A Behavioral Approach to Mental Disorders

‘ADHD’ and Dangerous Driving

April 22, 2014

In 2006, Laurence Jerome, a Canadian psychiatrist, and two colleagues wrote a paper titled What We Know About ADHD and Driving Risk: A Literature Review, Meta-Analysis and Critique.  It was published in the Journal of the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in August, 2006. The primary result of the meta-analysis was: “Current data [...]

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Justina Pelletier: The Debate Continues

April 15, 2014

On April 1, 2014, Slate published an online article titled Mitochondrial Disease or Medical Child Abuse?  The author is Brian Palmer.  Slate is a daily, general interest web magazine, founded in 1996, that provides “analysis and commentary about politics, news, business, technology and culture,” and is a subsidiary of the Washington Post.  Brian Palmer is [...]

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Investigation of Dan Markingson’s Death

April 11, 2014

I have written on Dan Markingson’s death in an earlier post, and I encourage readers who are not familiar with the case to have a look. It is generally accepted by those of us on this side of the debate that psychiatry does more harm than good, and is organizationally and individually responsible for a [...]

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Psychiatry Fights Back – With More PR

April 10, 2014

About six months ago, I wrote a post called Health Care Reform and Psychiatry.  In that article, I gave a brief account of the APA’s Council on Communications, and I expressed the belief that the council seemed more concerned with PR (in the most tawdry sense of the term) than with any serious examination or [...]

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Antidepressants Make Things Worse in the Long Term

April 8, 2014

In June 2011, Rif El-Mallakh, MD, et al. published an article, Tardive dysphoria: The role of long term antidepressant use in inducing chronic depression, in Medical Hypotheses.  The article is a thorough and wide-ranging study review. Here are some quotes from the abstract: “Treatment-resistant and chronic depression appear to be increasing.” “Depressed patients who ultimately become [...]

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Justina Pelletier: The Case Continues

April 4, 2014

On March 25, Joseph Johnston, Juvenile Court Justice in Boston, Massachusetts, issued a disposition order in the case: Care and protection of Justina Pelletier.  The background to the case is well-known.  Justina is 15 years old. Judge Johnston did not return Justina to the care of her parents, but instead granted permanent custody to the [...]

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The Perfect Psychiatrist

April 1, 2014

On March 19, a new article was posted on Aeon Magazine.  It’s titled A Mad World,  and was written by Joseph Pierre, MD, who works in Log Angeles as a psychiatric practitioner and professor.  Dr. Pierre has authored more than fifty papers, and has received several awards.  He has lectured nationally and internationally, and would, [...]

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Psychiatry Misusing the Political Process

March 30, 2014

On March 27, the US House of Representatives approved by a voice vote with no debate a Medicare bill, HR 4302, Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014.  The purpose of the bill is to avoid cutting Medicare payments to physicians, and there was, and is, general agreement on both side of the aisle that [...]

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Benzodiazepines: Disempowering and Dangerous

March 27, 2014

I recently read an article by Fredric Neuman, MD, Director of the Anxiety and Phobia Center at White Plains Hospital, NY.  The article is titled The Use of the Minor Tranquilizers: Xanax, Ativan, Klonopin, and Valium, and was published in June 2012 by Psychology Today.  Thanks to Medicalskeptic for the link. Dr. Neuman opens by [...]

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Robert Whitaker: Looking Back and Looking Ahead

March 24, 2014

On March 5, Bruce Levine, PhD, published an interesting article on Mad in America  titled Psychiatry Now Admits It’s Been Wrong in Big Ways – But Can It Change? Bruce had interviewed Robert Whitaker, and most of the article is the transcript of this interview. Bruce begins by noting that Robert, in his book Mad [...]

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Involuntary Mental Health Commitments

March 20, 2014

The recent publicity surrounding the Justina Pelletier case has focused attention, not only on the spurious and arbitrary nature of psychiatric diagnoses, but also on the legitimacy and appropriateness of mental health commitments.  It is being widely asserted that these archaic statutes are fundamentally incompatible with current civil rights standards, and the question “should mental [...]

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DSM-5 And Somatic Symptom Disorder

March 17, 2014

Under DSM-IV, a “diagnosis” of somatization disorder entailed a history of physical symptoms for which, despite thorough medical evaluation, no satisfactory physical etiology could be established.  In DSM-5, this “diagnosis” was replaced by somatic symptom disorder.  This is essentially similar to DSM-IV’s somatization disorder – with one critical difference.  The newer “diagnosis” can be assigned [...]

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Thomas Szasz Refuted: I Don’t Think So!

March 14, 2014

On February 28, Awais Aftab, MD, a psychiatrist working in Qatar, published an interesting article on Psychiatric Times.  The article, which is titled Mental Illness vs Brain Disorders: From Szasz to DSM-5, is an attempt to validate the concept of “mental illness” and, in particular, claims to refute the position of the late Thomas Szasz, [...]

