
 Can Stock Photo/aleutie

The Problem of School Refusal

Most children look forward to the new school year with joy and enthusiasm. But for kids with school refusal, it is a nightmare for them and their parents.

Anger and Cancer: Is There a Relationship?

By Robert Enright Ph.D. on September 18, 2017 in The Forgiving Life
Might being overly angry put one at risk for certain kinds of cancers?

“Dad, I Think I Have ADHD”

By Marcia Morris M.D. on September 17, 2017 in College Wellness
The accurate diagnosis and comprehensive treatment of ADHD are critical because ADHD, if left untreated, can lead to poor school performance, driving mishaps, and substance abuse.

Low Brain Cholesterol—Separating Fact from Fiction

By Georgia Ede MD on September 17, 2017 in Diagnosis: Diet
How vegan diets and cholesterol-lowering drugs affect mood and memory.

The Salvation of Psychiatry

By Robert Berezin M.D. on September 17, 2017 in The Theater of the Brain
Psychiatry should be grounded in that quest for truth. It has, however, lost its way.The Psychotherapy of Character is precisely this unified field theory for psychiatry

Sorry, Your Therapist Can’t Be Your Friend

Your therapist cannot and should not be your friend. Here's why.

Answer Me This: Why Are Americans So Depressed?

By Stanton Peele Ph.D. on September 14, 2017 in Addiction in Society
We are growing more depressed, with young people in the lead, and our pharmaceutical response is obviously not working. How about psychedelics?

What Does It Take to Survive Emotionally After a Disaster?

Disasters bring out a variety of emotional reactions. New research shows the importance of dealing with your basic emotions in order to insure your long-term emotional survival.
Judy Tsafrir, MD

Copper Toxicity: A Common Cause of Psychiatric Symptoms

By Judy Tsafrir M.D. on September 11, 2017 in Holistic Psychiatry
Could copper overload be the cause of your depression, anxiety, ADHD, and poor immune function? Copper toxicity is a treatable condition, but you must identify it first.

Trends in the Treatment of Psychiatric Illnesses

The delivery of mental health care is changing in response to increased recognition of mental illness together with a decrease in the number of practicing psychiatrists.

‘Sonic Attack’ on the U.S. Embassy Likely Psychological

By Robert Bartholomew Ph.D. on September 05, 2017 in It's Catching
'Sonic wave attack' is more likely mass hysteria.

On The Evolution of the Serotonin Transporter Gene

By Emily Deans M.D. on September 04, 2017 in Evolutionary Psychiatry
If behavior can be predicted by genotype, we have ethical challenges for the future we can start thinking about now.

Is Vulnerability to Stress Coded in Our Genes?

By Emily Deans M.D. on September 04, 2017 in Evolutionary Psychiatry
The relationship between stress and depression is complicated, but some of it is coded into our genes.

Power, Paternalism, and Psychiatry

Some psychiatrists value the freedom and autonomy of their patients. Others see them merely as objects for control.

Lumping and Splitting: Balancing Connection and Safety

We live in an age of political splitting. From left to right, differences are highlighted, commonalities submerged. Individual and cultural health instead demands a balance.

3 Clues to Recognize Bipolar Disorder Mania in the Eyes

Bipolar mania affects the entire eye, from lids and lashes to pupils and color rings. Once you start looking for mania in the eyes, you can spot a person’s mania, or your own.

Folate: An Essential Vitamin for Good Mental Health

Are you curious about the role of folate or l-methylfolinic acid in mental health care? Many studies show that folate plays important roles in good mental health.

The Gay Revolution

By Neel Burton M.D. on August 30, 2017 in Hide and Seek
Attitudes to homosexuality have undergone nothing short of a revolution in the past five decades.

Voices: Overheard in Psychosis But Underheard in Autism

As predicted by the diametric model, auditory symptoms in psychosis are opposite to those in autism, and both are extensions of normality.

How Lithium Lowers Suicide Risk in Patients with Bipolar

According to one recent study, suicide could have been avoided in 12 percent of patients if they had taken lithium during the entire study period.
Elly Vintiadis

On Fighting Mental Health Stigma

By Elly Vintiadis Ph.D. on August 27, 2017 in Minding the Mind
We know stigma is bad, but why is that exactly? We need to be clear about that in order to effectively combat it.

Thomas S. Szasz: One Hundred Years Ahead of His Time

Thomas S. Szasz, M.D., was a psychiatrist who didn't believe in mental illness as a category of disease. A new book captures the essence of his life and ideas.
Pixabay, public domain

Are You Depressed? Start With the PHQ-9 Questionnaire

By Monica N. Starkman M.D. on August 25, 2017 in On Call
Think you might be depressed? Google will now direct you straight to a well-validated and private screening questionnaire.

Why Labelling President Trump as Mentally Ill Is Wrong

By Rob Whitley, Ph.D. on August 24, 2017 in Talking About Men
Four reasons why the petition calling President Trump mentally ill is deeply troubling.

The Microbiome-Gut-Brain Axis Relies on Your Vagus Nerve

By Christopher Bergland on August 23, 2017 in The Athlete's Way
An extensive scientific review concludes that the vagus nerve facilitates bidirectional communication along the gut-brain axis.