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

We Psychologists Ignore Our Responsibility to the Public

The challenges, tumult and interdependence marking today's world calls for a new understanding of what psychological health looks like for individuals and society.

ADHD Commonly Co-Occurs With Other Mental Health Diagnoses

A recent study in Comparative Psychiatry examines AD/HD's common comobidities. Check it out.

Sitting Is the New Smoking and Mindfulness Is the New Black

The Aspen Brain Lab convenes experts on living life to its fullest

Stronger Drugs, Stronger Placebos

By Peter D Kramer on July 19, 2016 in In Practice
New research is elucidating the biological underpinnings of the placebo response. The results might enhance our appreciation of real—inherently effective—medications.

Risk of Relapse to Alcohol Drops After 5 Years of Sobriety

By Matthew MacKinnon MD on July 18, 2016 in Neuraptitude
New research reveals that a former alcoholic's risk of relapse after 5 years of sobriety is about the same as the risk of developing alcoholism in the general US population.

Atrocity in the City of Nice: An Act of Clinical Insanity?

In Europe, ‘lone wolf’ attacks quadrupled between the 1970s and the 2000s.

“Dad, if I Get a B I Feel Like I’ve Failed”

By Marcia Morris M.D. on July 16, 2016 in College Wellness
College students are under increasing pressure to be perfect - to maintain high grades, have a busy social life, look great, all while appearing calm and collected.

Does My Child Have a Psychiatric Disorder?

By Claudia M Gold M.D. on July 15, 2016 in Child in Mind
When parents are concerned about their child's emotional wellbeing, we need to protect time and space to listen without pressure to name the problem

Another Look at Psychiatric Diagnosis

Have you or anyone you know been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder? Peer behind the curtains of this system.
Courtesy BBRF

Will We Ever End the Stigma?

Our escalating mental health crisis and the stigma that abounds.
Philippa Gedge/With Permission

We All Want to Fit In

By Lybi Ma on July 13, 2016 in Brainstorm
But some people can't sandpaper themselves down to fit society’s expectations.

The Powerful Psychology Behind Cleanliness

Organization is a topic that's sweeping the internet. What is it about cleanliness that makes us feel so good? Here's a look at the science behind our need to be tidy.

Mental Illness, Violence, and Family Homicides

By Allen J Frances M.D. on July 11, 2016 in Saving Normal
Mental illness is not responsible for most violent crimes, but is a much bigger factor in the 4000 family homicides that occur each year.
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Your Voice Matters

By Susan Noonan MD on July 09, 2016 in View From the Mist
Do you ever feel your opinion doesn’t matter to researchers? One way to get it out there is through the Mood Network…

Is Mental Health Strictly Mental?

“Mental health” and “mental illness” mischaracterize neurodivergence by locating it as a problem, and a problem in the head, and nowhere else.

What Is Anxiety?

By Graham C.L. Davey Ph.D. on July 08, 2016 in Why We Worry
Anxiety-based problems are very common, and around 30-40% of individuals in Western societies will develop a problem that is anxiety related

Jupiter’s Moons and Childhood Bipolar Disorder

...Psychiatry has a different problem... from that of astronomers of the early 1600’s. Instead of an inability to see...phenomena...psychiatrists see phenomena that are not there.

Study: Some PTSD May Result From Blast Concussion

By Eric Newhouse on July 07, 2016 in Invisible Wounds
Researchers find a distinct pattern of scarring in the brains of soldiers who experienced concussive blasts and believe they may have caused post traumatic stress disorder.

Gambling, ADHD, OCD and Kleptomania

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on July 07, 2016 in In Excess
Papers in psychiatric journals have claimed that many of the characters in the Star Wars movies have underlying psychopathologies including pathological gambling, OCD and ADHD

A Possible New Class of Antidepressants

Recent advances in knowledge about the generation of new brain cells throughout the lifespan are leading to the development of new drugs to treat neuropsychiatric illnesses.

Not All Muslims? Not All Mental Illness Either.

Yes, moderate Muslims are too often painted with the same brush as jihadists, but people with mental illness are no more monochromatic than the Muslim world.

Mourning? - Yes. Forgiveness? - No.

I do not understand why the principle of forgiveness is held in such high esteem. The process by which we come to terms with the past is through mourning.

The Man Who Thought He Was a Cat

The true story of the boy who grew up thinking he was a cat.

Yes, Benzos Are Bad for You

By Allen J Frances M.D. on July 01, 2016 in Saving Normal
The benzos are dangerously seductive – easy and pleasant to start, but frequently addictive and almost impossible to stop. They do little good and cause much harm.

Cortisol and PTSD, Part 3

Recently, I spoke with Dr. Yehuda about cortisol, intergenerational transmission of stress, and the future of PTSD treatment and research. Here is part 3 of our interview.

Children and Antidepressants: The Question of Harm

By Christopher Lane Ph.D. on June 30, 2016 in Side Effects
The latest meta-analysis will intensify concern that antidepressants are ineffective and harmful.
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Trauma and Sleep I

By John Cline Ph.D. on June 28, 2016 in Sleepless in America
Psychological trauma has been an unfortunately common aspect of human history. One of the major impacts of trauma is the disruption of sleep.

The "Rock Bottom" Myth and the Shame It Brings On

By Adi Jaffe Ph.D. on June 28, 2016 in All About Addiction
Mental health labels can help us understand our clients, but they can also make us completely miss who they are. Here is a cautionary tale of one girl's difficult road back.

An MRI-Based Approach to Understanding Conduct Disorder

By Kevin Murnane, Ph.D. on June 28, 2016 in The Info Monkey
Covariance in the thickness of the cerebral cortex shows promise of improving both the theoretical understanding and clinical treatment of conduct disorder.

The School That Caught the Hiccups

A bizarre outbreak of hiccupping strikes students at two American schools near the site of the Salem Witch hunts