Friday, June 28, 2013

Introducing Allen Frances

Allen Frances was the editor of the DSM-IV, first published in 1990.  He is now the fiercest critic of its next major revision, the DSM-5.  For over three years, he has been blogging weekly to this end at Psychology Today.  This week I will summarize his steady drumbeat.  I hope soon to publish an open letter to him.

Frances' complaint in a nutshell is that the DSM-5 creates fad diagnoses and changes criteria of older diagnoses to medicalize a whole range of normal behavior and miseries.  The link lists these problem diagnoses and a number of the following points, in an article published all over town last December.

These issues have been discussed widely, in public and private circles.  I am not qualified to address each point, though I did give a series over to one of them, the bereavement exclusion.  The best of the batch, if I do say so myself, is Grief/Depression III - Telling the Difference, which got quoted in correspondence among the big boys.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Looking Under the Hood - A Better Depression Diagnosis?

Corrected July 7, 2013

Maybe my writer's block is an Ecclesiastes issue.  There is nothing new under the sun.

But finally, there is.  No, not the DSM.  Keep reading.

The DSM. Sigh.

But regarding the DSM, and it makes no difference at all which edition, you have to wonder when somebody who is suicidal, losing weight, irritated at the drop of a hat and can't sleep gets the same diagnosis as somebody else who is immobile, gaining weight, couldn't be bothered about anything anymore and sleeps the night and day away.  It's all depression -- the DSM's junk drawer.

Finally, somebody thought to sort the junk drawer, by looking inside the brains of these two sorrowful souls, both taking the same meds for God's sake.

PET Scans - Looking Under the Hood

Helen Mayberg and her team at Emory University School of Medicine used PET scans to look under the hood (to use John McManamy's favorite metaphor).  PET scans use a radioactive tracer to determine where glucose is being used in the brain, i.e., what part of the brain is busy.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Power of Apology

First, a nod to our excrutiatingly polite neighbors to the north, on the Power of Apology from Scott Stratton:



Next, inspired by Scott and in honor of Magna Carta Day - a rerun of last year's Entitled to an Apology?

Perhaps because a central feature of both hypomania and depression is irritability, and because a characteristic of the "bipolar temperament" is a certain tendency toward an attitude of entitlement, interpersonal disputes tend to be common in this patient population. -- Ellen Frank, Treating Bipolar Disorder

Thursday, June 13, 2013