Psychiatrists

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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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It gets pretty evident pretty fast, to any psychiatrist who deals with the general public, that depression is daily bread.  I mean, with current estimates at 19 million patients per year coming down with a depression — even with less than one half of them seeking treatment — it is a pretty sure bet that depressed people are common.

This in no way diminishes the anguish I have seen in patients having that disease. The anguish is real and dramatic.

I remember one of my earlier newspaper columns written for the Wichita Eagle-Beacon — the largest daily newspaper in Kansas — asking this simple question:

Why — when someone broke their leg — a salt-of-the-earth next-door neighbor would never fail to bake a pie.  But when someone had a depression, nobody would bake anything.

The depressed person was basically treated like someone with a contagious disease. Read more on Why Some Get Depressed And Some Do Not…

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Do some people become doctors just to earn a lot of money?  Yes.

Sigmund FreudDo some of them find out that it’s not as lucrative as portrayed in the media (based upon stereotypes at least 40 years out of date)? Hell Yes!

Psychiatrists are not normally schizophrenic — however there are two types.  One is the media stereotype “Talk Therapy” doctor.  These are nearly extinct. They exist mainly in Woody Allen movies and old TV series.  In fact, most of those are psychologists — not psychiatrists (but who knows the difference and who cares?).

The other type is what you chiefly find today — Pill Pushers.  Insurance and

Read more on Where Have All the Psychiatrists Gone?…

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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 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?…

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Ever heard of capitation?  In healthcare, it can mean that a clinic makes more money by following more patients.  Payments are per person, rather than per service.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, then, that they refused to dismiss this guy from their care.

He was a 32 year old young man who was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.  He had been working independently as a pool cleaner but he couldn’t stand it anymore.  He was always nervous.  As a matter of fact, this man was nervous about everything he did.  Perhaps it was a generalized anxiety disorder, but surely something a great deal more.  He wasn’t having panic attacks, and he exhibited far more than the usual one or two things found in generalized anxiety disorder.

I tried to start him on some medications — as much as I didn’t like the medications he had been started upon.  He had been given regular Xanax in slowly increasing doses.  As nervous as he was, he wasn’t stupid.  He said, “It’s really funny.  The medication makes me sleep, but it sure doesn’t stop me from being nervous.” Read more on The Nervous Pool Cleaner…

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Britney Spears doesn’t make the news much anymore.  Her career is probably still going strong, but her wild ways and scrapes with the law are old news.  The media has latched on to new starlets and scandals, and they will never run out.

However, I noticed recently a story about conservatorship of this once-superstar (perhaps now only a mega-star?), and wanted to take the occasion to talk about this very serious legal step of conservatorship.

Miss Spears’ father is her conservator, and he wants her boyfriend appointed as a co-conservator over her well-being, and this might be a sign that he’s getting ready to marry her.  There is something very wrong with this picture.

People having conservatorship over other people should not be taken lightly. Read more on Brittany Spears, Conservatorship and the Abuse of Power…

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I can’t say exactly what is going on in the case of the Colorado movie theater shooter — I just do not have all the knowledge and all the facts. I am happy this young man was able to find the psychiatric services at  his local institute of higher education.  Many students cannot.  Sometimes I even  have to alert my patients who are eligible for such services that such services exist. Psychiatrist Lynne Fenton’s past as an acupuncturist is colorful, at least.  I have been to so many places and done so many things, that I do not  think anyone should be condemned by their past.

In the past, Dr. Fenton has been disciplined by her medical board for prescribing rather strong drugs to herself and family.  I suppose people are sometimes overcome in circumstances such as the death of a relative like Mom.  She is back practicing with not more than a slap on the wrist and a mark on her  record.  Appropriate for this level of wrongdoing I think, if there are really no other circumstances.  As for the accused shooter’s notebook with the stick figures and the shooters, I have seen many such notebooks — but never from a patient.  I saw them in 2nd, 3rd or more rarely in 4th grade on the desks of male classmates who fantasized about such things. The operative word here is “fantasize.” Read more on Colorado Shooter’s Drawings May Have Been A Warning…

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I accidentally watched Dr. Drew Pinsky’s “Life Changers” and it put me in a state of utter stupefaction.

That was fortunate, as I found myself unable to destroy the television.  Doubly fortunate, in that this was a hotel-room TV and the bill would have been padded for replacing the set.

Okay, so I was in a hotel flipping channels during the day.  I do this once in a while to see what is being communicated to the TV-watching public, especially about health.

Dr. Oz has a show.  His guest was Rachel Ray showing how to fix things you might screw up in the kitchen.  Common sense fixes with repartee.  I did not see this as a health problem and I did not make it to the end of the show. Read more on Dr. Drew Pinsky’s “Life Changers”…

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I remember vividly and will never forget when a home-made bomb blasted the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It was April 19, 1995, and I was in the midst of morning rounds at a major hospital’s inpatient psychiatry unit.

A lot of people were “decompensating” — going psychotic, had beliefs the world was coming to an end and needed extra medicine.

They called it the worst homegrown terrorist attack on U.S. soil up to that time in our country’s history.

I thank the basis of my personal belief system that I was not closer to the explosion at that time, and that I was not personally involved in the later and more catastrophic attack on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in 2001. Read more on Which Should You Choose — Therapists Or Friends?…