COVID-19 neurosis

Back when traumatic experiments on animals weren’t ethically prohibited, human anxiety was modeled by subjecting lab animals to an irresolvable approach/avoidance dilemma. The oldest and best known example came from researchers in Ivan Pavlov’s laboratory. They classically conditioned dogs to associate food rewards with the sight of a circle, and also trained the same […]

COVID-19 risk tolerance and therapy

I’m increasingly asked by patients and potential patients when I plan to see people in the office again. I had been an exclusively “in person” psychiatrist and psychotherapist until mid-March of this year, when the pandemic forced even skeptics like me to convert completely to remote (“virtual”) treatment. Like many of my colleagues, over […]

Antisocial masking disorder

Features of Antisocial Masking Disorder include:

Violation of the physical or emotional rights of othersIrritability and aggressionLack of remorseConsistent irresponsibilityRecklessness

(Adapted from DSM 5 Antisocial Personality Disorder)

Whew, that was fun.  Those guys are crazy.  

But let’s be fair and make some distinctions.  At one extreme are those who deny reality.  A few […]

Online therapy revisited, thanks to COVID-19

It was 2013. Hi-tech entrepreneurs were excitedly “disrupting” industries, bringing goods and services closer to users. Uber replaced cabs, Kickstarter replaced investors, and telehealth companies offered convenient, at-home medical care over smartphone video. Why waste time going to an office or clinic, especially if you’re not feeling well? Why spend so much money? The […]

Dopamine fasting

Dopamine

Taking a break from technology is a fine idea, but we don’t need a pseudoscientific new name for it: dopamine fasting.  Launched with viral Silicon Valley memes, online reports, and articles in the New York Times and elsewhere, dopamine fasting is now a thing.  Basically, the idea is to temporarily deprive oneself of […]

We are one

E pluribus unum strikes the pluribus lately as a threat, not a promise — more like assimilation by the Borg than a patriotic ideal. Instead of striving for the common good, we’ve split into factions, each defined largely by its enemy. Feminism fights patriarchy, Black Lives Matter fights police brutality, the 99% fight the 1%. […]

Managing assaultive behavior

In Toronto on April 23, 2018, Alek Minassian intentionally drove a rented van into pedestrians, killing ten and injuring at least 15. Later the same day, Constable Ken Lam of the Toronto Police Service arrested Minassian after a brief, tense standoff. As seen in a widely circulated video, Minassian dared the officer to shoot, and […]