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 Marketing of an Antipsychotic

By Christopher Lane Ph.D. on October 05, 2015 Side Effects
Ghostwriters, massaged data, tiny print, and children’s toys—all part of Big Pharma's arsenal of "defeat devices," outlined in Steven Brill's book, America's Most Admired Lawbreaker.

God, the Future, and Our Brain

By Joseph A Shrand M.D. on October 04, 2015 The I-M Approach
As we evolved, humans developed an ability to anticipate the consequences of our actions. This critical part of our survival brought with it an unexpected consequence: when we think about the future, we may think about our mortality. This fear may have contributed to our conception of a powerful entity to protect us after our bodies no longer can.

An Open Letter to the President from a Forensic Psychologist

By Stephen A Diamond Ph.D. on October 04, 2015 Evil Deeds
Dear Mr. President....As a forensic psychologist and an American, I empathize with your profound frustration, pain, sadness, disgust and anger regarding the most recent mass shooting on the campus of Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon this week.

The Psychology of Guns

By Joe Pierre M.D. on October 04, 2015 Psych Unseen
If meaningful gun reform is to ever occur, legislation much acknowledge the beliefs of the Americans who own guns.

Inside The Mind of the Mass Killer

Knoll wonders if the true solution to mass murder might involve a three pronged approach - better media responsibility over reporting these incidents, tighter gun regulation and improved mental health services.

How Popcorn and Toys were used to Sell Kids Drugs Illegally

The series of articles is a stark wake-up call to any parent who is thinking about drugging their child for behavioral problems.

The National Vietnam Veterans Longitudinal Study, Part 2

By Shaili Jain M.D. on September 30, 2015 The Aftermath of Trauma
Last week, I interviewd Dr. Charles Marmar about the implications of his National Vietnam Veterans Longitudinal Study (NVVLS) and about his 40 year career as a PTSD researcher. Here is the second half of our interview.

Antidepressants and Violence: A Link in Search of a Cause

A controversial study links higher youth crime rates with antidepressant use. Before making broad conclusions, however, it’s worth reading the fine print.

The Tipping Point and the Serial Killer

By Katherine Ramsland Ph.D. on September 29, 2015 Shadow Boxing
What's it like to befriend a serial killer? Martha Elliott offers her no-holds-barred account.

Fear the Walking Dead: Can Brain Parasites Make Us Zombies?

By Joe Pierre M.D. on September 28, 2015 Psych Unseen
Can brain infections really turn us into zombies? Research with the human brain parasite Toxoplasma gondii suggests that yes, maybe they can.

Is This the Kind of Country We Want to Be?

By Allen J Frances M.D. on September 28, 2015 Saving Normal
"Fraud, Theft, Waste and Private Profits: The Fate of Money Intended to Treat People With Serious Mental Illness” is an shocking report exposing a disastrous misallocation of resources that leads to shameful neglect, avoidable imprisonment, and massive homelessness.

The Pope Would Like H.R. 2646

Whether Pope Francis’ visit is a pastoral one or a political one, his messages of inclusiveness and humanity must be heeded. It’s long past time to demand that our federal legislators pay attention to the needs of citizens with serious mental illness.

September Is Suicide Prevention Month

A little bit of education can go a long way.

“God” in a Pill?

An underlying fantasy of those who rely on psychiatric medication—in isolation—without meaningful psychosocial therapies. And—if “God is in the pill,” then the devil must be in the side effects!

The National Vietnam Veterans Longitudinal Study, Part 1

By Shaili Jain M.D. on September 23, 2015 The Aftermath of Trauma
Recently, I spoke to Dr. Marmar about the implications of the NVVLS study and about his 40 year career as a PTSD researcher.

Mad Genius: Schizophrenia and Creativity

By Neel Burton M.D. on September 23, 2015 Hide and Seek
What, if anything, is the link between psychosis and creativity?

The Finger Trap Mystery: Part 2

Why does moving into trouble get you out of it?

Thomas Insel Leaves NIMH for Google

At NIMH, Insel brought in a big new program, Research Domain Criteria (RDoC), to investigate the biological underpinnings of psychiatric illness. This was very progressive: moving the field off the dead center of psychotherapy (where the Freudian hand still lay heavy when Insel took over in 2002), and shifting laterally towards science and away from psychopharmacology...

Beyond the Picky Eater

New research suggests that young children with more severe levels of selective eating may struggle with broader hypersensitivities and may be at risk for certain psychiatric diagnoses.

When Homosexuality Stopped Being a Mental Disorder

By Neel Burton M.D. on September 18, 2015 Hide and Seek
Not until 1987 did homosexuality completely fall out of the DSM.

Trauma Outpaces Our Ability to Adapt

Trauma is not some bizarre thing that happens to us and mysteriously sends everything off kilter. It is a violent extension of the routine processes of the brain, as to how we write our plays of consciousness through the limbic system. All throughout life, trauma defines the negative element of our environment. Trauma consists of abuse: sadism and cruelty; and deprivation.

The Truth About "Study 329"

By Christopher Lane Ph.D. on September 16, 2015 Side Effects
A major new study about a blockbuster antidepressant.

The Many Names of Bipolar Disorder

By Neel Burton M.D. on September 16, 2015 Hide and Seek
A short history of bipolar disorder.

The Real Reason Those Annoying Noises Drive You Mad

By Anna David on September 15, 2015 After Party Chat
For as long as I can remember, certain sounds people make have caused me rage. Turns out I'm not just intolerant; I have an actual disorder.

A Sense of Awe and Life Purpose Increases Your Mental Health

By Douglas LaBier Ph.D. on September 15, 2015 The New Resilience
Recent studies find that experiencing a sense being connected with something larger than yourself and having a sense of life purpose increases your overall wellbeing and mental health; and it promotes more positive, supportive behavior towards others. The studies add to the value of learning to step "outside" yourself, beyond your self-absorption with your own concerns.

Can Coffee Help Anxiety?

By Peter Bongiorno ND, LAc on September 13, 2015 Inner Source
Coffee is a definite "no no" if you suffer anxiety, right? Well, the effect of coffee on anxiety may not be so clear cut.

Shattered Families: Collapse of our Mental Health System

By Stephen Seager M.D. on September 13, 2015 BrainTalk
For those with serious mental illness, our care system has totally collapsed.

The Stigma of Mental "Illness" Part 3

By Joseph A Shrand M.D. on September 12, 2015 The I-M Approach
Why do we say someone is mentally ill when they are just doing the best they can? And when we clear someone of psychosis how do we manage their response to the time they lost? Read this final installment of this three-part story to find out.

Apples, Oranges, and Metatheory

This article utilizes an example regarding the concrete existence of "apples" and "oranges" as compared to the concept of "fruit". Psychosis, like apples and oranges, has a visceral and immediate quality, and the actuality of brain chemistry regarding psychosis is a metatheory that subsumes the "theories" of psychotic individuals.