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I heard it long ago, when I was early in my training, at some big international psychopharmacology meeting so I reproduce it here. “What people really want is an on-off switch.” Most people seem to get through life pushing the envelope only minimally.  A few cups of coffee in the morning helps promote “alertness.” A drink or two with the guys after work helps to “wind down” on the way home. Neither of these decisions is harmless. Although there are indeed some beneficial compounds in some forms of alcohol, I have come to believe that civilization has taken a poor turn in validating its use for a very long time.

Read more on Addictive Drugs and Questions They Raise…

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When I was little, I relished trips to my aunt Sadie and uncle Irving’s farm.  There were many reasons, including the freedom to run free with my brother in the sweet-smelling grass, in the country air.

The best reasons, however, were the chickens. Read more on I Have Always Loved Chickens…

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Every honest and complete psychiatric evaluation includes screening for delusions. A delusion is a strongly held belief that is totally without basis in the factual reality that we all use to live our daily lives. I have taken care of several people, institutionalized and not, who have had such beliefs.  Medications known as “antipsychotics” can be very effective on the hallucinations — the hearing voices and seeing things and such — that are the hallmark of a lack of mental “normalcy” as is generally expected and accepted in the community. The same medications may be less effective on these delusions, these beliefs.  Sometimes, in a particular kind of delusion, a kind that hits folks somewhere between 18 and 90 (average age 40) where there are no hallucinations, just beliefs.  They are less frequent.  They are also hard to treat, with antipsychotic medicines working maybe about half the time — in those who can actually be convinced to take them. Read more on Screening For Delusions…

Filed under Diagnosis, Mental Illness, News by on . Comment#

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Why people are obsessed with the Kardashians? I have not followed them in the slightest. I am obsessed about knowledge — how to apply it to helping humans (my favorite species) have happier lives through scientific knowledge. I was very surprised when I heard two professionals — a man and a woman whose knowledge I respect — gushing about how much they loved the Kardashians. I wanted to know why. I admitted to them that I was, perhaps, just a little bit, well, jealous. My patients mostly seem to like me well enough, and some even say the love me.  But I did not understand how or why people could “gush” about loving the Kardashians. My friends came to the rescue.  They told me, step by step, the things that the Kardashians had done to make them so “lovable.”  They thought I could replicate the process. Of course, me being me, I tried to find all that I could in the neuroscience and (more) the psychological literature, to figure out what worked, and why — and what they may have forgotten to tell me. Read more on Cashing In On The Kardashians…

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Congratulations are in order for Senator John McCain,a Vietnam veteran, and his Arizona colleague Senator Flake (I refuse to comment on HIS name) for pointing out to America that the Department of Defense is paying the NFL for demonstrations of patriotism. Here is the Washington Post article that my ever vigilant (and unabashedly patriotic) husband used to notify me of this wildly newsworthy knowledge.

Filed under Family, News, politics, war by on . Comment#

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“Dr. Goldstein; you aren’t going to sit there and tell me you believe in love, are you?”

I started nodding. slowly, trying to think quickly of what to say.  Soon to celebrate a quarter of a century–twenty five years, married to a guy I am actually crazier about now than I was the day I met him.

Read more on The Ultimate Valentine’s Gift — Happiness!…

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She asked me to help with her weight problem. At 25 years old, she could not have been more than 25 pounds overweight.

“I need a pill to make me stop eating lasagna,” she told me.

I went into my maternal mode.  “Oh no, my dear, that is not a really good thing to do.”  I explained patiently that if she were hungry enough for her hunger to wake her at 6:30 in the morning and propel her to the preparation and consumption of microwave lasagna, she was probably hypoglycemic and she needed enough protein snacks in the evening to maintain her blood sugar in the morning. Read more on A Pill To Make Me Stop Eating Lasagna…

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It happened several years ago, when one of the immigrants of Mexican origin I frequently saw as a patient in the poorer counties of California came to see me and pulled a pen and a steno pad out of her purse.  My Spanish was a bit more rudimentary than it is now. She was matronly, with mostly grayed hair in the classic bun.  She asked me if I could spend a few extra minutes with her.  I told her I would take all the time I could, and try to serve her needs. It wasn’t her, she said.  It was her youngest daughter, aged 13.  Read more on Delayed Gratification And Life…

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People often want to know something about their psychiatrist.

There is this thing called “transference” where their past relationship history can certainly color what they think and feel. I have no big secrets to hide from my patients, so I can usually be direct and take only an insignificant amount of time on these issues. Usually it just takes one of my stabs at humor.

For those to whom religion is an important facet of life, I am often asked about my beliefs. I often end up saying things like, “I am very sorry I am Jewish and not the Christian you would have preferred, but do you think Christ could work through a crazy old Jewish lady like me who would work really hard to help you feel better?” A “yes” and a laugh and we get straight into the meat of things with that one. Read more on Liberal or Conservative — Different Brains or Different Opinions?…

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Mindful Eating

As you will read elsewhere, I am back after an extended absence and I am not only in a new place, but doing new things.

My first outside project is obesity treatment, with a generous share of my methods and philosophy to help those of you who want to lose weight.

My own weight loss was quite dramatic — approx 200 lbs — and I’ve kept the weight off for about 5 years now. How did I do it — drugs? surgery? diet and exercise?

No — I used some really plain old common sense and research supplementation.  Together with the proper mindset, this is what will give anyone the longest lasting and safest weight loss possible.

I’m sharing with you a portion of a new book that I will publish soon.  Here is a taste, as we say in the dieting business: Read more on Mindful Eating…