MonthOctober 2014

Reading of the Week: Schizophrenia and Coffee

I have plenty of acquaintances, and a couple hundred ‘friends’ on Facebook. But real friends, mostly family, I can count on one hand. For me, making friends is like climbing a vertical rock wall with no ropes, requiring a degree of thrill-seeking, and a good deal of risk.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/10/23/living-with-schizophrenia-coffee-and-friends/

(Because of firewall issues, this link may not work. The article follows.)

This short New York Times essay describes the burden of living with Schizophrenia. Though just over 1,000 words, I think it explains the challenges of severe, persistent mental illness better than whole books written on the topic. Continue reading

Reading of the Week: Mental Illness and Prisons

By the 1880s, there were 75 psychiatric hospitals in the United States, and a survey estimated that less than 1% of prisoners had mental illness. For the next 90 years, it was widely accepted in the United States that people with mental illness belonged in hospitals rather than prisons.

Then it all came undone.

http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/article.aspx?articleid=1911272

(Because of firewall issues, this link may not work. A PDF version of this article is attached.)

In this editorial in the current issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina’s Dr. David Rubinow considers the unintended consequences of de-institutionalization, the decades long push for the mentally ill to be moved out of hospitals and into the community – and often into the forensic system. Continue reading

Reading of the Week: A Patient’s Suicide

I attended the funeral, albeit awkwardly. I told myself not to feel defensive. I could learn from this, but that didn’t make it right. I didn’t recover for a very long while.

http://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2014/10/03/a_patients_suicide_a_doctors_devastation.html

(Because of browser and firewall issues, this link may not work. The article follows.)

Dr. Paul Garfinkel has had a storied career — psychiatrist, prolific researcher, administrator. There’s even a street named after him in downtown Toronto.

He can now add to the resume: published author of a moving and thoughtful memoir. Continue reading

Reading of the Week: Depression and Cinderella

In Canada, we need to stop thinking of depression as a Cinderella disease — as deserving as its stepsisters, but neglected nonetheless.

http://www.cmaj.ca/content/early/2014/09/29/cmaj.141128.full.pdf+html Continue reading

Reading of the Week: Lithium

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/14/opinion/sunday/should-we-all-take-a-bit-of-lithium.html?_r=1

(Because of browser and firewall issues, this link may not work. The article follows.)

Should We All Take a Bit of Lithium? So asks Dr. Fels in this provocative and clever New York Times essay.

This we know: Lithium is an incredible mood stabilizer for people with Bipolar Affective Disorder. Lithium has anti-suicidal properties; Lithium slows cell apoptosis (programmed cell death) in the brain; Lithium works as an antidepressant. As Dr. Fels notes: “its efficacy in mood disorders and suicide prevention has been documented as well as or better than virtually any other psychotropic medication.”

So… should we all be taking it? Continue reading