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

The Surprising News about Children's Mental Health

How mentally healthy are today’s children and teens? A comprehensive new survey shows that the current generation of young people are in better shape than we’ve realized. However, trends in medication use continue to draw concern by mental health experts.

TV Binge Watching Disorder

Hi, I'm Larry, and I Binge Watch TV

Is the DSM Turning into a Train Wreck?

Psychiatry is rapidly losing faith in the DSM. The National Institute for Mental Health has already rejected it as a symptom guide for research. The Europeans are openly skeptical. Yet the trainee psychiatrists are still obliged to memorize it and pretend that the DSM illnesses (“bipolar disorder,” “major depression,” and “social anxiety disorder”) are real.

#rednoseday: Mental Health is Social Equity!

By Ravi Chandra M.D. on May 20, 2015 in The Pacific Heart
Thursday, May 21 is the first Red Nose Day in the U.S. Here are some thoughts on what emotional problems are worsened with socio-economic inequity, and why.

Drugging Traumatized Kids: Lessons for Mental Health Care

By Claudia M Gold M.D. on May 19, 2015 in Child in Mind
Whether a child has experienced major trauma, or more ubiquitous adverse childhood experiences such as parental mental illness, domestic violence, or divorce, protecting space and time to listen to the story in the setting of trusting relationships is central to growth and healing

How Do You Think About Emotional Distress? Take the Survey!

What would happen if we could talk to a professional about the pain we're feeling without being boxed into the illness frame? Or choosing a diagnosis? What would we say? What would we learn? Participate in this national survey and be part of the discovery.

Can We Really Die of a Broken Heart?

Medical research shows that poets and songwriters are right--we can indeed die of a broken heart.

ADHD

Questions about ADHD for parents to ask psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists

Multiple Vitamins for Anxiety

Can a simple multiple vitamin be helpful to lighten the mood and calm anxiety?

A Contrast to Psychiatry: The ‘Hearing Voices’ Movement

Those opposed to classical psychiatric models claim that hearing voices may be a normal part of the human experience and that the diagnosis of schizophrenia may be unfounded.

When Someone You Love Has Mental Illness

In honor of Mental Health Month, we explore how to advocate for your loved one with mental illness.

Depression, Posture and the Role of Exercise

Can we alleviate depression through exercise and changes in posture and deportment?

Diametric Differences in Seeing the Other’s Point of View

Both tendencies to autism and proneness to psychosis induce perspective-taking errors, but their interaction reduces these errors: a finding only explicable by the diametric model.

Can Psychological Screening Prevent Pilot Suicide?

For every intentional crash there are hundreds of unintentional crashes. The money spent on a wild goose chase trying to keep a suicidal pilot from intentionally crashing would be better spent on training non-suicidal pilots to prevent unintentional (pilot error) crashes.

April (and May, and Probably June) Is the Cruelest Month

By Steven Schlozman M.D. on May 11, 2015 in Grand Rounds
Depression and even suicidal behavior increase in spring. But why?

Ending Stigma on the TEDx Stage

Stigma perpetuates mental illness. A passionately delivered TEDx talk informs viewers about 3 ways they can spread hope and create bright futures!

What is Love?

For Mother’s Day this blog will not address the pressing issues of psychiatry today. Suffice it to say that the harm done by the twin traumas of deprivation and abuse generate all the psychiatric struggles we are all subject to. This is the other side of the story - my appreciation for what I have learned from my wife.

Helping People Find Their Way

By Tim Carey Ph.D. on May 09, 2015 in In Control
The therapist’s job in MOL is to keep clients’ attention on the problem until they find their way home.

The Debate Over “Excited Delirium” Heats Up

To be clear, we have known since the early 19th century that there is a form of manic excitement, or “manic delirium,” that may end fatally.

Psychiatry Under the Influence

Institutional corruption is about the bad barrel rather than the bad apple.

The Anti-Psychiatry Movement

The 1960s and 1970s saw the growth of the Anti-Psychiatry movement. What was that all about? Where do we stand on some of these issues today?

How Many People Take Benzodiazepines?

Benzodiazepines can be helpful in treating anxiety and insomnia. These medications are used more often by elderly adults than by younger people even though there are increased safety concerns with use by older individuals.

ADHD Kills

There was a two fold increase in death rates for those with ADHD.

Voices

Voices is a beautifully rendered documentary on the lives of three people with severe, persistent, psychotic illness. For 56 minutes we enter lives upended by an illness, schizophrenia, which for these three led to substantial disability, homelessness and catastrophe.

Five Year Synthesis: Start Here Post

Simple whole foods, both plant and animal, are best for the brain for some obvious reasons and some you won't expect. Good food and good sleep are lacking in our modern world, yet our mental health can depend upon them.

Mechanics of the Placebo Effect

A look at how the placebo effect works

Torture and the Identity of Psychology

By Gregg Henriques on May 02, 2015 in Theory of Knowledge
The torture fiasco is partly a function of the APA being very confused about the identity of psychology and psychologists.

Mental Health Awareness

The month of May celebrates mental health

ADHD as a Continuum, Inside and Out

Some call ADHD a true brain disease while others call it pure nonsense. New evidence supporting the idea of ADHD as an extreme of normal trait variation demonstrates how everyone might be wrong.

Autism Spectrum Disorder: Do You Know the Facts?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that impacts the lives of many families.