Psychiatry Essential Reads

Iron, Dopamine, and ADHD

Iron, a common mineral (and, paradoxically, a common mineral deficiency in humans) is important to the brain and vital for normal brain development and human behavior. It is a key cofactor in the making of neurotransmitters, chemicals in the brain that affect neuron signaling, including serotonin, norepinephrine, and especially dopamine.

5 Tips to Help Children Cope with Threats of Terrorism

Our country has constantly been on alert of terror threats and many families have to find the best way to talk with their children about potential crisis.

Are School Shooters Running Amok?

School shootings in the U.S. are similar in many ways to a SE Asian variety of sudden mass assault called “amok.” Does it make sense to think of American-style school shootings as a culture-bound syndrome?

Creativity and Psychiatric Illnesses

Small effects of many genes may increase the risk of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Some of these same genes may also contribute to creativity. Increased creativity may be helpful in terms of human evolution.

The Healing Waters

Nothing like a good shower.

Is Autism a Mental Illness?

The recent tragedy in Oregon has renewed controversy about what autism really is or isn’t. While often well intentioned, this debate is based on shaky scientific ground and may actually be making stigma worse.

Can Your Birthday Predict Your Mental Health?

Despite debunking the myth of astrology, however, scientists have found that a person’s projected health can be linked to his or her birthday. The month in which people are born can influence their future, from their longevity to their future profession.

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.

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.

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.

When Food Is Medicine

Doctors designed the dietary intervention of this study of older adults because they thought it wouldn't impact mental health compared to psychotherapy. They were in for a big mood-brightening surprise.

Now You See It, Now You Don’t: The Many Faces of Narcissism

Are writers on narcissism perhaps too quick to declare this core personality attribute dysfunctional? For in one way or another, narcissistic traits exist in us all. And those seriously lacking in narcissism—as in healthy narcissism—may be just as troubled, and have just as badly distorted a self-image, as those pernicious individuals “super-saturated” with it.

Does Your Bright Side Have a Dark Side?

We know that people high on psychopathy and related traits lurk in the “dark side” of personality, but what about its opposite? Having a “bright side” to your personality may sound positive, but it can create its own shadows in your life. See how you rate on these 13 typical qualities of the colorful (but still dark) personality.

Prions, Memory and PTSD

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has been described as a disorder of memory. It has become quite apparent that there are two types of memory in PTSD. The work of Eric R. Kandel forms the basis for much of what we understand about how memories are formed.

Can You Lose Your Eyesight for Psychological Reasons?

What is referred to as 'medically unexplained visual loss' or non-organic visual loss (NOVL), is reported to occur in 1 to 5% of patients attending ophthalmology clinics. In many cases it continues without improvement for an extended period.

What's Wrong with Antianxiety Drugs?

Recognition of the multiplicity of the brain systems that contribute to fear and anxiety disorders is the first step towards the development of better treatments.

Why Was the Movie Theater Killer Spared the Death Penalty?

Why was the insanity plea nullified in the movie theater killings in Aurora, Colorado? The answer is simple - because the carnage was so horrendous that there was too much public pressure in favor of the death penalty. There was no way the insanity plea would be allowed. Nonetheless, Holmes was clearly and incontrovertibly psychotic and delusional.

What Happens to Children with Behavioral Disorders?

Children with common behavioral disorders can have compromised abilities in everyday functioning when they become young adults. Adult function may be compromised even in those children who outgrow clinical childhood symptoms and syndromes.

Eating Disorders Online: Support or Triggers?

Much of the public learned about pro-ana and pro-mia websites from an episode of the Oprah Winfrey show back in 2001. When people go online for information and support about eating disorders, does what they find help or make them worse?

Brain's Response to Meditation

With meditation, you have the opportunity to become aware of what causes you stress and condition yourself to react differently. You can learn to let go of negative thoughts, events or interactions.

Still Alice? Still Alzheimer’s

By Joe Pierre M.D. on July 31, 2015 Psych Unseen
Is there anything nice to say about Alzheimer's disease?

Brain Organoids Show Predicted Epigenetic Effects in Autism

New evidence from cultured brain cells of autistics shows that over-expression of a brain growth gene is critical, just as predicted by the imprinted brain theory.

Childhood Sexual Abuse Taken Out of Context

Child sexual abuse is a big risk factor for a wide variety of psychiatric disorders. But why do some victims turn out one way, others a different way, and still others turn out without any disorders at all? So called empirical studies of child abuse are limited to such variables as who the perpetrators were, what did they do, and how often. There's a lot more to the story.

Putting Humanity and the Humanities Back Into Medicine

The relationship between medical art and science is changing rapidly, with the science now overwhelming the art. Doctors more and more function like technicians, not healers. A knowledge of the humanities is crucial if doctors are to treat patients, not lab tests.

Psychotherapy vs. Medications: The Verdict Is In

Both psychiatrists and psychologists devote their careers to helping people with mental health issues. As promising as neuroscience may be for helping researchers find clues to the brain, the real key to treatment lies in therapy, not drugs. Your best bet is to explore all options when you or your loved ones seek help.

Transgender? Or TrueGender?

Being transgender is not a choice. Transgender people don’t choose to cross over and live as the other gender. They are, and always have been, the other gender. They have never felt aligned with the gender assigned at birth according to anatomy. The choice they do make is whether to live as their true gender or live a lie. This decision can be a matter of life and death.

Reviewing the Evidence for Mental Illness Being Epigenetic

The basic claim of the imprinted brain theory that gene expression is critical in neuro-development is vindicated by a new review of the data.

How the Brain Can Hear Voices That Don't Exist

By Guest Bloggers on July 17, 2015 The Guest Room
Schizophrenic individuals who experience auditory hallucinations seem to hear voices emanating from within. Neuroscientists are investigating how and why this happens.

Brain Scan Predicts Best Treatment Approach for Depression

To be ill with depression any longer than necessary can be perilous. As a neuroscientist, I’m devoted to finding better, safer treatments for patients with mood disorders and other mental illness.