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Bring Back the Asylum?

This week a commentary, written by members of the University of Pennsylvania Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy and titled “Improving Long-term Psychiatric Care: Bring Back the Asylum” was published in JAMA Online. The authors recommend a return to asylum care, albeit not as a replacement for but as an addition to improved community services and only for those who have “severe and treatment-resistant psychotic disorders, who are too unstable or unsafe for community based treatment.” The authors seem to accept the notion of transinstitutionalization (TI) which suggests that people who in another generation would have lived in state hospitals are now incarcerated in jails and prisons. While I do not agree, I do find there is a need for a safe place for people to stay while they work through their crisis.
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There are No Proven Psychosocial Therapies that Reduce Self-harming in Teens

There are no psychosocial treatments or psychotherapeutic methods that are proven to effectively reduce thoughts and behaviors of self-harm in youth, according to a review of the scientific literature by a team of Harvard University psychologists publishing in the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology. More →

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NPR’s “Invisibilia” to Explore Intangible Forces Behind Human Behavior

NPR has launched a new regular show called Invisibilia that "explores the intangible forces that shape human behavior – things like ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions." According to the NPR website, the show "delves into a wide array of human behavior, interweaving narrative storytelling with fascinating new psychological and brain science." More →

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Sunday History Channel: When Psychiatrists Removed Intestine Parts to Cure Schizophrenia

In Discover, Neuroskeptic discusses an article from the Journal of Medical Biography that recounts the story of two of the earliest 20th century American “surgeon-psychiatrists who believed that they could cure schizophrenia by removing parts of their patients’ intestines (and other organs)." More →

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European Medicines Agency Calls for Suspending Generic Forms of Four Common Psychiatric Drugs

The European Medicines Agency has called for the suspension of sales in all of Europe of many commonly used generic drugs, including at least four widely used psychiatric medications, after uncovering corrupt practices in the regulatory approval processes for the drugs. More →

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Shamans and Psychiatrists:
A Comparison

The Scottish Anthropologist Ioan Lewis, wrote the book Ecstatic Religion in 1971, in which he suggested a ‘shaman is not less than a psychiatrist, he is more.’   He claimed psychiatry was just one of the functions of the shaman, and he invited comparison between shamans and psychiatrists.  Some diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia appeared rather similar to the desired conditions of shamans in an altered state of consciousness.  Other terms used (and misused) for therapeutic practitioners included: native or traditional healer, medicine man, witch doctor, soul doctor, sorcerer, magician, spirit medium, exorcist, curer, diviner and diagnostician.
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Quality of Relationship to Doctor Significantly Improves Antidepressant Efficacy

The more that patients feel that they have a high-quality relationship with their prescribing physician, the more likely that they will regard their own responses to antidepressants as positive, according to a study in Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica. The team of Australian and UK reseachers also identified a host of other social factors that seem to improve antidepressant response. More →

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Is Everyone Too Afraid to Conduct Real Research into the Causes of Gun Violence?

Even though the Obama administration ordered the Centers for Disease Control to conduct research into the causes of gun violence after the Newtown shooting, the organization has "fear" of proceeding, states an article in The Washington Post. The CDC and many other researchers are worried about the political consequences from the gun lobby, the article states, if they should find that the main problem is simply lack of gun control. More →

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“We Are All Hoarders, But…”

In The Conversation, two University of Bath psychologists discuss their research into the rationales that seem to drive people into hoarding, and point to the many ways in which the behavior is an accentuation of, and a response to consumerism and materialism. More →

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Need Help: About to be arrested for blowing the whistle on Mr. Shearer.

The flag is going up. I have just confirmed I am about to be arrested by the Fort Collins Police for being a whistleblower about Mr. Shearer, allegedly for harassment. For more on what this is about, see this post: …
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