From the Editor

He drinks heavily, but does he have a diagnosed alcohol use disorder?

Does the answer to that question tie to ethnicity and biases? In a new American Journal of Psychiatry paper, Rachel Vickers-Smith (of the University of Kentucky) and her co-authors suggest it does. Drawing on US Veterans Affairs’ data with over 700,000 people, they analyzed the scores of a screening tool and the diagnoses with ethnicity recorded in the EMR. “We identified a large, racialized difference in AUD diagnosis, with Black and Hispanic veterans more likely than White veterans to receive the diagnosis at the same level of alcohol consumption.” We look at the paper and mull its implications.

In the second selection, Alastair C. van Heerden (of the University of the Witwatersrand) and his co-authors consider AI and its potential for global mental health services in a new JAMA Psychiatry Viewpoint. They focus on large language models (think ChatGPT) which could do several things, including helping to train and supervise humans. “Large language models and other forms of AI will fundamentally change how we treat mental disorders, allowing us to move away from the current model in which most of the world’s population does not have access to quality mental health services.”

And, in the third selection, Paula Halprin discusses her mother’s alcohol use in an essay for The Globe and Mail. In a moving piece that touches on anger, trauma, and regret, Halprin writes about her re-examination of her mother’s life. “I now understand my mother drank not because of a weak character, but to cope with a body wearing out before its time from unremitting pregnancy and as a way to swallow her anger and disappointment. It was also a way to mourn a loss of self.”


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