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August 4, 2013 by Sandra Steingard, MD

Can Psychiatry “Re-Engage” with Pharma?

On August 1, Jeffrey Lieberman, M.D., the current President of the American Psychiatric Association,  wrote an open letter to Psychiatry News asking whether is was time for psychiatry to “re-engage with pharma”.

Dr. Lieberman asserts that although there are problems with the way the public perceives drug companies, he thinks it is time for psychiatry to re-evaluate  its connections to the industry.  He reports on a recent meeting of the American Psychiatric Foundation Corporate Advisory Council with representatives of 14 pharmaceutical companies.

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July 21, 2013 by Sandra Steingard, MD

Haloperidol is Neurotoxic

This is the headline of the editorial in the most recent edition of Current Psychiatry. It is written by Henry A. Nasrallah, MD, a prominent psychiatric researcher. This is one of the free journals sent to, I assume, every psychiatrist in the US. Although it says it has a subscription cost of $113/year, I know I have never been asked to pay. I assume it is supported by its advertisements, 18 pages of which in this 54 page journal were from drug companies.

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June 3, 2013 by Sandra Steingard, MD

Failures of the Medical Model

Recently I had dinner with several primary care physicians who had just read Anatomy of an Epidemic. They had heard of my interest in this book and they asked to discuss it with me.These are physicians I have known for many years and in my opinion they reflect everything that is good in medicine. They are dedicated, caring, and humanistic. But the conversation reflected for me everything that is wrong with the modern practice of medicine. Although there are the ways in which psychiatry is different from the rest of medicine, there are ways in which it is similar and I am not sure we can expect much to change if we do not address some of these similarities.

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May 20, 2013 by Sandra Steingard, MD

Thoughts on the Meaning of Neuroscience

Judith Shulevitz, the science editor for The New Republic recently wrote an interesting article on loneliness.It caught my eye because it started with a nod to Frieda Fromm-Reichmann, the psychoanalyst who was immortalized in Joanne Greenberg’s fictionalize memoir of her recovery from psychosis, I Never Promised You a Rose Garden. Ms. Shulevitz goes on to describe the field of loneliness studies from a psychological to a neuroscience perspective.

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March 31, 2013 by Sandra Steingard, MD

Optimal Use of Neuroleptic Drugs, Pt. II: The Monkeys Were Not Psychotic

I asserted previously that the impression of short term efficacy tends to be inflated. What I mean by this is that there is a general sense – within my profession and among the general public – that neuroleptic drugs are very effective. They are after all what allowed us to shutter our state hospitals. The folk narrative is that the main problem is not that they do not work but that people do not take them reliably so we should therefore put our efforts into getting people to stay on them.

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March 25, 2013 by Sandra Steingard, MD

Optimal Use of Neuroleptic Drugs: An Introduction

I have recently put together a talk in which I summarize my current thinking on the optimal use of neuroleptic drugs, primarily focusing on the treatment of individuals who are experiencing psychotic symptoms. In order to foster conversation on this topic, I will be posting the content of this talk in a series of blogs.

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March 3, 2013 by David Healy, MD

Do prescription drugs cause unwanted behavior change?

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February 27, 2013 by Bob Nikkel, MSW

A Fresh Perspective on the 2013 Selling Sickness Conference

This past weekend, I returned from an international conference called “Selling Sickness, 2013: People Before Profits.” The audience included academic medical reformers (the majority of whom were from the world of psychiatry), consumer activists, and health journalists–and a few, well maybe only one, former state mental health commissioner (me) who had never attended this conference in past years.The title well fits the reinforcement of my growing understanding of how not just the mental health field but medicine in general has been permeated at every level by an exclusive focus on “return on investment.”

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December 31, 2012 by Bob Nikkel, MSW

Look Out for Pharmageddon

One of the Foundation’s Board Members, Dr. David Healy, has written a powerful book, Pharmageddon. If you Google the title, you’ll find that on Amazon.com, it is paired with Bob Whitaker’s Anatomy of an Epidemic and I believe that is for a good reason. Both are well-documented books that anyone in the field of mental health should read and come to terms with. For that matter, everyone outside the field with an interest in modern medicine should put it on their reading list and get to it sooner rather than later. The issues raised are that important.

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