Lesson learned: Not everyone is crazyLesson learned: Not everyone is crazy An excerpt from The Spattered White Coat: Intense experiences which formed a young doctor. I'll never forget one of the first patients I interviewed. When I went to get him, I could see him sitting in the waiting room, looking around and scratching his arms repeatedly. He was a very ...

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Polypharmacy, or use of multiple psychiatric drugs, for treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is on the rise. A recent study compared treatment with basic therapy (stimulants plus parent training) with augmented therapy (those two plus risperidone, an atypical antipsychotic). The study concluded that treatment with risperidone was superior. When children show dramatic improvements in behavior on risperidone, now being prescribed with increasing frequency for ADHD and a range ...

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Please don’t call call me a “prescriber.” Yes, I know it’s easier to say “prescriber” than “psychiatric nurse practitioner or psychiatrist.” The word “prescriber,” however, puts severe limits on what I can do and how I can help. You may believe that, because I have a license to prescribe medications, that’s all I choose to do. In fact, you may believe that’s all I know how to do. Psychiatrists can do a lot more than that. As ...

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study published in the journal Pediatrics showed that young fathers, those who became dads at an average age of 25 years, have a 68% increase in depression symptoms within the first five years of becoming dads. This applied to young dads who lived with their children and their wives or girlfriends. Dads who lived away from their children and older fathers did not show that same increase in rates of depression. ...

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Responding to a medical student in pain This evening, I read a post written by a woman who finds herself feeling alone, depressed, desperate, and afraid of losing herself as she goes through medical school. This post is my response to that woman. Dear colleague and friend, You are not alone. You are far from home. You are far from your family. You are far from the desert, the open ...

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“Am I a hypochondriac?” It’s a question I hear with quite some regularity, almost never from people who suffer from bona fide anxiety disorders related to their health. No, the fact that all you have is a simple upper respiratory infection -- the common cold -- instead of a potentially lethal strain of H1N1 avian flu does not qualify. Not when your response to my reassurance is relief. That’s completely appropriate, and ...

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I never understood the loss of empathy during medical training. Until now. It was 4:30 a.m., and I was on the side of the road, drenched in sweat and tears. I had finally slowed my breathing to normal. I was going to be late for rounds. No time to obsess over possible questions. No time to memorize lab values, or practice regurgitating them. I thought of home. My family and friend, who I hadn’t ...

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In his piece on Robin Williams, Andrew Solomon of the New Yorker states that every 40 seconds, someone commits suicide. Actually, it's every second of every day, as people choose the action, or inaction, that will end their lives sooner. When the patient with metastatic melanoma, who is quite capable of getting to the refrigerator, refuses to take food or liquids, she is taking her life. Her body will ...

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In every life we have some trouble When you worry you make it double Don’t worry. Be happy. It will soon pass, whatever it is. Don’t worry. Be happy. – Bobby McFerrin Much has already been written in reaction to Robin Williams’ untimely death, about his incandescent talent, his prolific career, his decency and kindness, his addiction and his mental illness. His death robbed his fans of many more years of his genius ...

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When I hear debate over the association between SSRIs (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, a class of antidepressant medication) and suicidal behavior in children and adolescents, I am immediately brought back to a night in the early 2000s.  As the covering pediatrician I was called to the emergency room to see a young man, a patient of a pediatrician in a neighboring town, who had attempted suicide by taking a nearly ...

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