Tag Archives | Psychiatry

Twenty Percent Of Americans Had Mental Illness In Last Year

A shocking statistic, made worse when you learn that 60% of the mentally ill did not receive any treatment. From MedPage Today:

About 20% of American adults reported having had a mental illness during the preceding year, a government survey found.

The figure rose to almost 30% of those in the 18 to 25 age group, compared with 14.3% of patients 50 and older, according to researchers from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

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And of the nearly 46 million U.S. adults who reported having had a mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder when surveyed in 2010, some 60% didn’t receive any treatment for the condition.

The most common reason for not getting mental healthcare was not being able to afford it.

The researchers noted that although the 20% figure is “relatively high,” just 5% reported having serious issues that interfered with their normal activities.

Although more of those with serious mental illness reported receiving treatment, a large proportion — 39% — didn’t receive any mental health services.

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Sex Addiction – A Real Epidemic?

Newsweek devotes some serious column inches to the “epidemic” that has made its way into popular awareness via notable celebrities such as Tiger Woods and Domenique Strauss-Kahn:

Valerie realized that sex was wrecking her life right around the time her second marriage disintegrated. At 30, and employed as a human-resources administrator in Phoenix, she had serially cheated on both her husbands—often with their subordinates and co-workers—logging anonymous hookups in fast-food-restaurant bathrooms, affairs with married men, and one-night stands too numerous to count. But Valerie couldn’t stop. Not even after one man’s wife aimed a shotgun at her head while catching them in flagrante delicto. Valerie called phone-sex chat lines and pored over online pornography, masturbating so compulsively that it wasn’t uncommon for her to choose her vibrator over going to work. She craved public exhibitionism, too, particularly at strip clubs, and even accepted money in exchange for sex—not out of financial necessity but for the illicit rush such acts gave her.

For Valerie, sex was a form of self-medication: to obliterate the anxiety, despair…

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Researchers Extol The Medical Benefits Of Magic Mushrooms

10704200_e19ddddf2aNot only that, but the researchers at John Hopkins say they’ve found the perfect dosage. Sadly, this looks to be one of those cases in which society lags behind science. Via Yahoo News:

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have been studying the effects of psilocybin, a chemical found in psychedelic mushrooms. Now, they say, they’ve zeroed in on the perfect dosage level to produce transformative mystical and spiritual experiences that offer long-lasting life-changing benefits, while carrying little risk of negative reactions.

The breakthrough could speed the day when doctors use psilocybin–long viewed skeptically for its association with 1960s countercultural thrill-seekers–for a range of valuable clinical functions, like easing the anxiety of terminally ill patients, treating depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, and helping smokers quit.

The Johns Hopkins study involved giving healthy volunteers varying doses of psilocybin in a controlled and supportive setting, over four separate sessions. Looking back more than a year later, 94 percent of participants rated it as one of the top five most spiritually significant experiences of their lifetimes.

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‘Knowing It in Your Gut’: Cross-Talk Between Human Gut Bacteria and Brain

Stephen "Gut-Busting" Colbert. Photo: Cliff (CC)

Stephen "Gut Feeling" Colbert. Photo: Cliff (CC)

ScienceDaily reports:

A lot of chatter goes on inside each one of us and not all of it happens between our ears. Researchers at McMaster University discovered that the “cross-talk” between bacteria in our gut and our brain plays an important role in the development of psychiatric illness, intestinal diseases and probably other health problems as well including obesity.

“The wave of the future is full of opportunity as we think about how microbiota or bacteria influence the brain and how the bi-directional communication of the body and the brain influence metabolic disorders, such as obesity and diabetes,” says Jane Foster, associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine.

Using germ-free mice, Foster’s research shows gut bacteria influences how the brain is wired for learning and memory. The research paper has been published in the March issue of the science journal Neurogastroenterology and Motility.

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Can You Improve Your Mental Health From Your Computer?

HAL 9000Via the The Economist:

The treatment, in the early 1880s, of an Austrian hysteric called Anna O is generally regarded as the beginning of talking-it-through as a form of therapy.

But psychoanalysis, as this version of talk therapy became known, is an expensive procedure. Anna’s doctor, Josef Breuer, is estimated to have spent over 1,000 hours with her.

Since then, things have improved. A typical course of a modern talk therapy, such as cognitive behavioural therapy, consists of 12-16 hour-long sessions and is a reasonably efficient way of treating conditions like depression and anxiety (hysteria is no longer a recognised diagnosis).

Medication, too, can bring rapid change. Nevertheless, treating disorders of the psyche is still a hit-and-miss affair, and not everyone wishes to bare his soul or take mind-altering drugs to deal with his problems. A new kind of treatment may, though, mean he does not have to.

