Over the past couple of months, I have had the privilege of meeting with several colleagues in my community. When I contacted them, I offered to bring them lunch if they would give me a few minutes to share an idea about a project that I am really excited about. However, what I really wanted was a chance to engage with physicians who I knew little more than their name ...

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An article released in the JAMA sites evidence that the suicide rate in America has risen by 24 percent in the last 15 years associated with a significant reduction in the numbers of psychiatric beds available. The U.S. has had a lower capacity for psychiatric patients than comparable countries in Europe for years, but between 1998 and 2013 that number dropped even further. Waiting in the ER for days This ...

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As an intern, I once cared for an elderly gentleman who came in with heart failure. In no time, we grew fond of each other. It was almost like he looked forward to my visits. He sometimes called me “sunshine.” I am not sure if he meant it in a way that meant that I woke him up every morning.  He was almost ready to go back home when he ...

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Most third medical students look forward to their psychiatry block. After twelve plus hour days and six day weeks on internal medicine, OB/GYN and surgery, the reasonable hours on psychiatry seems like a dream. While my classmates viewed psychiatry as a break, I dreaded it. This was not my first time on an inpatient psychiatry ward. My world and fate forever changed when I was twelve years old. Sometimes depression is ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 26-year-old man is evaluated for a 3-month history of depressed mood, poor concentration, decreased energy, increased sleep, and weight gain. He reports missing many days at work and that his work performance has lagged. He has no suicidal ideation. He states that his current symptoms differ markedly from his usual state ...

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Chapter 1: Physiology “I am a brain, Watson. The rest of me is a mere appendix.” - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Bound by flesh and bone, therein lies a mystery of undefined potential which the cosmos cannot even parallel in mystery and in complexity beautiful and terrifying. It is that which allows movement to leave the study hall beneath the starry sky, professors to lull us to sonorous sweet slumber, to remember minute ...

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I was incredibly nervous going into my first day in the inpatient child/adolescent psychiatry unit. “Was this where the truly psychotic kids are? Am I going to be safe here?” I wondered as I casually introduced myself to the staff on the floor. After a morning of sitting in on group therapy led by psychologists and occupational therapists, I calmed down. Against the backdrop of the soothing soft pastel colors, ...

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In January, the National Academy of Medicine is launching a new committee to address the high rates of depression and suicide among physicians and other health care workers in the United States.  They plan to bring together medical professionals, educators and hospital administrators, and I hope they will also bring to the table professionals who have experienced burnout, and who may have attempted suicide due to burnout.  I say this ...

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I listened to a Planet Money podcast recently titled, Burnout.  It dealt with the origin and characteristics of burnout, and I would highly recommend it. You’ve all heard the term and have a vague knowledge of what burnout is, I’m sure. You may have experienced it yourself. It affects call center employees (as in the podcast), all sorts of service workers, doctors and other health care providers and countless others. Looking back ...

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Someone presented me with the opportunity to write a section on psychiatry for medical students. This is wonderful (an opportunity to influence future physicians!) and terrible (GAAAAH there’s so much in psychiatry!). Between thinking about psychiatry at multiple levels at work and thinking about the foundations of psychiatry while writing the section, I’ve felt cognitively impaired when thinking about what I should write here. But the thinking never stops … and ...

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