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


Countertransference in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy

By Leon Hoffman M.D. on February 19, 2018 in Beyond Freud
By recognizing the complex interplay between patient and analyst in the sessions, the analyst helps the patient understand the nature and origin of his/her maladaptive interactions

Mass Shooting and the Myth of the Violent Mentally Ill

By Elly Vintiadis Ph.D. on February 18, 2018 in Minding the Mind
Are mass shooters mentally ill? We should not assume that they are.

Parenting Effects on Children: What Is Your Parenting Style?

What is your parenting style? Data published in a new research study provides evidence on cultural variations in parenting.

The Shape of Bipolarity

By Russ Federman Ph.D., A.B.P.P. on February 17, 2018 in Bipolar You
Much of what is communicated about bipolar disorder doesn’t come close to conveying its complexities or subtleties.

Guns or No Guns for Those With Mental Illness?

By Kathryn Seifert Ph.D. on February 17, 2018 in Stop The Cycle
Another school shooting. What can we do?

Major New Study on "Sonic Attack" is Alarmingly Inaccurate

By Robert Bartholomew Ph.D. on February 16, 2018 in It's Catching
New 'sonic attack' study is unsound and seriously flawed.

5HT2A Serotonin Receptor System in Dreaming

By Patrick McNamara Ph.D. on February 15, 2018 in Dream Catcher
5HT2A may be responsible for both your dreams and your social success.

Do Psychiatric Service Dogs Really Help Veterans with PTSD?

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on February 15, 2018 in Animals and Us
A new study by researchers at Purdue University offers the first empirical evidence that veterans with PTSD benefit from having a psychiatric service dog.

Why Do Writers Write?

Over the years, theory upon theory has put been forth regarding the rationale for writers doing what they do.
Raquel Raclette/Unsplash

Psychiatry in Politics and Political Psychiatry

As scientific fields describing natural phenomena, medicine and psychiatry have the ability to serve as neutralizing grounds for politics.

Radical Changes in Psychiatric Diagnosis Are on the Horizon

Psychiatric diagnosis is still in the 20th century, but rapidly evolving tools leverage machine-learning and "big data" to begin to sketch out future advances.
F.J.Ninivaggi MD

"Asmita": An Eastern Perspective on Narcissism

Narcissism exists in the Himalayas as "asmita." Who knew?

How Psychoanalysis Helps: Part 2

By Leon Hoffman M.D. on February 11, 2018 in Beyond Freud
A major tool utilized in a psychodynamic therapy is what is labeled as addressing or analyzing the transference.

Therapist's Corner: When to Refer for Eating Disorders

Avoidance of talking about the food component is avoidance of what is needed to fully recover.

Indigenous Healing Psychology

Richard Katz narrates the evolution of his wisdom through encounters with some of the giants of psychology at Harvard as well as honored Indigenous healers in other cultures.
“Mania and Melancholia”/ Wellcome Library, London/CC BY 4.0

Has Medicine Lost Its Mind?

By Robert C. Smith M.D. on February 07, 2018 in Patient Zero
Your physician is not trained to treat your mental health problems, but the psychiatrist shortage is severe.
Harry Quan/Unsplash

A Psychiatrist’s Duty to Society

A physician must recognize responsibility to patients first and foremost, as well as to society.

Cannabis and Risk for Opiate Misuse

A prospective epidemiological study indicates that marijuana use is associated with nonmedical use of prescription opiates three years later.

What Underlying Brain Dysconnectivity Causes Mental Illness?

Stunning neuroscience research reveals a potential common cause for psychiatric illness identifiable in adolescence, and suggests avenues for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

Frightening Episodes of Child Abuse

I was thinking about the torture parents, David and Louise Turpin and their thirteen children, and Larry Nassar, the pedophile doctor who preyed on hundreds of innocent girls.
Charles Mayer/Penguin

Advice Not Given: A Guide to Getting Over Yourself

By Tara Well Ph.D. on February 05, 2018 in The Clarity
Mark Epstein, M.D., shares fascinating secrets to taming the ego in his popular new book.

Aziz Ansari, 100 French Women, "Witch Hunts" and Backlash

By Shaili Jain M.D. on February 05, 2018 in The Aftermath of Trauma
It dawned on me that a crucial piece has been missing from the public discourse about #MeToo: the hard-earned knowledge of scientists who have, recently, studied sexual harassment

How a Tiny Cluster of Deep Brain Cells Drives Avoidance

By Grant Hilary Brenner M.D. on February 05, 2018 in ExperiMentations
Neuroscientists have identified key cells in the deep brain which are activated by anxiety and selectively direct fear-based behaviors.

Helping Your Child After a Psychiatric Hospitalization

By Marcia Morris M.D. on February 04, 2018 in College Wellness
What should you do if your college student is in a psychiatric hospital? You can be a tremendous source of support for your child during this stressful time.

Have Scientists Found the Brain's "Engine"?

By Grant Hilary Brenner M.D. on February 03, 2018 in ExperiMentations
Studies of brain activation in monkeys tells us about how ancient deep brain areas control the overall level of activation in higher brain regions.

A DNA Marker For Paranoia As Predicted

A new study reports that imprinted genes on chromosome 15 are implicated in paranoia, just as the imprinted brain theory has predicted from the beginning.

Influenza and Your Psyche

By Steven Schlozman M.D. on February 02, 2018 in Grand Rounds
The flu can attack your psyche with impressive virulence.

5 Myths About Depression We Need to Shut Down Immediately

Here's why being clinically depressed requires no justification.

The Rapidly Emerging Psychiatric Fragility of Today’s Youth

A focus on building resiliency and developing stress management skills among youth are critical to avoid turning our institutions of higher education into psychiatric facilities.
“Doomsday Clock”/Ryanicus Girraficus

Our Collective Responsibility

At this critical juncture, psychiatry would do well to find its place in the larger community of human efforts.