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O Magazine Touts The Wonders Of Ecstasy

468019_0b823646bfThe Oprah Magazine comes out in favor of MDMA as a therapeutic wonder drug, attempting to dispel hysterical, ‘rave’-related media cliches (propagated by Oprah herself, among others) along the way. Writer Jessica Winter tried MDMA for the first time for the sake of the article, and describes the enormous personal benefit she gained in the weeks after:

To a layperson, the notion of using a drug like Ecstasy as a therapeutic tool for healing trauma might make as much sense as adding cocaine to a diabetic’s weight loss regimen. Ecstasy was the signature stimulant fueling a worldwide party culture in the 1980s and ’90s, epitomized by massive all-night dance “raves” crammed with blissed-out revelers and pulsating with electronic music at festivals and exurban warehouses across North America and Europe.

Yet MDMA’s beginnings were innocent, even banal. In 1912 it was included as an intermediate chemical in a patent that the German pharmaceutical company Merck filed for an antibleeding medication.

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God, The Army, And PTSD

An Army Chaplain's MemoirFrom a 2009 article in the Boston Review by Tara McKelvey:

When Roger Benimoff arrived at the psychiatric building of the Coatesville, Pennsylvania veterans’ hospital, he was greeted by a message carved into a nearby tree stump: “Welcome Home.” It was a reminder that things had not turned out as he had expected.

In Faith Under Fire, a memoir about Benimoff’s life as an Army chaplain in Iraq, Benimoff and co-author Eve Conant describe his return from Iraq to his family in Colorado and subsequent assignment to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He retreated deep into himself, spending hours on the computer and racking up ten thousand dollars in debt on eBay. Above all, he was angry and jittery, scared even of his young sons, and barely able to make it through the day. He was eventually admitted to Coatesville’s “Psych Ward.” For a while the lock-down facility was his home.

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“They Are Our Government, Our Leaders—They Cannot Be Crazy”

Regions of the brain associated with stress and posttraumatic stress disorder.

Regions of the brain associated with stress and posttraumatic stress disorder.

Are the Israelis repeating Holocaust traumas upon the Palestinians?  From the July 1992 issue of Washington Report on Middle East Affairs:

Dr. Jan Bastiaans, a Dutch psychiatrist, is an authority on the Holocaust syndrome, and has treated many survivors. In 1973 he wrote, “In recent years the Ka-tzet (concentration camp) syndrome has suddenly received general recognition…This concept is concerned with…pathological processes that occurred after the war in former concentration camp prisoners…The Ka-tzet syndrome is the expression of a permanent, chronic obstruction of sound human relationships. The victims are not free from the concentration camp…Behind their adaptation facade continues to live the child or adult of [that time] in all fear, in all misery, in all powerlessness.”

Dr. Haim Dasberg, an associate professor of psychiatry at the Hebrew University and medical director of the Ezrat Nashim Jerusalem Mental Health Center, has written extensively on PTSD and the Israeli army.

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Top 50 Psychiatrists Paid by Pharmaceutical Companies

An interesting look at the highest paid drug dealers in the psychiatric industry.  What is the price of a medical doctor’s immortal soul?  This list shows about $200,000 for the shrewdest players.  Escobar would be proud.  From PsychCentral:

green_pillsWho were the top 50 psychiatrists in the U.S. paid by the top seven pharmaceutical companies?

This past week, ProPublica, an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest, recently decided to answer that question by compiling a list of 384 physicians and health care providers who earned more than $100,000 total from one or more of the seven companies that have disclosed payments in 2009 and early 2010. Click here for the full list of 384 physicians.

We combed that list and found the top 50 psychiatry earners for the past two years (2009-2010). You can click on any name below to learn more about the physician.

According to an accompanying article to this data, ProPublic notes that “[p]ayments to doctors for promotional work are not illegal and can be beneficial.… Read the rest

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“I Was a Soldier”: Psychiatric Patient’s Letter to Jesus

This shattering note, in which a mental patient alludes to herself as being confined in a Nazi concentration camp, was recovered from the estate of a doctor who practiced at Willard Psychiatric Hospital, in Willard, NY. In its half-coherent, broken language, it poignantly expresses the crushing, all-pervasive hopelessness and regret of a mental health inmate confronting her mortality:
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“Dear Jesus,I am sorry I cannot help you. I tried to spread my grace because of the Britian Prophescy and the German Prophescy Due to cutterage of the Head, Heart, stomach and Reproductive Organs. I am no longer going to be living. I tried as a prophet and person. I don’t even want to be an animal. For what a person does to an animal. I wish to stay in my grave. And not rise again from the Grave.

I have seen too much to life. Now I am blind and deaf. And have lost my feeling too.

I am not Jewish but was put in a Nazi Concentration Camp. And haven’t been released. And I have sinned too. But the Master-Mind won’t let me forget it.

And I have losted my Christianity because of herorhim. – Master Mind…

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