Flowers and Trash

Ten years a go I heard Thich Nhat Hanh ( say that when he looks at a flower, he sees trash…. Didn’t get that until today… Amazing how long some things take to sink in.

Developmental Parenting?

We all know how important childhood development is, and quite a bit is known about adult development, but parenting as a developmental process is is not as well understood. What I mean is, just as children and adults progress through a series of well-characterized cognitive, affective, and physical stages, I believe people as parents do, too. Parenting as a developmental process has its roots in psychoanalytic theory. As that story goes, “normal” individual development consists of sequential transformations determined by interactions with the environment. But when development goes awry, we get “stuck.” In most cases, we get over it, but sometimes when our own kids’ developmental ebb and flow reminds us of our own early struggles, we become vulnerable to…
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Robert Whitaker, what’s your angle?

His book, The Anatomy of an Epidemic has made a splash and grabs the low hanging fruit off the psychiatric research tree (i.e., pathophysiology of depression still a “work in progress”), but you gotta wonder what’s underneath his curiosity…

Report: 20% Of US Adults May Suffer From Mental Illness Each Year.

Love epidemiology… the figures are amazing, we hopefully can reinvigorate our dedication to adequate treatment services in this country.. The Washington Post (1/19, Brown) reports, “About 20 percent of American adults suffer some sort of mental illness each year, and about five percent experience a serious disorder that disrupts work, family or social life, according to a government report released Thursday” by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). “The annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health sketches a now-familiar picture of a country where mental illness is common and the demand for treatment high.” For example, “mental illness is most prevalent in women, young adults, the unemployed and people with low incomes.” USA Today (1/19, Lloyd)…
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Psychiatry and Facebook

A few data points about Facebook… >500 million users 50% log on in a given day 36% of time on the internet 70% of Facebook Users outside the US Average User: 130 “friends” 80 community pages, groups, events 90 pieces of content each month > 55 minutes per day on Facebook There are clearly ways in which Facebooking connects people and may be “mentally healthy” but could it at some point start to shift our world towards isolation and discontinuity?? Something to think about.

Ketamine To Be Tested As Treatment For Severe Depression

Tis the week for street drugs to wind their way into psychiatric research labs… The ABC News (1/31, Katrandjian) “Medical Unit” blog reports, “Ketamine, a prescription drug that has been used as an anesthetic for decades and gained popularity on the street as ‘Special K,’ is being tested in Houston as a quick fix to severe depression.” Scientists “at the Neuro Psychiatric Center next to Ben Taub General Hospital are testing one infusion of ketamine for its short-term effects in treating depression.” Should the results of that study be successful, “a second study will administer ketamine three times a week to patients to test the drug’s long-term effects.” The piece also points out that the Food and Drug Administration has…
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Psilocybin Mushrooms May Help Treat Depression?

Hard to imagine but curious, indeed! Bloomberg News (1/24, Kitamura) reports, “In a study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 30 healthy volunteers took psilocybin intravenously and had their brains observed with magnetic resonance imaging scanners” and found that “activity in the medial prefrontal cortex, which is hyperactive in depression, was consistently lowered,” according to study researchers David Nutt and Robin Carhart-Harris of Imperial College London. In “a second study, to be published Jan. 26 in the British Journal of Psychiatry and conducted by the same researchers…psilocybin enhanced volunteers’ recollections of positive personal memories, compared with those who took a placebo.” “Prof Nutt believes that the drug could be used as an antidepressant and has…
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The Holidays are here, for many that means more stress – for some it brings welcome respite.  I think keeping to known schedules, rhythms, and habits despite visits and travels may help keep things steady.  Good luck!


For all those who fuel their mornings with coffee… The Washington Post (11/16, Huget) reports in “Eat, Drink & Be Healthy” that recent studies have highlighted potential health benefits of coffee. While the beverage can cause insomnia, heart palpitations, and acid reflux in some people, epidemiologist Alberto Ascherio, MD, DrPH, of the Harvard School of Public Health, “says that…strong evidence exists for coffee’s protective effect against type 2 diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. In the former, it appears that it may be something in coffee other than its caffeine that offers protection, as decaffeinated coffee has also been found to reduce risk. With regard to Parkinson’s and many other diseases and conditions, caffeine may be the key component,” he explained

Mental Health Parity

Making mental health care accessible is a critically important mental health initiative… looks like it’s been affordable in Oregon: Study: Mental Health Parity Laws May Not Lead To Higher Costs. The Portland (OR) Tribune (9/23, Korn) reports that four years ago, “Oregon instituted one of the country’s most ironclad mental health parity laws,” and new data reveal “that, despite the concerns of insurers, the increased mental health and addiction coverage has resulted in very little increased cost.” The research, “published in the September issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, compared more than 100,000 Oregonians between 2005 and 2008 whose insurance companies were subject to the new parity laws with almost 20,000 who were in self-insured plans, which are not…
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