The Future of Psychiatry: 5 Reasons for Optimism

After reading the last chapter of the book, Demystifying Psychiatry, I felt so much better about where psychiatry might be when my kids are my age. Perhaps, if either is ever diagnosed with a mental illnesses, there will be more targeted treatments, and more optimism for a speedy recovery.

Here are a few reasons we can be optimistic about the future of psychiatry:

1. Interdisciplinary Studies

Over the next 50 to 100 years, neuroscience research will lead scientists to understand in exquisite detail how humans...
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Brain and Behavior

This Emotional Life: An Interview with Daniel Gilbert

I feel sorry for Daniel Gilbert, Harvard psychologist and bestselling author of "Stumbling on Happiness."

He is so good at everything that he has a hard time finding a suitable challenge. Alas, he has found one! The 52-year-old scientist whose work has been covered by every major media news outlet -- from The New York Times to Glamour -- has teamed up with Vulcan Productions and the NOVA/WGBH Science Unit to create a multimedia project called...
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Brain and Behavior

The Power of the Will to Live

Last year, we delved into the psychology of New Year's resolutions, describing what little research has been done on why and how people make New Year's resolutions.

So here's the good news from this year's research tidbit -- if you're getting old and thinking that death is on your door, the week is yours to live and enjoy. Chances are good that you'll make it to New Year's day.

Shimizu &...
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Standing Up For Yourself: From a Recovering People-Pleaser

I think some people grow up believing in their heart and soul that they are loved and accepted and so therefore don't have to depend so much on other people to give them their daily dose of attaboys, the approval ratings that determine if they'll be able to function properly throughout the day.


I know, in my adult, neo-cortex, sophisticated part of my brain that I am loved. But the reptilian, immature brat...
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Brain and Behavior

Demystifying Psychiatry: An Interview with Charles Zorumski and Eugene Rubin

Today I have the honor of interviewing Eugene (Gene) and Charles (Church) Zorumski, authors of "Demystifying Psychiatry: A Resource for Patients and Families." It is a fascinating and comprehensive resource to explain one of the most misunderstood sciences of our time.

Question: In your book, you chart the various trends of psychiatry. In your view what are the most substantial trends and why?

Answer: Thank you for asking us about our thoughts concerning the most substantial trends in...
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Merry Christmas 2009

As we do every year, I'd like to take this moment to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas!

May the joy of the season be with your family, your friends, and most of all, with you. Whether you spend it with others or on your own, remember that the holiday lasts for only a very short time each year (whether that's for better or worse for you) -- so savor it;...
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Video: The 12 (Bipolar) Days of Christmas

DISCLAIMER: I am no Barbara Streisand. I've never taken a singing lesson in my life. Not one. (Ed. - Really??)

The inspiration for this song came two weeks before Thanksgiving when I received a call from my doctor: we had better get together a plan for lowering my cholesterol.

Yeah. Sure. Getting to it... right after I fix my pituitary tumor, abnormal aortic valve, bipolar brain, and facial fungus.

My high cholesterol is not a new issue. Somewhere around the time David was conceived I found out that my cholesterol scores were higher than my verbal SATs. But for the last six years I didn't do anything about it because (honest confession coming up here) many of those days I was so depressed that I really wanted to be with God in his mansion upstairs. Dropping dead of a heart attack sounded like a great alternative to suicide. It's easier, cheaper, much more socially acceptable, and involved stuffing myself with brie cheese and Eggs Florentine. Sign me up.

Then something inconvenient happened. As I gradually began to fix all my broken parts (pituitary tumor, bipolar brain, facial fungus, abnormal heart) I started to wake up excited. About life. I wanted to try and stick around for David's high school graduation and Katherine's Little Mermaid wedding and maybe, just maybe, for the birth of grandchildren.

As a jogged around the Naval Academy the morning I got my SAT scores, I mean cholesterol count, I reflected on all the parts of my mental-health program--prayer, therapy, fish oil, medication, family support, sobriety, vitamins, yoga (even though I hate it), guardian angels--and it sounded like the lyrics to a song, "The 12 Days of Christmas" or something.

Yes, "The 12 Days of Christmas"! With sweat dripping down my face, I pulled out a sheet of paper from my pocket and a pen (I run with those in case something like this happens) and madly scribbled down the words as if I were Moses taking down the Ten Commandments.

So, pretend that I have just invited you into my home, poured you a glass of Merlot (if you're not a recovering alcoholic), and made you endure a live version of "American Idiot." With a holiday twist.

Click through to watch the video.

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10 Ways to Bring Christmas Cheer to a Friend in the Hospital for the Holidays

Disease and trauma do not take a holiday.
Many of us have loved ones in the hospital for all kinds of reasons. We want to do what we can for them, our brothers, sisters, friends, parents, children, who find themselves in strange surroundings during this supposedly most joyous of times.

Fifteen years ago, a few weeks before Christmas, I was suddenly admitted to Women and Children's...
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Yes, People Who Have Depression, There Is a Santa Claus!

This post was originally posted in December of 2006, but unfortunately my brain is still at battle, especially during the holidays. The rational, bah-humbug side wants to skip the tree and stockings. However, I also want to make the holiday season magical for my kids, because I've found that their wonder can be contagious.

I almost blew it today. I almost told David there was no Santa Claus, or Tooth Fairy,...
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Video: Depression Before the Holidays

A few weeks ago, a woman I knew only on Facebook, Diana Keough, arrived at my door with her savvy business and production partner, Matt Clement, to do an interview of me about depression around the holidays. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I felt guilty for exercising some of my boundaries skills by saying no to flying to Atlanta. (So they came to me!).
No more than 15...
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Brain and Behavior

5 Tips for Eating Healthy Through the Holidays

If you are like me, you will be spending 90 percent of your energy from today until January 1 repeating the words "choose the apple ... choose the apple" because you know what processed flour and sugar does to your limbic system. It's not pretty. Which is why I asked Elizabeth Somer, , , author of Eat Your Way to Happiness, to share with us some tips for healthy eating during...
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