Psychiatry Essential Reads

How to Fix Broken Sleep

By Seth J. Gillihan Ph.D. on June 01, 2015 in Think, Act, Be
What works for insomnia might surprise you--and your doctor.

Happiness versus Success

Over the decades - as both a psychiatrist practicing in Silicon Valley and a civilian living here locally - I have witnessed so much success and yet so little happiness. In our valley of material riches and natural beauty, the two are regrettably too often in opposition.

Your Brain on Chocolate

Chocolate, a fermented extract of the seed pods of the Theobroma cacao plant, is one of the world’s most popular foods. Given the active caffeine, theobromides, and rich number of flavanols in chocolate, it’s no surprise that cocoa has been used as a medicine for at least 3000 years. Could it have beneficial effects on the brain?

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.”

What Happens When a Psychopath Falls in Love

The typical profile of a psychopath is of someone who is incapable of love. However, should people high in psychopathy manage to form intimate bonds, here's what can await them and their partners.

The Surprising News about Children's Mental Health

How mentally healthy are today’s children and teens? A comprehensive new survey shows that the current generation of young people are in better shape than we’ve realized. However, trends in medication use continue to draw concern by mental health experts.

Diametric Differences in Seeing the Other’s Point of View

Both tendencies to autism and proneness to psychosis induce perspective-taking errors, but their interaction reduces these errors: a finding only explicable by the diametric model.

April (and May, and Probably June) Is the Cruelest Month

By Steven Schlozman M.D. on May 11, 2015 in Grand Rounds
Depression and even suicidal behavior increase in spring. But why?

How Many People Take Benzodiazepines?

Benzodiazepines can be helpful in treating anxiety and insomnia. These medications are used more often by elderly adults than by younger people even though there are increased safety concerns with use by older individuals.

ADHD Kills

There was a two fold increase in death rates for those with ADHD.

Why We Still Need Mental Health Awareness Month, for Now

So it’s national Mental Health Month… Guest post By Aaron Krasner, M.D.

The Self "Loathsome Gluttony" of Binge-eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder (BED) is a new diagnostic category in psychiatry's DSM-5 although it was first described in 1959. Already pharmaceutical companies are heavily marketing their medications to this new population.

Analyzing Analysts

In Shrinks, Jeffrey Lieberman reviews psychiatry's "tumultuous history," and its current emphasis on the medical treatment of mental illnesses. He maintains that psychiatry fares best when it avoids the extremes of reductionist neurobiology and the psychodynamic element in existential disease. That said, Shrinks does not address important questions about talk therapy.

10 Tips to Change From Reactive to Proactive in Situations

All of us encounter experiences in life when we may be temporally overwhelmed by a negative emotion, be it anger, pressure, nervousness, despair, or confusion. In these situations, how we choose to “master the moment” can make the difference between proactive versus reactive, and confidence versus insecurity. Here are ten ways to be less reactive in difficult situations...

Breakup: How to Tell If You Suffer from Complicated Grief

Sometimes it is impossible to let go of grief. When you continue to grieve a loss, your condition is called complicated grief. Complicated grief is so severe that psychiatrists now consider it for inclusion in the psychiatric manual for diagnosing mental disorders. Here is how to tell if you suffer from complicated grief.

Parental Warmth: Simple, Powerful, and Often Challenging

Amidst all the chatter about parenting styles and techniques, it is easy to forget about the importance of warmth. This overlooked dimension is found to be critical to child development in study after study, so why don’t we give it the attention it deserves?

Recent Links Between Food and Mood

By Gary L Wenk Ph. D. on April 08, 2015 in Your Brain on Food
A poor diet that was high in saturate fats and caloric levels lead to depression. Fortunately, it is never too late to take advantage of the benefits of a healthy diet.

What If My Patient Is a Pilot?

By Robert Klitzman M.D. on April 05, 2015 in Am I My Genes?
The recently Germanwings airplane crash raises critical ethical dilemmas about what health care providers should do if they treat a pilot who has on-going symptoms that could impede flying. Should mental health and other providers violate these patients' confidentiality, and if so, when?

What's in a Name?

By Allen J Frances M.D. on April 05, 2015 in DSM5 in Distress
Diagnosis and empathy are necessary partners in any therapeutic relationship, fully complementary and in no way incompatible.

Madness in Civilization

Madness as a perennial problem, and the problems of contemporary biological reductionism.

The Backlash Against Psychiatric Diagnoses

Only in mental health does there exist the idea that we should avoid diagnostic terms if the cause of the suffering is great. This well-intentioned but misguided effort only alienates people further.

After the Germanwings Crash, 7 Lessons About Mental Illness

By Carrie Barron M.D. on March 30, 2015 in The Creativity Cure
Not all depressions are alike. Severe depression with psychotic features may elude a clinician as they are well masked or not present at the time of the exam. Symptoms ebb and flow, troubled people can be high functioning and we have much to uncover about the conditions of the Germanwings co-pilot.

Precision Medicine’s Cultural Limits

"Everyone is different." This is the fundamental tenant of Precision Medicine: to utilize this difference to improve outcome. Real life is more complicated, and there is a lot that is not yet worked out before this approach will yield benefits.

The Case of Claire Underwood

Two weeks ago, I used the character of Frank Underwood as a “case study” to illustrate the misunderstood psychiatric diagnosis of Antisocial Personality Disorder, and many of you asked: Well, what about his wife, Claire?

March Madness

By Jeffrey Lieberman M.D. on March 24, 2015 in Shrink Speak
Students and parents rarely consider that they might need mental health services during college and often urgently. For this reason, they would be well advised to include the quality and availability of mental health services along with traditional considerations as they decide on the college of their choice.

Children Who Kill Are Often Victims Too

Children who murder have often been severely abused or neglected and have experienced a tumultuous home life

Why Childhood Stress Crimps Academic Performance

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on March 18, 2015 in The Human Beast
Animals from an environment full of risk remain vigilant and avoid exploring their surroundings. This promotes survival but has the indirect consequence of reducing their cognitive ability. A similar pattern applies to humans and shows up as academic under performance.

No, There Is no Such Thing as ADHD

Understanding the interplay of temperament and trauma reveals the fiction of ADHD.

Close Encounters with Criminal Minds

By Katherine Ramsland Ph.D. on March 15, 2015 in Shadow Boxing
During the late 19th century a pathologist-turned-criminologist founded the technique of criminal autobiographies; from within the stories came deep truths.

Are You Having Enough Sex?

As a psychotherapist specializing in sexual and intimacy disorders, I can tell you that for a lot of individuals and couples the amount of sex they’re having (or not having) can be worrisome.