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Latest Posts

How Can iPhone’s Siri Aid The Medical Professional?

Next week,  it will be my turn to write our article for the Clinical Psychiatry News website.  Over there, we try to have our writing more specifically aimed at an audience of psychiatrists.  I’m going to be writing an article on Siri and the Psychiatrist….in honor of my new iPhone 4s and the “personal assistant” function named Siri.  Okay, I’m obsessed.  Everyday, I find new things it can help me with.  Today, I asked it, “What’s the meaning of life.”  What, you don’t ask your cell phone the finer existential questions?  Siri answered, “All available evidence suggests chocolate.”  Wow!  How old is Liza Minelli?  65 years, 7 months, 20 days.  Calculate a tip? No problem.  Convert Celius to Fahrenheit?  A cinch.  And she takes dictation.  “Siri, please text Patient A Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Shrink Rap*

Americans Taking More Antidepressants Than Ever

Remember when the best-selling book Listening to Prozac came out almost 20 years ago?

Now Americans aren’t just reading about Prozac. They are taking it and other antidepressants (Celexa, Effexor, Paxil, Zoloft, to name just a few) in astounding numbers.

According to a report released yesterday by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), the rate of antidepressant use in this country among teens and adults (people ages 12 and older) increased by almost 400% between 1988–1994 and 2005–2008.

The federal government’s health statisticians figure that Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Harvard Health Blog*

Psychiatrist Wants To Know Your Thoughts On Bipolar Disorder

I’d like to ask your help for a moment.  I’m going to write a blog post for this week’s Clinical Psychiatry News on Bipolar Disorder.  I’d like to know how you see the term used, or the symptoms that are hallmarks of the illness for you.  If you respond as my favorite commenter, “Anonymous,” could I ask that you define yourself…psychiatrist, psychologist, pediatrician, patient with bipolar disorder, friend of someone diagnosed with bipolar disorder….

Also, please just off the top of your head, I can read DSM or Google myself, and I’m more interested in Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Shrink Rap*

Secretary-General On World Mental Health Day: We Must Invest In Mental Health

U N I T E D   N A T I O N S

THE SECRETARY-GENERALMESSAGE ON WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY: 10 October 2011
There is no health without mental health.  Mental disorders are major contributors to illness and premature death, and are responsible for 13 percent of the global disease burden.  With the global economic downturn – and associated austerity measures – the risks for mental ill-health are rising around the globe.

Poverty, unemployment, conflict and war all adversely affect mental health.  In addition, the chronic, disabling nature of mental disorders often places a debilitating financial burden on individuals and households.  Furthermore, individuals with mental health problems – and their families – endure stigma, discrimination and victimization, depriving them of their political and civil rights and constraining their ability to participate in the public life of their societies.

Resources allocated for mental health by governments and civil society are Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Shrink Rap*

Certain People Have Special Needs

Oh, we’re not kiddy shrinks, so this post is not really about children.  But I like the term, it implies that the person needs something more, that they have special– presumably increased– needs.  It says nothing about potential.  I use the term often, and sometimes with a bit of humor, to remind people that the playing field is not always level.  There are people who start any given race with a handicap– a learning disability, dyslexia, major health problems, mental illnesses, horrible childhoods, addictions — and these set them on a slightly different course.

Some people overcome tremendous adversity.  They function ‘as if’ they had no special needs.  They have stories that would let you understand if they didn’t do very well in life, stories that would explain burying their heads in the sand, or crawling under a large rock.  Sometimes these special needs people are Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Shrink Rap*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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