Psychiatry

Neurophilosophy

Category archives for Psychiatry

van Gogh & the history of manic depression

The introductory chapter of Manic-Depressive Illness: Bipolar Disorders and Recurrent Depression, by Frederick K. Goodwin and Kay Redfield Jamison, provides an excellent description of how Emil Kraepelin first classified manic depression (or bipolar disorder) and related conditions in the late 19th century, and how his work has influenced the way in which psychiatrists treat these…

Shyness is not a psychiatric condition

In an op-ed from yesterday’s NY Times, Christopher Lane, a professor of English at Northwestern University, argues that shy kids are not mentally ill, and that they shouldn’t be given medication. The piece brought to mind this critique of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), by L. J. Davis: Current among the…

A study by a team of German researchers shows that the brains of paedophiles respond differently to those of healthy controls to erotic images. Martin Walter, of the Department of Psychiatry at Otto-von-Guricke University in Magdeburg, and his colleagues used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to compare neural activity in 13 paedophilic patients and 14…

This drawing is a 4-year-old boy’s depiction of Hurricane Katrina. It is one of 50 drawings, photographs and sculptures that went on display yesterday at the New Orleans Museum of Art, as part of an exhibition called Katrina – Through the Eyes of Children. Involved in the exhibition is Karla Leopold, one of a team…

Spikes & maps in the brain

This week, I’ve received three books which I’ll be writing about in the near future: My Lobotomy, by Howard Dully and Charles Fleming. Dully was lobotomized at the age of 12 at the behest of his stepmother – that’s him on the right, holding an instrument identical to the one he was lobotomized with; this…

Confusion over SSRIs and suicide

The New York Times reports that the findings of a study published last week in the American Journal of Psychiatry, which links a drop in the use of specific serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs, e.g. Prozac) to an increase in the numbers of teenage suicide, are being disputed.

This is alarming: the New York Times has an article about a new study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, which shows that the number of under 20s diagnosed with bipolar disorder has increased 40-fold (from 25 to 1003 per 100,000) between 1994 and 2003: Bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme mood swings. Until…

Published today: “My Lobotomy”

In The rise and fall of the prefrontal lobotomy, I discussed the heart-breaking case of Howard Dully, whose stepmother had him lobotomized when he was12 years old. Dully relates his story in My Lobotomy, an autobiographical book which is co-authored by novelist and journalist Charles Fleming. My Lobotomy is published today in the U.S., and…

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a psychiatric condition which is characterized by intrusive thoughts and ritualized and repetitive behaviours, such as excessive hand-washing, which are performed in order to neutralize the obsessions. OCD is one of a spectrum of disorders that includes Tourette’s Syndrome, autism and bipolar disorder. OCD affects approximately 2% of the population,…

FDA approves chemical lobotomy for kids

Reuters reports that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has just approved the use of the antipsychotic drug Risperdal to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in children and teenagers.