What is Psychiatry?

In its ongoing attempts to define, understand, and categorize disorders, and determine the best treatments, the medical specialty of psychiatry is always up against the protean complexity of the human brain. Both biological factors and environmental factors contribute to symptoms of distress, and the role each plays varies from person to person. Both psychotherapy and drugs are effective for most psychiatric disorders, and often a combination of the two works best, although the effects kick in on different timetables.

Recent posts on Psychiatry

Top 10 Things You May Not Know About the ICD-10

By Jonathan D. Raskin, Ph.D. on December 13, 2017 in Making Meaning
American mental health professionals are often quite unfamiliar with aspects the ICD-10, despite its relevance to their work. Here is some basic information to help them.

Can Ketamine Help Suicidal Children?

By Jack Turban MD MHS on December 12, 2017 in Political Minds
Early research suggests that the psychedelic drug ketamine may help suicidal children, but are there risks?

Our Youth Deserve Better

By J. Wesley Boyd M.D., Ph.D. on December 11, 2017 in Almost Addicted
Transition-age youth (age 18-25) are at high risk for mental health, physical health, and substance use problems, yet they are falling through the cracks due to the lack of service

A Possible New Treatment for Bipolar Depression

A six-week course of bright light therapy administered midday led to substantial improvement in 68 percent of persons with depressive symptoms associated with bipolar disorder.

Psychotherapy Is THE Biological Treatment

Psychiatric problems come purely from traumatic adaptations as digested by our temperament. Psychotherapy deactivates problematic brain mappings and activates healthier ones.

Global Mental Health Challenges and Remedies in Chicago

By  Stevan Weine, M.D. on December 07, 2017 in Cafes Around the World
Are there global mental health problems in our university's backyard?

Professional Self-Care to Prevent Ethics Violations

Little is known about the association between physician stress and ethical errors like boundary violations or lack of professionalism in the workplace.

Could an App Diagnose Your Memory Problems?

Could an iPad app diagnose you with dementia? Researchers believe it can.

Sunlight Is the Best Medicine

By Michael Terman Ph.D. on December 01, 2017 in Chronotherapy
Justice Brandeis remarked, “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.” It also helps cure people, as first observed in tuberculosis patients. It targets depression, too.

Making the Most of Rough Times in Therapy

By Susan Rako M.D. on November 30, 2017 in More Light
Is there any way to learn but the hard way?

Pregnant Women Struggle with Managing Psychiatric Medication

By Robert T Muller Ph.D. on November 30, 2017 in Talking About Trauma
Mentally ill pregnant women encounter inadequate information and stigma.

Why Does Trump Post on Twitter?

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on November 23, 2017 in Fighting Fear
A psychiatric explanation of why Trump tweets when it is not in his best interest to do so.

The Reality Sense in Dreams

By Patrick McNamara Ph.D. on November 22, 2017 in Dream Catcher
Sensory processing during REM may partially explain why we accept dream events as real.

Does Hormonal Contraception Raise Suicide Risk?

By Grant Hilary Brenner M.D. on November 22, 2017 in ExperiMentations
New research looks at how different factors related to hormonal contraception may affect risk of suicide, providing important information for clinicians and patients.
Judy Tsafrir MD

MTHFR, Methylation and Histamine in Psychiatric Conditions

By Judy Tsafrir M.D. on November 22, 2017 in Holistic Psychiatry
The MTHFR mutation does not mean that you need to take methyl folate. This common approach can contribute to worsening psychiatric symptoms as well as increase the risk of cancer.

Controversies in the Classification of Psychiatric Disorders

Why are diagnostic criteria for psychiatric disorders always so controversial? Different groups want and need different things and reaching an agreement is difficult.

Long-Term Effects of Antipsychotics

Data support the long-term use of antipsychotics in persons with schizophrenia. However, less is known about the efficacy of long-term use for other conditions.

Adult-Onset ADHD Is Usually Something Else

By David Rettew M.D. on November 15, 2017 in ABCs of Child Psychiatry
Doctors are seeing increasing numbers of people presenting with what looks like adult onset ADHD. A recent study, however, finds that ADHD is rarely the cause.

Borderline Personality Disorder and Ability to Read Emotions

Being unable to decode emotions seems to be an inherent feature of borderline personality disorder but new research shows it’s not as inevitable as you might think.

Sex, Lies, and Autism Research—Getting Value for Our Money

By John Elder Robison on November 12, 2017 in My Life With Asperger's
In the past decade, we’ve spent over a billion dollars studying autism. Yet precious little has changed for autistic people. An autistic adult asks why, and offers some advice.
canstockphoto 8670714

Brain Fields, Complexity, and Consciousness

Complexity science provides a means to measure consciousness in coma and semi-conscious patients.

A Hidden Cause of Resistant Depression

By Emily Deans M.D. on November 12, 2017 in Evolutionary Psychiatry
Patients can suffer for many years with treatment-resistant depression. In one tantalizing study, a significant percentage were helped with a single vitamin supplement.
association for business psychology

An Unexpected Sight in the Rearview Mirror

By Lawrence D. Blum M.D. on November 12, 2017 in Beyond Freud
It is unusual, at age 75, to suddenly view more than 50 years of struggles in an entirely new light.

The Hypocrisy of Antipsychiatry

By on November 09, 2017 in Mental Illness as Metaphor
Coercive psychiatry and antipsychiatry are two sides of the same coin.
Altha Stewart, used with permission

A Historic Election

Is it about time?

Mad to Be Normal: A Review of the New R.D. Laing Biopic

By on November 06, 2017 in Mental Illness as Metaphor
A new film depicts the life and times of the revolutionary—and controversial—psychiatrist who shunned neuroleptic drugs in favor of a psychological understanding of schizophrenia.

#MeToo, Sexual Assault, and Mental Health

7 things you need to know about sexual assault and mental health.

Somatic Psychiatry in the Spotlight

Somatic psychiatry has taken over psychiatry. The fundamental and incorrect premise of somatic psychiatry is that the source of psychiatric problems come from defects in the brain.

The Psychology of Mass Shootings: How to See Red Flags

By Wendy L. Patrick, Ph.D. on November 01, 2017 in Why Bad Looks Good
Strategically planned mass shootings like Stephen Paddock´s Vegas massacre always have a motive, which will inform future investigations geared to violence prevention.