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Benzodiazepines: Dangerous Drugs

March 12, 2014

On February 25, Kristina Fiore published an article on MedPage today.  It’s titled Killing Pain: Xanax Tops Charts.  The article is based on a study conducted by Jann M et al, and published in the February 2014 issue of the Journal of Pharmacy Practice.  The study is titled Benzodiazepines: a major component in unintentional prescription [...]

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More Cheerleading from Dr. Lieberman

March 10, 2014

On February 28, our good friend, the eminent Jeffrey Lieberman, MD, President of the APA, published Politics of Psychiatry and Mental Health Care on Psychiatric News, the APA’s online bulletin. His co-author on this occasion is Patrick Kennedy, former Congressman from Rhode Island and co-sponsor of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act. The [...]

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Justina Pelletier and Boston Children’s Hospital

March 6, 2014

Justina Pelletier is the 15-year-old girl who is at the center of a dispute between her parents and the Psychiatry Department at Boston Children’s Hospital. Justina, who lived with her parents in Connecticut, had been diagnosed with mitochondrial disease, a rare and debilitating illness, and had been receiving treatment for this from Mark Korson, MD, [...]

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A Blood Test for Schizophrenia with 83% Accuracy?

March 4, 2014

INTRODUCTION An NBC online News article dated October 15, 2010, carried the noteworthy title New blood test may help detect schizophrenia.  Thanks to Francesca for the link. The article was written by Natasha Allen, a freelance medical journalist.  The gist of the article is that there is a new blood test called VeriPsych which “researchers [...]

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Neuroleptics and Tardive Dyskinesia in Children

February 26, 2014

There’s an interesting February 11, 2014, article on Peter Breggin’s website:  $1.5 Million Award in Child Tardive Dyskinesia Malpractice.  Thanks to Mad in America for the link. Here’s the opening paragraph: “On February 11, 2014 a Chicago jury awarded $1.5 million to an autistic child who developed a severe case of tardive dyskinesia and tardive [...]

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Psychiatry Still Trying to Reinvent Itself

February 24, 2014

There’s a truly delightful little piece in February’s Current Psychiatry.  It’s written by Henry Nasrallah, MD, and is titled Psychiatry’s future shock.  Dr. Nasrallah is Editor-in-Chief of Current Psychiatry. The gist of the article is that “transformative” changes are occurring in the psychiatric field, and psychiatrists had better get on board, or they will be [...]

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Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

February 20, 2014

TMS is a psychiatric treatment that uses a rapidly alternating magnetic field to induce electric currents in the brain.  These currents stimulate neurons, causing them to “fire.” When used repetitively, TMS is said to alter the excitability of the brain area that has been stimulated.  In the psychiatric field, TMS is being used increasingly as [...]

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Real Illness vs. Psychiatric ‘Illness’ – A Case In Point

February 19, 2014

On Monday, February 17, cannotsay, a regular commenter on this website, left a link to a White House petition on a recent post. The petition calls for an investigation into possible civil rights violations in the case of Justina Pelletier, 15, who is being held by court order in a residential unit in Framingham, Massachusetts.  [...]

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Drugging Our Children: A Book Review

February 17, 2014

  The 2012 book Drugging Our Children: How Profiteers Are Pushing Antipsychotics on Our Youngest, and What We Can Do to Stop It, is edited by Sharna Olfman PhD, and Brent Dean Robbins, PhD.  It is a collection of ten articles, plus an Introduction and an Afterword by Sharna Olfman.  Here are the chapter titles, [...]

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Genetic Protection Against Schizophrenia?

February 12, 2014

On November 12, 2013, Molecular Psychiatry published online Evidence that duplications of 22q11.2 protect against schizophrenia, by Rees et al.  The print version was published last month – January 2014. Here’s the authors’ summary: “A number of large, rare copy number variants (CNVs) are deleterious for neurodevelopmental disorders, but large, rare, protective CNVs have not [...]

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Psychiatry Embraces Patient-Centered Care: Dr. Lieberman

February 11, 2014

On January 29, the APA’s online bulletin Psychiatric News, published Psychiatry Embraces Patient-Centered Care, by Jeffrey Lieberman, MD, and Lisa Dixon, MD.  Dr. Lieberman is President of the APA, and chair of psychiatry at Columbia University.  Dr. Dixon is a professor of psychiatry at Columbia. Here’s the opening statement: “Psychiatry has long been considered the [...]

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Revitalizing Psychiatric Therapeutics?

February 10, 2014

In January of this year, Steven Hyman MD, former Director of NIMH and currently a leading psychiatric researcher at MIT and Harvard, published Revitalizing Psychiatric Therapeutics in Neuropsychopharmacology.  The article is in the journal’s commentary section and is essentially an opinion piece.  Here’s Dr. Hyman’s summary: “Despite high prevalence and enormous unmet medical need, the [...]

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Schizophrenia Research

February 5, 2014

Psychiatric News is the APA’s online bulletin.  On Jan 15, it ran an article by Vabren Watts (an APA staff writer).  The article is called APA Gives Schizophrenia Research Capitol Hill Spotlight. It is reported in the article that on December 12, 2013, the APA, together with the Congressional Neuroscience Caucus and the American Brain [...]

