The Voice of Science to Houston Control

A psychiatric patient who throws a tray table has committed a criminal offense and may be the object of “lethal force.” Any concept that the symptoms of psychiatric patients may involve aggression and agitation – and should be the object of medical not police attention -- has been lost here.

What To Do for Those Truly Depressed Kids?

Psychiatry, as a field, has forgotten so much. But it’s the kids who are now paying a price for this.

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...

Kitty Dukakis’s Chronic Depression

It is wonderful to see science and reason triumphing over urban myths -- comparable to the anti-vaccine myths – that are toxic to public health. And it’s happening because of the engagement of non-physician volunteers such as the Dukakis’s and the Lutz’s.

Rethinking the Symptoms of Autism

The tragedy here is that, among that many symptoms of autism that are unresponsive to treatment, catatonic symptoms are highly responsive. Instead, many clinicians are still administering neuroleptics, which may make the patients worse rather than better. Medicine has the power to relieve illness, but switch a train onto the wrong track and it may just ignore the red flag

Is It Time to Rehabilitate Al Goldstein, Publisher of Screw?

Reflecting the conventional psychoanalytic wisdom of the day, Goldstein attributed all his problems to an overbearing mother and a weak father. This is nonsense. He had a biological brain disease, and much of the opprobrium that rained down on him reflected ignorance that at times he was simply out of control.

Where Does Desire Come From?

This is one of the big questions in psychology: When we experience sexual desires that are new to us, is it because our brains have just become activated for that particular desire, which slumbered latently all along?

Despite an Ocean of Medication Teenage Suicides Soar

Many observers are inclined to see a causal link here: the flood tide of medications may be causing teen suicides. I’m not so sure. What we’re seeing is probably not a paradoxical effect of medication but the undertreatment of depression.

Erotomania Haunts Female Tennis Stars

Erotomania may mean the fixed false idea that someone is in love with you, and that she is prevented from declaring her love. This could be dismissed as a relatively harmless though annoying belief, except for the fact that erotomaniacs can turn vengefully upon the love object after perceiving themselves as rejected.

Psychiatry Headed into the Future or Off A Cliff?

Two Chinese investigators, Ying Wu and Zhiguang Duan at Shanxi Medical University, have recently tried to assess highlights in psychiatry since the 1960s. They analyzed references in 85, 612 papers published in 10 leading psychiatry journals, using a variant of who-cites-whom analysis, to identify central issues. This is not a method of establishing truth but rather of te

A Beautiful Mind: What Did John Nash Really Have?

Nash was certainly delusional and evidently hallucinated as well. He filled the blackboards of Fine Hall at Princeton with indecipherable scribblings, and wandered about the campus in an apparent daze. He became known as “The Phantom of Fine Hall.”

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.

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.

The Coming Battle over Serotonin and Depression

There was never any valid scientific evidence showing clinical depression was associated with lowered levels of serotonin: It was all smoke and mirrors. But such is the power of Big Pharma – and such is the power of a good story – that many academics bought into it, and careers were built on the concept of lowered serotonin causing depression.

Did Copilot Andreas Lubitz Conceal His Illness?

Many patients with severe, melancholic depression dissimulate and pretend that everything is fine so that family and caregivers will not block their suicidal plans. This danger of dissimulation in severe depression is something that psychiatrists have always known about.

Delirious Mania?

On March 9, on a Monday afternoon in DeKalb County, Georgia, Anthony Hill, a black Air Force veteran in postdeployment from Afghanistan, removed all his clothes, slid down from the balcony of his second-floor apartment, and began walking.

Recent Changes in Sexuality

Women are increasingly comfortable with porn use--as are many others—given that porn viewing has become increasingly prevalent via the web. As a result, not only are women watching more porn, their comfort in so doing creates an increasing willingness to say so in a survey.

Dismantling “Major Depression”

Almost forty years after the publication in 1980 of the epic third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association, it is starting to become apparent that psychiatry made a historic mistake in getting rid of its traditional three or four depressive illnesses.

Chronic Fatigue in the Context of the History of Medicine

In the way that lives were once ruined with such toxic diagnoses as ovarian hysteria, lives today are ruined by CFS.

Depression as a Role for Women?

Today, we cluck about depression—and few realize that we are cultivating a culture that systematically invalidates women. If you are “depressed,” you aren’t a whole person. You have a disability, a handicap that disadvantages you vis-à-vis men, who generally are not depressed.

Fifty Shades of Grey

In the world of sex, there is indeed something new under the sun.

The Expansion of the Erotic Imagination

Some people will view these changes with horror. Others will delight in them. But there is no doubt that we are looking at the future.

Do You Have Adolescent Children? I Hope You’re Sitting Down

According to the latest statistics from the US government, in the years 2001-04, on a “lifetime” basis, half (49.5 percent) of all US adolescents aged 13 to 18 have a “mental health disorder.”

Psychiatry Celebrates Its Top-Ten Hits

In the current issue of the journal History of Psychiatry, Mark Micale, who teaches psychiatric history at the University of Illinois and is one of the most important international figures in the field, answers the question, “What have been the ten most important changes in psychiatry since World War II?”

The “Antidepressants” Work for Everything

On Oct 16 an enthusiastic piece was published in the Scientific American on “The Rise of All-Purpose Antidepressants.” It was simply thrilling, the author noted, that Prozac and its cousins turned out to be effective, not just in depression, but...

Breaking up Schizophrenia?

The road ahead may well be tough. Nature’s easiest secrets were discovered long ago. But we will never get there if we insist on studying schizophrenia as though it were a homogeneous entity.

Young Men Who Attack Soldiers and the Police

That’s the thing about delirious mania: It’s a beast to spot, until the boil bursts and the delirious attack commences. But one marker stands out like a sore thumb: a marginalized loner who converts to Islam. There’s trouble there.

Fifty Shades Puts the Transfer of Power on the Table

Fifty Shades is not just a curious sociological phenomenon to be mused over in academic seminars. With this kind of impact, it is like throwing a hand grenade into the sex garage. What has been the real impact of Fifty Shades on the sexual scene?

The Suicide of Robin Williams

The suicide rate in the US has been increasing, and as we struggle to come to grips with it. The concept of melancholia is now urgently requesting a seat at the banquet – because it’s what many people who commit suicide have.

Are Antidepressants Effective?

With 11 percent of all Americans on them, so much is riding on the effectiveness of the two dozen or so drugs now marketed as “antidepressants.” But are they indeed as effective as they are said to be?