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Analysis and Comment (36)

You may find yourself talking to a therapist who is completely inappropriate to your needs. You may find yourself talking to a therapist who is completely inappropriate to your needs. James Nash/Flickr

Talking therapies can harm too – here’s what to look out for

People seeking therapy should always talk to a practitioner who provides good quality treatment that’s appropriate to their needs. Because research shows that even the innocuous-sounding “talking therapies…
Psychiatrists wanted people found ‘not guilty by reason of insanity’ to be dispatched to places like the Asylum for Criminal Lunatics Broadmoor. Psychiatrists wanted people found ‘not guilty by reason of insanity’ to be dispatched to places like the Asylum for Criminal Lunatics Broadmoor. Illustrated London News, 1867/ Public domain, Wikimedia Commons

Psychiatry’s fight for a place in defining criminal responsibility

Are people with “diseases of the mind” responsible for their criminal acts? In the latest article in our series Biology and Blame, Ivan Crozier looks back at how psychiatrists tried to carve out a role…
Extreme anxiety is debilitating. Extreme anxiety is debilitating. Porschelinn

For some people, anxiety and phobias are taken to extremes

Anxiety is a common experience. It is entirely normal to feel anxious in certain circumstances or when imagining possible misfortunes. However, for some people it gets out of hand and severely affects…
Blue with the flu? Blue with the flu? max_thinks_sees

Inflammation depression link is not to be sneezed at

Have you ever had the flu, and along with the physical symptoms a temporary feeling of being low and fed up? Though most of us would shrug these feelings off as a result of not being able to go out with…
Getting everyone to take part is the first step. Getting everyone to take part is the first step. R L Johnson

While some fight over psychiatry, others are forging better ways ahead

The subject of mental health and illness often raises philosophical and ethical issues and fundamental questions revolve around the definition of mental illness – how are health and illness defined, who…
Too simplistic to predict suicidal tendency. Too simplistic to predict suicidal tendency. Chandra Marsono

A blood test alone won’t be enough to test for suicide risk

A new study has suggested that it may be possible to develop blood tests for suicide by identifying biomarkers in the blood. Although it has its limitations, the study is an important step towards a more…
Being sectioned in a mental hospital may not mean the best care. Being sectioned in a mental hospital may not mean the best care. Truester

Patients sectioned for beds, but hospitals not the best place to be

Claims that doctors are sectioning mental health patients in order to get them access to beds on psychiatric wards amount to “more than anecdotal evidence”, according to a committee of MPs who have just…
Dark side of the moon: does it hold some power over us? Dark side of the moon: does it hold some power over us? PA/Anthony Devlin

We shouldn’t dismiss the moon’s power to influence

As a teenager I observed a strange phenomenon. On awakening from an unusually vivid dream, I would often find that the moon was full. And as the silvery light prevailed on subsequent nights, my nocturnal…
We now put women in chemical straitjackets and prescribe psychotropic medication instead of locking them up for unfeminine behaviour or marital discontent. We now put women in chemical straitjackets and prescribe psychotropic medication instead of locking them up for unfeminine behaviour or marital discontent. Vineus/Flickr

DSM-5 helps perpetuate the myth of women’s madness

The newly released edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-5) may be heralded as the “bible of psychiatry”, but it is not an objective scientific document outlining the…
Sufferers of internet disorder might find it starts to impose on real life, such as causing difficulties in socialising. Sufferers of internet disorder might find it starts to impose on real life, such as causing difficulties in socialising. Flickr/Fle

Five new mental disorders you could have under DSM-5

Since it was first published in 1952, the DSM has been the has been the diagnostic bible for many psychiatrists. Each time the manual is updated, new conditions are introduced, often amid much controversy…
DSM-5 has been described as the bible of psychiatry but the assumption that professionals use it for their own gain is far fetched. DSM-5 has been described as the bible of psychiatry but the assumption that professionals use it for their own gain is far fetched. PA

DSM-5 tells us more about psychiatry than psychiatrists

DSM-5, the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association, was published in the US at the weekend. Given that not even its most passionate supporters would…
Psychiatric diagnosis relies on identifying a patient’s signs and symptoms rather than clinical tests. Psychiatric diagnosis relies on identifying a patient’s signs and symptoms rather than clinical tests. PA/Ben Birchall

Explainer: what is the DSM?