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Clubfoot – A Story of Hope

January 30, 2014

On January 27, NPR ran a short piece on a new treatment for clubfoot.  Here’s a quote from the transcript: “Just a decade ago, up to 90 percent of babies…were treated with surgery that usually had to be repeated several times. That created a buildup of scar tissue that often left patients with a lifetime [...]

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The Problem of Blame

January 29, 2014

On January 27, I posted Maternal Attachment in Infancy and Adult Mental Health.  In this article I reviewed a longitudinal study by Fan et al.  The main finding of the study was: “Infants who experience unsupportive maternal behavior at 8 months have an increased risk for developing psychological sequelae later in life.” In my article, [...]

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Maternal Attachment in Infancy and Adult Mental Health

January 27, 2014

There’s an interesting article by Angela Fan et al, in Comprehensive Psychiatry, October 28, 2013.  It’s titled Association between maternal behavior in infancy and adult mental health: A 30-year prospective study.  The data for this investigation were gathered as part of a wider longitudinal study. PROCEDURE Participants in the study were 1,752 babies born between [...]

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ADHD: Are We Helping Or Harming?

January 26, 2014

In November 2013, the British Medical Journal published Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: are we helping or harming? by Rae Thomas, PhD, Psychologist, Australia; Geoffrey K. Mitchell, MB BS, FRACGP, PhD, Professor of General Practice, Australia; and Laura Batstra, PhD, Psychologist, Netherlands.  The article is part of a series on the dangers of overdiagnosis. Here are some quotes: [...]

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DSM-5: Dimensionality: Conflicts of Interest

January 25, 2014

In DSM-5 – Dimensional Diagnoses – More Conflicts of Interest? which I posted on December 23, 2013, I drew attention to the fact that David Kupfer, MD, in his position as head of the DSM-5 Task Force, was vigorously promoting a dimensional model of assessment while at the same time was positioning himself to benefit [...]

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Dr. Lieberman Still Passing the Buck: Psychiatry Is Blameless

January 24, 2014

Jeffrey Lieberman, MD, President of the APA, has expressed concern about the rise in the number of people being assigned a “diagnosis” of ADHD.  He has put up a video on Medscape, Explaining the Rise in ADHD.  There is a transcript with the video. Dr. Lieberman is responding to a December 14, 2013, New York [...]

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New President of Royal College of Psychiatrists: Priorities

January 23, 2014

The Royal College of Psychiatry is the UK equivalent of the American Psychiatric Association.  On January 14, they announced that Professor Simon Wessely has been elected as their next president, and that he will take office on June 26, 2014. Dr. Wessely is an eminent psychiatrist who has been knighted by the Queen for his [...]

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SSRIs and Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN)

January 21, 2014

There’s a new study in the January 2014 issue of the BMJ:  Grigoriadis et al, Prenatal exposure to antidepressants and persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn: systematic review and meta-analysis.  Thanks to Nanu Grewal for the link. PPHN is a relatively rare condition.  The authors report that the estimated prevalence is about 1.9 per 1000 [...]

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National Hugging Day: Important Questions

January 20, 2014

January 21 (tomorrow) is National Hugging Day here in the US, and newspapers and other media outlets will be encouraging us to distribute hugs generously and indiscriminately.  We will be “educated” on the benefits of hugs, not only to our emotional well-being, but to our health and welfare generally. In my local paper, I came [...]

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Training Of Psychiatrists: What The Future Holds

January 20, 2014

Joel Yager, MD, is a Professor of Psychiatry, University of Colorado at Denver School of Medicine.  He started his career as a US Army psychiatrist in 1969, and has held a wide range of clinical and teaching positions in the intervening years.  He has received numerous awards, including lifetime achievement awards from the National Eating [...]

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Evaluating DSM-5: A Debate at Harvard

January 16, 2014

There’s a debate on this topic scheduled for 12:00 p.m., March 11, 2014, at Wasserstein Hall, Cambridge, Massachusetts.  The event is free, and open to the public. The debate is sponsored by the Petrie-Flom Center For Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School.  This is the same group that produced the recent [...]

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Antidepressants and Suicide

January 15, 2014

There was an interesting article, Antidepressant regulations tightened following suicide, in the Copenhagen Post on January 7.  Thanks to Mad in America for the link. It is reported that Danilo Terrida, aged 20, committed suicide in 2011 “…eleven days after he was prescribed antidepressants following an eight-minute-long conversation with a doctor.”  The doctor has been deemed [...]

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Is Psychology Going the Way of Psychiatry?

January 14, 2014

On January 7, Maria Bradshaw, co-founder of CASPER, published an interesting article on Mad in America.  It’s called Prescribing Rights for Psychologists, and it suggests that psychology as a profession may be falling into some of the same errors that enmire psychiatry. Maria makes some very compelling points, and focuses particularly on the fact that [...]

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Understanding Human Behavior

January 13, 2014

A couple of months ago I wrote an article concerning ECT which generated some controversy.  One of the issues that came up was the relationship between biological explanations of human activity and more global explanations, which, for want of a better term, I’ll call person-centered explanations. Any human activity can be viewed from different levels [...]

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