LETTERS FROM THE FRONT LINES

Mark Foster is a family physician, writer, and public speaker based in Colorado. He graduated from Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2003, completed his residency at North Colorado Family Medicine in 2006, and is board certified in Family Medicine. In addition to clinical practice, Mark is currently working on several writing projects and accepting invitations to speak at conferences regarding mental health reform. Please see his website, drmarkfoster.com, for details and contact information.

Mark Foster, D.O. Letters From the Front Lines

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July 5, 2012

Dear Bob: Saw a young man recently, early 30s, who wanted help withdrawing from benzodiazepines. He had been on escalating doses of Xanax for two years.  The Xanax had been prescribed for panic attacks that began after he was placed on …
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Mark Foster, D.O. Letters from the Front Lines

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May 22, 2012

I saw a patient recently, a 35 year-old woman who needed a refill of her Zoloft.  She been started on it four years prior, after the birth of her first child when she had been overwhelmed with a fussy infant …
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Mark Foster, D.O. Letters from the Front Lines

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April 10, 2012

Dear Bob– Here’s a story of stark contrasts. I saw a man for a physical recently, mid-50′s.  He was the picture of health, on no medications or supplements.  He was an avid biker and outdoorsman, conscientious of his diet, great …
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Mark Foster, D.O. Letters from the Front Lines

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February 21, 2012

Bob– An encounter from this week: I saw a 24 year-old theater actress who was started on Lexapro nine months ago for a one-time “panic attack” and has gained sixty pounds since.  This is extremely distressing to her as her …
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Mark Foster, D.O. Letters from the Front Lines

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February 1, 2012

Dear Bob– I’ve had a couple of remarkable conversations, not with my own patients, but with friends and acquaintances asking me for advice.  Each example depicts so much that is wrong with the biomedical model of mental health care. First, …
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Mark Foster, D.O. Letters from the Front Lines

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January 19, 2012

Dear Bob– I met a new patient today, an African American gentleman in his late 40′s, a successful entrepreneur and innovator (invented and marketed his own garage organizer), who is having devastating health problems related to his heart and weight, …
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Mark Foster, D.O. Letters from the Front Lines

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January 11, 2012

Dear Bob– Last fall, I was filling in at a clinic for a provider who was on vacation, and saw a woman in her late 40s for this complaint:  “Anxiety/depression worse, wants to go back on meds.” Prior to my …
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Mark Foster, D.O. Letters From the Front Lines

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December 31, 2011

Dear Bob– A disturbing case from this week. I was working at an urgent care and saw a fifteen-year old boy for the complaint of severe headache. Before even walking into the exam room, I was concerned as I looked …
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Mark Foster, D.O. Healing the Body and Mind

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November 6, 2011

My name is Mark Foster. I am a family physician and writer from Colorado, and the co-Founder and president of a new non-profit called ClearMind, Inc., dedicated to bringing consumers and professionals together to advocate and provide services for non-pharmaceutical …
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Mark Foster, D.O. September 15, 2011

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September 15, 2011

Dear Bob– As I share with patients my new perspectives on the ineffectiveness and potential harm of psychotropic drugs, I have found that many, even most people, are receptive to the idea. I’d say that about 25% of people are …
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Mark Foster, D.O. August 4, 2011

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August 4, 2011

Dear Bob– I saw a very nurturing woman a few months ago, quite obese, for the symptoms of chest pain and fatigue. She had been admitted to the hospital six days previously for the same symptoms. She’d had a thorough …
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Mark Foster, D.O. July 12, 2011

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July 12, 2011

Dear Bob– I want to share a case from this past week the reveals a disturbing misuse of stimulants in treating a poorly diagnosed case of ADHD. I was filling in at a local urgent care on a Sunday when …
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Mark Foster, D.O. June 27, 2011

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June 27, 2011

Dear Bob– I have been working again, taking temporary assignments filling in for other physicians and working in urgent cares while I get my practice re-established. It has been great to re-engage with real patients in the throes of life, …
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Mark Foster, D.O. June 17, 2011

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June 17, 2011

Bob– Here is a letter that I wrote several months ago in response to an early reader of my blog here. She expressed concern about the way I described my reaction to a patient who, in very poor mental and …
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Mark Foster, D.O. April 30, 2011

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April 30, 2011

Bob– I have found that many patients, and even many physicians, don’t appreciate the basic differences between psychology and psychiatry. For most of your readers, I suspect they grasp the sometimes profound divides between these disciplines. But for many patients, …
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Mark Foster, D.O. April 11, 2011

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April 11, 2011

Dear Bob– I want to share an email I received from a physician friend, who practices in a hospital-based specialty. He is highly intelligent, naturally skeptical, and thus interested in seeing for himself if there was any merit to your …
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Mark Foster, D.O. March 29, 2011

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March 29, 2011

Dear Bob– Since you posted about my termination last week, I’ve received a lot of words of support and encouragement, and I wanted to say thank you. Mental health reform is a cause I have come to deeply believe in, …
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Mark Foster, D.O. March 15, 2011

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March 15, 2011

Bob– I want to share with you a success story that has played out over the last three months. I have been working with a woman in her mid-fifties who is wheelchair bound due to crippling arthritis and obesity. She …
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Mark Foster, D.O. Letters from the Front Lines

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March 15, 2011

Bob– I want to share with you a success story that has played out over the last three months. I have been working with a woman in her mid-fifties who is wheelchair bound due to crippling arthritis and obesity.  She …
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Mark Foster, D.O. March 4, 2011

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March 4, 2011

Bob– I’m going to share with you a case from today that did not involve psychotropics, but I think it illustrates an important point about the opportunity cost of reflexive prescribing. I saw a new patient today, a distinguished fifty-two …
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Mark Foster, D.O. February 14, 2011

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February 14, 2011

Bob– Recently, I saw a thirty-six year-old Bulgarian man for a follow-up visit. He is my age, with three children almost exactly the same ages as mine, so I felt an easy connection with him. He immigrated to the United …
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Mark Foster, D.O. January 31, 2011

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January 31, 2011

Bob– Today, I saw an intelligent and sarcastic teenage boy for renewal of his Adderall. He presented with his well-meaning but frustrated father, who is a retired military man and a disciplinarian. I was trying to draw the boy into …
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Mark Foster, D.O. January 17, 2011

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January 17, 2011

Bob– About a month ago, I started caring for a fifty-five year old Filipino woman. She speaks English well, though with a heavy accent. She is very sweet-natured, always painfully respectful of me and my authority as a doctor, and …
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Mark Foster, D.O. January 7, 2011

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January 7, 2011

Bob– This is the twentieth letter that I’ll be posting on your website. I thought I’d use the occasion to reflect on what I’ve observed over the past six months in regards to mental health care in my practice. It …
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Mark Foster, D.O. December 22, 2010

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December 22, 2010

Bob– Many cases I have shared with you have been interactions with patients who are seeking a healthier way of dealing with mood disorders, or who are open to having me challenge their core assumptions about medication usage. But perhaps …
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