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

Brain Organoids Show Predicted Epigenetic Effects in Autism

New evidence from cultured brain cells of autistics shows that over-expression of a brain growth gene is critical, just as predicted by the imprinted brain theory.

Best Practices in the Diagnosis of ADHD

Although there is no medical test for the diagnosis of AD/HD, the diagnosis should not be given without multiple diagnostic steps, which we explore here.

Childhood Sexual Abuse Taken Out of Context

Child sexual abuse is a big risk factor for a wide variety of psychiatric disorders. But why do some victims turn out one way, others a different way, and still others turn out without any disorders at all? So called empirical studies of child abuse are limited to such variables as who the perpetrators were, what did they do, and how often. There's a lot more to the story.

Why Your View of the Future Can Make You Depressed

Most people assume that if you're depressed, that colors your view of your future. New research turns that thinking on its head, showing that, for many, if your view of your future is negative to begin with, that can actually make you depressed. The flip side is that a positive view of your future stimulates greater mental health.

Putting Humanity and the Humanities Back Into Medicine

By Allen J Frances M.D. on July 28, 2015 in Saving Normal
The relationship between medical art and science is changing rapidly, with the science now overwhelming the art. Doctors more and more function like technicians, not healers. A knowledge of the humanities is crucial if doctors are to treat patients, not lab tests.

6 Helpful Things to Say to a Depressed Person

By Jean Kim M.D. on July 27, 2015 in Culture Shrink
How can well-meaning people provide support to someone with depression, aside from avoiding tendencies towards judgment? How can one head towards greater understanding and connect with someone who is suffering?

Psychiatry: The Step-Child of Medicine

What makes psychiatry unique in the realm of other medical specialties

Psychotherapy vs. Medications: The Verdict Is In

Both psychiatrists and psychologists devote their careers to helping people with mental health issues. As promising as neuroscience may be for helping researchers find clues to the brain, the real key to treatment lies in therapy, not drugs. Your best bet is to explore all options when you or your loved ones seek help.

Mental Illness and Families: Realigning Laws & Science

As the mother of a 22-year old daughter diagnosed with bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder, I have to scratch my head. With an 11-year old son who tried to commit suicide and later, as a teenager, reported hearing voices urging him to kill, Arlene and Robert had to have known James was ill and needed treatment.

Transgender? Or TrueGender?

Being transgender is not a choice. Transgender people don’t choose to cross over and live as the other gender. They are, and always have been, the other gender. They have never felt aligned with the gender assigned at birth according to anatomy. The choice they do make is whether to live as their true gender or live a lie. This decision can be a matter of life and death.

Attempting to Provide Care for Vulnerable Children

In a major study of children aged two to fourteen years in foster care, only 25% of children with severe behavioral needs received any services at all.

A Checklist To Stop Misuse Of Psychiatric Medication In Kids

By Allen J Frances M.D. on July 19, 2015 in DSM5 in Distress
The exponential growth in the use of psycho-stimulants, anti-depressants, and anti-psychotic drugs often harms children more than helps them. This Checklist to help clinicians think through the necessary steps before prescribing medicines.

Reviewing the Evidence for Mental Illness Being Epigenetic

The basic claim of the imprinted brain theory that gene expression is critical in neuro-development is vindicated by a new review of the data.

How the Brain Can Hear Voices That Don't Exist

By Guest Bloggers on July 17, 2015 in The Guest Room
Schizophrenic individuals who experience auditory hallucinations seem to hear voices emanating from within. Neuroscientists are investigating how and why this happens.

Negotiating Your True Worth

By Billi Gordon Ph.D. on July 16, 2015 in Obesely Speaking
Understanding what you are versus who you are in a world that understands neither.

New Book Tracks Myriad Ways Mental Health System Fails

Bonnie Burstow's new book tracks forces that cause devastation of people's lives in the mental health system

Open Dialogue: A New Approach to Mental Healthcare

By Neel Burton M.D. on July 12, 2015 in Hide and Seek
Guest blog by British psychiatrist Dr Tom Stockmann.

Protecting Kids from Psychiatric Drugs

Nelson Madela once said that “Any country, any society which does not care for its children is no nation at all.” At long last, some legislators are beginning to take Mandela's words to heart.

Creativity and Intelligence Leading to Psychosis and Autism

By Sandeep Gautam on July 12, 2015 in The Fundamental Four
Creativity and intelligence, though related, are opposites on a continuum. The same type of dichotomy exists between psychosis and autism and the underlying processes are surmised to be similar.

Brain Scan Predicts Best Treatment Approach for Depression

To be ill with depression any longer than necessary can be perilous. As a neuroscientist, I’m devoted to finding better, safer treatments for patients with mood disorders and other mental illness.

Reading Too Much Into the Real Face Book

We know that autistics have deficits in interpreting facial expression, but now we also know that, as predicted by the diametric model, people with schizotypal traits do the opposite and exaggerate facial expression.

Do Kids With ADHD Grow Into Adults With ADHD?

Most children with ADHD do not grow up to become adults with ADHD. Most adults with ADHD did not have ADHD as children. ADHD in youngsters and adults may really be two different illnesses that have similar symptoms.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Post Traumatic Stress?

Changing the name of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) to post traumatic stress (by dropping the word "disorder") is a movement by government and military to destigmatize this condition. However, this idea misses the point. PTSD is not a normal reaction to trauma which post-traumatic stress implies, but an actual disorder with serious symptoms and disability.

The Sep-Con Articulation Process in Creativity

The sep-con articulation process was discovered in extensive empirical investigations with outstanding literary prizewinners and Nobel laureates in the sciences. It consists of constructing or conceiving connection and functional separation concomitantly.The wide use in creativity, examples, and application do's and don'ts are specified.

What I Learned From 2,000 Hours Of Freudian Psychoanalysis

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on July 06, 2015 in Ambigamy
Everything I learned from long psychoanalysis, distilled to nine bullet points. Can you learn it just by reading the list? Probably not but you may be learning it anyway.

Psychiatric Drugs Are False Prophets With Big Profits

The underling theory of somatic psychiatry is that the source of human struggle is considered to be the brain itself, rather than the person. Treatments that follow from this simplistic, mechanistic, and reductionist notion have been to act directly on the brain, always with violating and destructive outcomes. This is now the tenet of the American Psychiatric Society.

The Secret Life of Melatonin

Melatonin is a commonly used over the counter sleep aid, but this hormone's effect on fertility and puberty are powerful and not fully understood in humans. Caution should be exercised before any chronic use or using melatonin in kids.

New York Times Best Seller Hoping to Bring More Awareness

By Judy L. Mandel on July 04, 2015 in Replacement Child
NY Times Best Seller Hoping to Bring More Awareness to Replacement Children

Orange is the New Bleak: What the SHU Can Do to Your Brain

By Jordan Gaines Lewis on July 03, 2015 in Brain Babble
What happens to the inmates of Litchfield Penitentiary when they're sent to the SHU? Not much; that's why it's so terrible.