Doctors

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Many years ago, Paul J. Fink, M.D. was head of the American Psychiatric association, and made a remark in a speech which I have never forgotten, although I can’t find the text of the original speech.

He said something to the effect that prostitution and psychiatry had the same problem — the amateurs think they are as good as the professionals.

I can’t give any kind of a reasonable assessment of how this would apply to professional prostitutes.  It seems to me as if there is a tremendous amount of information available to anyone who seeks it with assiduity.  Besides, I am unaware of structured training, university degrees, or licensure or any kind of proof of skill for professional prostitutes.

As for psychiatrists, I am constantly amazed by how many people are unaware of what we really do.  Misinformation abounds in the media, films especially. Read more on Leave Medical Comments Out Of Politics…

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Huffing

Whatever job I take, my husband says I basically function as a teacher.  There probably is some truth in this, and I seem to be forever reminding people that the verb “doceo,” the Latin verb “to teach,” is the word that the English language word “doctor” comes from.

Most of us doctors have little time for the teaching function.  This is not exactly what insurance pays for.  The internet is an explosion of information that absolutely dwarfs the ancient library at Alexandria.  Although I wish more people would be more aggressive about finding and using that information, I understand there is so much information that people don’t know who to believe.

That is the place where people should bombard their doctors with information they want clarified. Read more on Huffing…

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We are in an era when all reporting — wire services, networks, whatever — looks the way tabloid reporting did when I was small.  Aggressive, emotional, mostly verbal renderings of disasters that are meant to strike terror into the heart of the reader.  Sometimes, something miraculous or near miraculous.  Once in a while in this constellation of stories there is something “inspiring.” We all need inspiration.  It is tough to define and highly individualistic.

I actually like this definition more than others: That “feeling of enthusiasm” that makes you “do” or “create” something. Read more on We All Need Inspiration — Here Is Today’s Dose…

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I am an expert on this — Anti-overweight discrimination.

First, from my practice.  I remember a woman in her forties I saw in Oklahoma for a routine antidepressant renewal who told me that she had a cardiac condition and had been to her primary physician (this is back in the prehistoric days when I took insurance) and he had told me it was her own fault she was overweight and she was risking her life by doing nothing about it.

She was not suicidal.  She told me she would never see that doctor again.  And she was not going to take any heart medicine. Read more on Anti-Obesity Discrimination and Obesity Treatment…

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Wait a sec … there are more women applying to college than men, and more women in college than men, so we have to attract more men and women have tougher admissions standards, and nobody seems very worried about this?

I think sometimes anonymity is a damned good idea, especially when you are selecting for intelligence, which is not a terribly bad idea in higher education.

When I was in medical school in France, everyone was assigned a “code number” for anonymity, and there was a ceremony for the “raising of anonymity” when the French medical school at Amiens (now known as “Jules Verne University”) found out that #38 out of 650 students in the “elimination examination,”  (as there were only 110 places for clinical students in the hospital) was myself, and they were lovely about all of this even though they were stuck with me for all of seven years. Read more on Gender Bias in University Admissions…

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Warning:  Daily use of aspirin can lead to side effects which may include total loss of impulse control, man boobs, toe hair, and third nipples.  Please consult your doctor before taking this and other over the counter medicine.

Well, not really. But your really should know the risks and benefits of anything you take, even if it’s over the counter, even if it’s aspirin. I have an early memory, and I cannot have been beyond high school or early college, for I was still going to Friday night services with my Parents-of-Blessed-Memory.  My father would not let me in the choir with the other retired senior types with weak voices; but, it seemed to amuse him to no end when I out sang them and the cantor from the congregation.  The cantor had some kind of a congenital dislocation of the hip and some kind of back pain and I don’t know what else.  My parents had discouraged my still premature medical curiosity and told me not to ask him. Read more on To Aspirin or Not To Aspirin; That Is the Question…

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The medicating of Americans for mental illness has continued to grow over the last decade.  And while that’s not exactly a news flash, I have seen no approach as fresh as the one taken by the folks at CrazyMeds”.

They are not doctors.  They are presumably patients or potential patients, then, just as some doctors are or should be.  Their approach is so fresh that I am amazed to notice the grain of truth in it.  This is the same way I felt when I visited the Psychiatry Kills” Museum in Los Angeles, operated by the Scientology folks.  They had a distorted view, but I saw where they were coming from. Read more on Psychotropic Drugs, According to their Users…

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I recently got hold of a copy of Dr. Atkins’ Vita-Nutrient Solution; a book by the same Robert C. Atkins, M.D. who invented the “Atkins Diet” –mainly known as the low-carb diet.  I was impressed by his general erudition and review of the literature.  He had even visited with various luminaries of alternative medicine.  Here was a guy who was capable of writing a pretty complete vitamin and mineral prescription for almost any chronic illness that was part of an internal medicine practice.

In a section titled “My Own Transformation,” he tells how, when he was devoted to mainstream medicine, he found a diet that worked for him and for most folks.  He had found it in the Journal of the American Medical Association, which is perhaps the most mainstream medical journal that exists.  He wrote his first book about that diet.  He was shocked when a consensus panel from the American Medical Association was critical. After all, he had been relying on medical literature which had been reviewed by peers and validated in every way that academics respect and deserve when they have done work.  He started questioning these professional “edicts” and found himself squarely in the world of nutrition-based therapeutics. I have believed for a long time that most psychiatric disorders, maybe all, are the result of a genetically transmitted limitation of the ability to metabolize nutrients.  There is plenty of evidence for this. Read more on Yes, Virginia — Cannabis IS Medicine…

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The psychological ability to adjust to chronic medical illness is an area where there has been very little study.  Lately, I find myself working mostly with this population of people.  I’m noticing that some adjust very well and some do it very poorly.  It depends on a lot of factors.

The situation is clearest when the illness we’re talking about is back or neck pain.  Back pain, more than neck pain, has been clearly correlated to the presence of major depression.  If a person walks into the office crying and says they’re having trouble controlling what’s going on, it’s a pretty sure bet we’re dealing with depression.

Most back pain patients aren’t prepared for the kinds of life adjustments they are required to make.  Generally, many will need to switch from a job that has involved lifting or other physical work to a job that is more sedentary.  Quite honestly, most back pain patients are in no way prepared to do this.  Mostly, this is because anything that is sedentary is going to require a higher level of education.  Most of the folks I’m seeing are not highly educated, so the back pain leads to incapacity. Read more on Adjusting to Medical Illness…

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I enjoy having friends, like just about everyone does. But that’s not why I’m in this business. When a patient needs help, I will do my best for them every single time.  And if a few colleagues get bruised egos along the way, so be it.

She was a 53-year-old woman, but I don’t think she even would have liked to hear me to refer to her as a woman.  We’re talking about someone who was short and stout and wore the kind of cap one would expect to see on a newsboy during World War I.  She wore a very male looking zipper jacket, and told me she had the name of the other woman to whom she had dedicated her life tattooed on the back of her neck.

Regardless of all this, her face was red and she was crying. She told me she was chronically suicidal and never thought about anything else.  Despite being medicated, her depression seemed to have gotten worse. Read more on What is there to Treat?…