Traditional psychiatry uses the approaches of medicine to try to understand mental health problems and guide treatment. This means relying on diagnosis – identifying what are believed to be mental illnesses…
Medication misuse is out of control in the US and more psychiatric labelling in DSM-5 will not help. Medication misuse is out of control in the US and more psychiatric labelling in DSM-5 will not help. Whale05/Flikr

Under new psychiatric guidebook we might all be labelled mad

“We are all mad here” explains the Cat to Alice when she wonders about the strangeness of Wonderland. Well, life is starting to follow art. If people make the mistake of following DSM-5, the new diagnostic…
The DSM-5 doesn’t attempt to define what is “normal”; and having a DSM diagnosis is not the same as being “insane”. The DSM-5 doesn’t attempt to define what is “normal”; and having a DSM diagnosis is not the same as being “insane”. Image from shutterstock.com

Mental disorders: debunking some myths of the DSM-5

The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) is due to hit psychiatrists' and psychologists' shelves next month. Produced by the American Psychiatric…
The cosy relationship between the psychiatry and Big Pharma has come under increasing scrutiny. The cosy relationship between the psychiatry and Big Pharma has come under increasing scrutiny. Hannah Nicole Aspire

Depression, drugs and the DSM: a tale of self-interest and public outrage

MATTERS OF THE MIND – a series which examines the clinician’s bible for diagnosing mental disorders, the DSM, and the controversy surrounding the forthcoming fifth edition. In Australia, antidepressant…
It’s normal to have recurring waves of grief after the loss of a loved one but prolonged, severe grief requires treatment. It’s normal to have recurring waves of grief after the loss of a loved one but prolonged, severe grief requires treatment. white ribbons

Why prolonged grief should be listed as a mental disorder

MATTERS OF THE MIND – a series which examines the clinician’s bible for diagnosing mental disorders, the DSM, and the controversy surrounding the forthcoming fifth edition. Grief is one of the most universal…
Overall, there will be fewer symptoms and disorders listed in the new psychiatry manual. Overall, there will be fewer symptoms and disorders listed in the new psychiatry manual. Axel Buhrmann

Redefining autism in the DSM-5

MATTERS OF THE MIND – a series which examines the clinician’s bible for diagnosing mental disorders, the DSM, and the controversy surrounding the forthcoming fifth edition. For autistic people and their…
The inclusion of hoarding on the DSM-5 will drive an integrated response to this complex problem. The inclusion of hoarding on the DSM-5 will drive an integrated response to this complex problem. Hoarding Grap Wikimedia Commons

When stuff gets in the way of life: hoarding and the DSM-5

MATTERS OF THE MIND – a series which examines the clinician’s bible for diagnosing mental disorders, the DSM, and the controversy surrounding the forthcoming fifth edition. We’ve all got boxes of old letters…
Many non-western cultures recognise states of mind that look like mental illness but don’t fit DSM categories. Many non-western cultures recognise states of mind that look like mental illness but don’t fit DSM categories. Todd Huffman

Strange or just plain weird? Cultural variation in mental illness

MATTERS OF THE MIND – a series which examines the clinician’s bible for diagnosing mental disorders, the DSM, and the controversy surrounding the forthcoming fifth edition. There’s an old saying that psychology…
Criteria for mental health disorders have been formulated by expert committees. But are they right? Criteria for mental health disorders have been formulated by expert committees. But are they right? Psychiatry image from shutterstock

Explainer: what is the DSM and how are mental disorders diagnosed?

