Psychiatry

Neurophilosophy

Category archives for Psychiatry

Neurocriminology in prohibition-era New York

NEW York City in the 1920s and ’30s was a hotbed of criminal activity. Prohibition laws banning the production, sale and distribution of alcohol had been introduced, but instead of reducing crime, they had the opposite effect. Gangsters organized themselves and seized control of the alcohol distribution racket, smuggling first cheap rum from the Caribbean,…

The secret history of psychedelic psychiatry

This post is part of a Nature Blog Focus on hallucinogenic drugs in medicine and mental health, inspired by a recent Nature Reviews Neuroscience paper, The neurobiology of psychedelic drugs: implications for the treatment of mood disorders, by Franz Vollenweider & Michael Kometer. This article will be freely available, with registration, until September 23.  See…

DEPRESSION has long been associated with vision – and to colour perception in particular – and the link between them is evident in everyday language. Depression is, of course, often referred to as “feeling blue”, and those who suffer from it are sometimes told to “lighten up”. The link can be found in art, too…

The delusional brain

Delusions are pathological beliefs which persist despite clear evidence that they are actually false. They can vary widely in content, but are always characterized by the absolute certainty with which they are held. Such beliefs reflect an abnormality of thought processes; they are often bizarre and completely unrelated to conventional cultural or religious belief systems,…

Neurobiology of a hallucination

Hallucinations are often associated with psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia or with LSD and related drugs. Hearing voices is a characteristic symptom which is reported by about 70% of schizophrenic patients, as well as by some 15% of patients with mood disorders such as depression; and those under the influence of LSD often experience extreme…

Mental retardation: A photo essay

In 1965, Senator Robert Kennedy visited several “institutions for the mentally retarded” in New York State. His descriptions of the conditions he found there, which were published widely in the media, shocked the American public and angered those in charge of the institutions. Later that year, Dr. Burton Blatt visited five such institutions in the…

Uncle Prozac wants you

This week’s issue of Time has a cover story called America’s Medicated Army, about the increasing use of antidepressant and anti-anxiety drugs among U.S. troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. The article quotes figures from a recent report by the Army’s Mental Health Advisory Team, according to which, 12% of troops in Iraq, and 18%…

SciCurious has written an interesting post about Sigmund Freud’s experiments with cocaine. Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, was also a pioneer of psychopharmacology; as well as being one of the first to scientifically investigate the properties and effects of cocaine, he also played a key role in the growth of the pharmaceuticals industry. In 1884,…

Film footage of the ice pick lobotomy

A forthcoming PBS documentary called The Lobotomist examines the career of psychiatrist Walter J. Freeman, who performed nearly 3,000 “ice pick” lobotomies during the late 1930s and 1940s. The hour-long program, which is partly based on Jack El-Hai’s book of the same name, contains old footage of Freeman performing the procedure, and features an interview…

MDMA for PTSD

A lengthy article in last weekend’s Washington Post Magazine discusses the work of Michael Mithoefer, a psychiatrist at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) who has almost completed the first phase of a clinical study into the use of ecstasy as a therapeutic tool for post-traumatic stress disorder. Ecstasy (MDMA, or 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine) is a…