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

Controversies in the Classification of Psychiatric Disorders

Why are diagnostic criteria for psychiatric disorders always so controversial? Different groups want and need different things and reaching an agreement is difficult.

Long-Term Effects of Antipsychotics

Data support the long-term use of antipsychotics in persons with schizophrenia. However, less is known about the efficacy of long-term use for other conditions.

Adult-Onset ADHD Is Usually Something Else

By David Rettew M.D. on November 15, 2017 in ABCs of Child Psychiatry
Doctors are seeing increasing numbers of people presenting with what looks like adult onset ADHD. A recent study, however, finds that ADHD is rarely the cause.

Borderline Personality Disorder and Ability to Read Emotions

Being unable to decode emotions seems to be an inherent feature of borderline personality disorder but new research shows it’s not as inevitable as you might think.

Sex, Lies, and Autism Research—Getting Value for Our Money

By John Elder Robison on November 12, 2017 in My Life With Asperger's
In the past decade, we’ve spent over a billion dollars studying autism. Yet precious little has changed for autistic people. An autistic adult asks why, and offers some advice.
canstockphoto 8670714

Brain Fields, Complexity, and Consciousness

Complexity science provides a means to measure consciousness in coma and semi-conscious patients.

A Hidden Cause of Resistant Depression

By Emily Deans M.D. on November 12, 2017 in Evolutionary Psychiatry
Patients can suffer for many years with treatment-resistant depression. In one tantalizing study, a significant percentage were helped with a single vitamin supplement.
association for business psychology

An Unexpected Sight in the Rearview Mirror

By Lawrence D. Blum M.D. on November 12, 2017 in Beyond Freud
It is unusual, at age 75, to suddenly view more than 50 years of struggles in an entirely new light.

The Hypocrisy of Antipsychiatry

By on November 09, 2017 in Mental Illness as Metaphor
Coercive psychiatry and antipsychiatry are two sides of the same coin.
Altha Stewart, used with permission

A Historic Election

Is it about time?

Mad to Be Normal: A Review of the New R.D. Laing Biopic

By on November 06, 2017 in Mental Illness as Metaphor
A new film depicts the life and times of the revolutionary—and controversial—psychiatrist who shunned neuroleptic drugs in favor of a psychological understanding of schizophrenia.

The Eight Basic Qualities in All Personality Disorders

Personality disorders are complex and some believe they defy classification. A recent study shows eight interpersonal qualities that can provide new understanding.

#MeToo, Sexual Assault, and Mental Health

7 things you need to know about sexual assault and mental health.

Somatic Psychiatry in the Spotlight

Somatic psychiatry has taken over psychiatry. The fundamental and incorrect premise of somatic psychiatry is that the source of psychiatric problems come from defects in the brain.

The Psychology of Mass Shootings: How to See Red Flags

By Wendy L. Patrick, Ph.D. on November 01, 2017 in Why Bad Looks Good
Strategically planned mass shootings like Stephen Paddock´s Vegas massacre always have a motive, which will inform future investigations geared to violence prevention.

Tranquilizing Humanity into Oblivion

By on November 01, 2017 in Mental Illness as Metaphor
Modern psychiatry would be wise to heed the warning of Nathan S. Kline, the pioneering psychopharmacologist.

Can Artificial Intelligence Predict Suicide?

By Grant H. Brenner M.D. on October 31, 2017 in ExperiMentations
Suicide is notoriously hard to predict and a source of tremendous suffering. New work shows how machine-learning may provide a game-changing tool for determining suicide risk.

A Perilous Journey: The Plight of Unaccompanied Minors

What are the mental health needs of children who become refugees on their own?

Six Horror Films That Will Intrigue Psychiatrists

By Steven Schlozman M.D. on October 30, 2017 in Grand Rounds
Horror films don't always mix well with psychiatry. They can be stigmatizing and off-putting, but some films get it right. Here are six of those films for Halloween.

Five Questions to Decide if a Therapist Is Right for You

By David B. Feldman Ph.D. on October 30, 2017 in Supersurvivors
Although search engines make finding therapists simpler than ever, it’s easy to suffer from information overload. Five questions can help you cut through the confusion.
Pavlen/Shutterstock

Psychotic Symptoms in Marijuana Smokers

Marijuana can cause a temporary increase in psychotic-like states.

Causal Networks of the Brain in Depression

By Grant H. Brenner M.D. on October 30, 2017 in ExperiMentations
Advances in computational techniques move neuroscience forward by mapping out causality within functional brain networks.

The Sacred Trance

By Kirby Farrell Ph.D. on October 26, 2017 in A Swim in Denial
When a leader uses the idea of the sacred, the word can be inspiring or sinister. Psychology can help us determine which is which.

Police Need Training to Deal With Mentally Ill Offenders

Police training can benefit both police and individuals with mental illness.

Head Injuries and Psychiatric Symptoms in Football Players

Over 40 percent of ex-football players with chronic traumatic encephalopathy exhibited behavioral changes.

Electronic Etiquette in the Digital Age

The power of the Internet is due to its unique speed, ease of access, and reduced threshold to the world's most potent content.

Tips for Mindful Technology Use

The lost art of boredom: How smartphones are making us dumber.

Digital Distraction: Internet and Smartphone Addiction

The Internet and smartphones have been adopted in the U.S. at a faster pace than any technology since the start of the Industrial Revolution, and we can't seem to stop using them.

ADHD Is Now Widely Overdiagnosed and for Multiple Reasons

By Christopher Lane Ph.D. on October 20, 2017 in Side Effects
In the U.S. and other developed countries, there are now clear signs that child and adolescent mental disorders are overdiagnosed.