Welcome to Matters of the Mind, a series which examines the clinician’s bible for diagnosing mental disorders, the DSM, and the controversy surrounding the forthcoming fifth edition. The Diagnostic and…
The symptom-based approach of the current DSM does not take life events into account. The symptom-based approach of the current DSM does not take life events into account. Woman image from shutterstock.com

Forget talking, just fill a script: how modern psychiatry lost its mind

Welcome to Matters of the Mind, a series which examines the clinician’s bible for diagnosing mental disorders, the DSM, and the controversy surrounding the forthcoming fifth edition. You’re feeling down…
We need to keep questioning the justifications for depriving those with severe mental health problems of their liberty. We need to keep questioning the justifications for depriving those with severe mental health problems of their liberty. Shanon Wise

Time to rethink mental health laws for treatment without consent

Each Australian state and territory has a Mental Health Act that enables those with severe mental health problems to be detained and treated without their consent. While the criteria differ, generally…
He may not fit with modern terminology, but were Freud’s concepts of the mind right on the money? He may not fit with modern terminology, but were Freud’s concepts of the mind right on the money? tnarik

A dangerous method? In defence of Freud’s psychoanalysis

Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychology, has recently suffered some serious knocks. His theories have been dismissed as unscientific and his achievements are now considered to be equal parts myth and…
Current treatments for bipolar disorder are more effective for the symptoms of mania than for depression. Current treatments for bipolar disorder are more effective for the symptoms of mania than for depression. Chris Connelly

Old made new: medication offers hope for bipolar depression

Little understood and lacking effective drugs for addressing the scope of its symptoms, bipolar disorder can wreak havoc with the lives of people who suffer from it. Now an over-the-counter drug is offering…
Media reports of crime and grief often refer to a family’s need for “closure”. Media reports of crime and grief often refer to a family’s need for “closure”. AAP

There’s not always ‘closure’ in the never-ending story of grief

Media stories about crime and grief often centre on the concept of “closure”. It’s assumed families affected by crime or loss need to achieve closure and can’t begin the grieving process until the perpetrator…
The study claims an association between infant reactions and adult anxiety is due to temperament rather than shaped by the environment. The study claims an association between infant reactions and adult anxiety is due to temperament rather than shaped by the environment. MRS.HART/Flickr

Could infant behaviour predict future anxiety disorders?

A paper published earlier this week in the journal Molecular Psychiatry claims reactions to unfamiliar sounds, smells and objects at four-months could predict the development of anxiety disorders later…
Problems come when bodies change and brain development doesn’t keep up. Problems come when bodies change and brain development doesn’t keep up. Flickr/zebra404

Twelve going on 20: are girls reaching puberty earlier?

You just have to turn on the television or catch a glimpse of a magazine newsstand to see how girls are being thrust into adulthood earlier and earlier. But does biology match societal change? Are girls…
Surgery and psychiatry attract the most patient complaints and have a high potential for power imbalance. Surgery and psychiatry attract the most patient complaints and have a high potential for power imbalance. c e d db o/Flikr

Early action against ‘complaint-prone’ doctors may help protect patients

Nearly a fifth of all complaints against doctors in private practice in Victoria are made against a small group of medical professionals. So taking early action against these complaint-prone doctors may…
Historically, lefties have had a rough trot. Historically, lefties have had a rough trot. Flickr/Incurable Hippie

Monday’s medical myth: left handers are more likely to be geniuses

Left handers have copped their share of bad publicity in the past. The term used to describe left handers in English is “sinistral”, which is derived from the word “sinister”. And it’s no better in other…
US psychiatrist Allen Frances is confusing the issues. US psychiatrist Allen Frances is confusing the issues. Julie70/Flickr

Early intervention for psychosis: not just popping pills

A controversy is brewing on the website Psychology Today and subsequently in The Australian newspaper. At the heart of the issue is US psychiatrist Dr Allen Frances' comments on the Australian Federal…
Keeping a journal or confiding in a friend can help overcome emotional issues. Keeping a journal or confiding in a friend can help overcome emotional issues.

You can work it out: shrinks aren’t always the best option

“When people get sick or injured or want advice about their health, they want to see a doctor” Dr Andrew Pesce, AMA President. As a child psychiatrist, I work with general practitioners to enhance the…

Research and News (6)

Research Briefs (4)