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Physician attitudes towards mental illness can reflect the general public’s prejudice. Image of man on stairs via Dariush M/Shutterstock

Stigma about mental illness steers medical students away from psychiatry

Mental illness is a major public health problem in the United States. Suicide alone takes the lives of 38,000 Americans each year, more than double that from homicide. Medical and surgical patients who…
There just aren’t enough psychiatrists to meet demand. Psychiatrist via Shutterstock

Why is it so hard to see a psychiatrist?

Getting psychiatric care in the United States is a lot harder than it should be. Patients around the country are having a hard time booking appointments for outpatient care, and face significant hurdles…
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. 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. 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? 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…
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? 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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…

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